Located in Saint-Eustache, Quebec, a two-hour drive from Ottawa and a little over an hour…
The cafe bustles, three tables seem to overwhelm the staff and proprietor. Content, I wait and ponder the couple across the aisle. She smiles at him like a lover. He looks at her like a meal ticket. She, maybe ten years his senior, touches his arm and leans in close. He laughs and looks away behind dark glasses.
Bought. Paid for.
I watch them behind my book, her paying the cheque, him looking bored. Longevity? No. And when he leaves (and he will) will it break her heart or, like many things we buy will it simply be cast aside when it no longer serves a purpose?
My juice arrives. They have no beet juice for “the vampire” I settle on “the tropical” it seems fitting in 30 degree heat. There is solace in the shade.
A young French couple walks in. Dreads in need tending, ankles red with bites; she perches like a nervous bird. He is calm and serene with the beard of a philosopher. I wonder how long they’ve been traveling and when will she shave her head? She will. It’s just a matter of time.
We are, all of us gringos, a sight. My hair feels like straw. I smooth the wild medusa-like tendrils that escape the tie, only to be released with the next strong gust. It’s a hopeless endeavor, I give up and smile.
It is Sunday. Laundry day.
On Sunday I take dirty, sweaty things in a bag to a lady just down the street and put them in a basket attached to a scale. She tells me numbers in Spanish and I write my name in English. I say: “Gracias! Manyana?” “Si, si manyana” she replies.
Tomorrow I will return with my green receipt and identify mine among the bags of clean folded laundry and for $35 pesos my favorite shorts will be clean again!
It’s unusual for me to venture out for breakfast. I rather like my routine of frequenting the cafes and restaurants in Puerto Morelos, Mexico in the evening. Following my nose and the good advice of friends and locals Rob & Joanne Advice like: “a good place to drink, not to eat…”
Advice well given. Advice well heeded.
But it’s Sunday and this is brunch. I learn “what is chaya” that’s mixed with my eggs and watch a small lizard hunt in the terrace garden at ‘Juicy Rosa’s Juice Bar’.
Chaya: a green leafy plant, with a fresh, clean green flavor. Cooked, it lends a quality not unlike spinach to eggs. I spy it on the menu, as an ingredient in juices, savory items and flavored water. Rosy takes me by the hand and guides me to the Chaya plant on her patio “good!” she says smiling.
Today and most of the week there is a strong breeze, making the seas too heavy for safe diving or tourists snorkeling the reef. With it blows ‘sticky dust’ heavy with salt and sand. It coats things. Windows. Terra cotta tiles. Glasses.
I wonder at the wisdom of going to the beach today but turquoise water will not be ignored. There remain so few days in which to indulge.
The afternoon belongs to the shade and the fan and the page. The muse returns and I am writing again in the long hours of the heat. In the distance I hear the fruit and vegetable man, traversing the streets and his call of “Mangooooooooooooo”.
Do I need mango? Yes, I think I do.
May Sunday be good to you.