COMO SI FUERA ESTA NOCHE
La ultima ves
Besame, besame mucho
Que tengo miedo a perderte,
I could only make 12 miles an hour down Chocolata road. My Moto chugged along in fifth gear, churning the mud on the road to Rivas, with the engine just above idle.
The sky opened up with a downpour that sent me finding cover under a giant tree on the side of the road.
That’s where I heard the monkeys. Their call was distinctive, a base, guttural call that carried a long distance. This close to the monkeys, and already dirty from the muddy road, I continued down a trail toward the sound. I tried to navigate my moto through the rotting humus that had aggregated for decades; drenched as it was, it was like riding on ice. I nevertheless made headway for approximately one hundred yards, where I finally saw the monkeys in a tree right above me. I stopped, turned off the key, and located two beautiful black monkeys with long tails communicating with each other with their awesome roaring sound. They didn’t seem to mind my being there, in fact, regarded me with nothing more than a glance, then resumed their activity.
I went home and told my neighbor about the monkeys and she was delighted. She wanted to see them.
I took Sabra to see the monkeys, but she soon tired of exploring, and insisted that we get back to civilization. What a wuss. What a waste of time.
‘How to kill a great exploration, by Sabra,’ I thought.
We went back to our houses next to each other on the hill on the southern side of San Juan Del Sur. Once just a little sleepy village, now taken over by the backpackers and the ex-pats (mainly gringos) who think they know it all.
“I want to go riding, but I don’t want to go down old dirty nasty muddy roads in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of monkeys,” she said.
“Fine, I said.
A few days later, we went on another ride. This time we stayed on the pavement and stopped regularly, just in case there was anything the little princess needed. We rode through Rivas, then continued on down a country road where the sign said TOLA.
The ride was beginning to shape up finally, especially considering the fact that she had quit griping about everything. Yes, we had the beginnings of a good ride.
We rounded a corner after leaving Rivas. “Go faster! Go faster! She said, which I did. I got up to about forty-five miles an hour and then I said to her, “I have to be careful right through here, there are animals who walk out into the road.”
About that time and old, deaf, female dog, decided she was going to walk across the road, no matter what, no matter who was coming or anything.
Here’s what I saw: I saw a dog walking across the road. I saw trouble, and immediately slowed down. The dog continued blindly onto the road. How was I to know the dog was blind and deaf? Within milliseconds I found myself deciding whether to go off the road and avoid the dog or do what riders are trained to do, and that is to hit the dog center mass. Within milliseconds I decided that I had better hit the dog center mass at forty-five miles an hour. I hit the dog exactly center mass.
The collision lifted my front wheel off the ground and launched me and Sabra and the motorcycle into the air. Did I say forty-five mph? That’s the speed we were going through the air.
Turns out God was on my side while I was in midair, and gave me a keen perception of our situation. Aligning our trajectory with the roadway ahead I finessed that touchdown with exceeding grace and poise. The next problem came suddenly: The rear tire bit into the pavement with the force of a quarter-mile dragster, which threw us into the air once again. The second landing was surprisingly easy… A three-point landing like an aircraft might make.
The crisis just past, I slowed down and turned to Sabra, “I have to go back and pay for the dog.”
“You do?” She asked.
“Yeah, it’s the law.”
I came around and drove back to where the old lady was standing, and saw her granddaughter crying. Fortunately, Sabra, in tears, in fluent Spanish, began crying, “We’re so sorry we hurt your dog, blah blah blah.”
I could not believe her resourcefulness, much less the fact that she spoke Spanish a lot better than I did. I just went along with her crying in Spanish, and then fished a twenty dollar bill out of my wallet and paid the lady. She accepted the money with gratitude and we drove back home much more carefully.
I waited until the next day to try to explain to Sabra how close we had come to death. I showed her the bent forks on my moto, but my persuasions were to no avail. She never believed for even a millisecond, that we could easily have died on the road to Tola.