Friday, November 3, 2006

the curse of tlaxacuhlta (movement)

Kinesiologists will tell you that to engage in a run is to engage in little more than a controlled fall. Well, I like to apply the same logic and say that to live is to engage in little more than a controlled death. Each day we make a thousand tiny choices which enable us to keep on living. That’s all life is: a systematic flipping of switches allowing our lungs to keep breathing, our hearts to keep beating, brains to keep thinking, legs to keeps moving.

But what happens when we accidentally – or intentionally – flip the wrong switch? It’s not always instantaneous catastrophe. No, oftentimes a singular instance of flipping the wrong switch can bring us close to death, allowing a fleeting glimpse of the other side. We trip, we nearly fall, but we manage to stay on our feet. We keep on running.

Me, I like to experiment a little. Change things up. We decided to leave that evening, renting a car and driving all night from Texarkana to Laredo. Agamen didn’t sleep. He couldn’t. He just kept looking over at me every fifty miles or so, trying to project his worry onto me.

“What do you think we will find in Mar del Mar?” he asked at one point.

I glanced over with an easy smile. I could only see his wet eyes flash in the moonlight.

“We’ll find truth in Mar del Mar,” I said. “We’ll stare a four hundred year old curse right in the face – and we’ll be better men because of it.”

We drove in silence through Dallas and then Waco, until we hit Austin and the questions started again.

“What will you say to it, this curse?” Agamen asked. “What will you say when we are staring this curse in the face.”

“I’ve questions, Agamen,” I said. “I’ve questions. The same questions that are going through your worried mind right now.”

“But what if, what if we do not speak its language?” Agamen pleaded. “What if we get there, what if we come face to face with the curse of Tlaxacuhlta, and we are unable to communicate?”

I drove awhile, pondering this. I drove awhile, my jaw clenching and unclenching, with the answer to Agamen’s question tumbling through my mind, the answer which I was unable to expel from the confines of my skull. Fear is the universal language. The curse of Tlaxacuhlta will have no trouble understanding us.

We cruised through San Antonio, and after driving a total of six hundred miles across Texas, we pulled into Laredo a little more than nine hours after we set out. Knowing I was unable to bring the rental across the border, I ditched the car and we checked into a derelict motel for a little sleep.

I lied awake for a time, listening to Agamen toss and turn in the next bed over. The poor fellow was positively beside himself with worry and unable to sleep.

“Agamen?” I said.


“You need to not worry so much – everything’s going to be okay.”

“But I am not so worried right now,” Agamen insisted, rolling over again, hard, on squeaking bedsprings.

“You’ve been fidgeting for fifteen minutes,” I pointed out.

“It is this bed – I think it is infested,” Agamen whinged. “It feels like bugs are crawling all over me.”

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