Sunday, 15 March 2009

15 March 2009

THERE because it’s ALWAYS hot the year round and she knows nothing of non-sweat, she was born with sweat and dies with sweat.” The sweat on her little brow was heavy, sluggish, it didn’t run, it just stood there and gleamed like a fine olive oil. “What that must do to their souls? How different they must be in their evaluations and wishes!” Neal drove on with his mouth hanging in awe, ten miles an hour, desirous to see every possible human being on the road. We climbed and climbed. The vegetation grew more riotous and dense. A woman sold pineapples in front of her roadhut. We stopped and bought some at a fraction of a penny; she sliced them with a bolo knife. They were delicious and juicy. Neal gave the woman an entire peso which must have been a month’s satisfaction for her. She gave no sign of joy but merely accepted the money. We realized there were no stores to buy anything in. “Damn, I wish I could give somebody something!” As we climbed the air finally grew colder and the Indian girls on the road wore shawls over their heads and shoulders. They hailed us desperately; we stopped to see. They wanted to sell us little pieces of rock crystal. Their great brown innocent eyes looked into ours with such a soulful intensity that not one of us had the slightest sexual thought about them; moreover they were very young, some of them eleven and looking almost thirty. “Look at those eyes!” breathed Neal. They were like the eyes of the Virgin Mother must have been when she was a child. We saw in them the tender and forgiving gaze of Jesus. And they stared unflinching into ours. We rubbed our nervous blue eyes and looked again. Still they penetrated us with sorrowful and hypnotic gleam. When they talked they suddenly became frantic and almost silly. In their silence they were themselves. “They’ve only recently learned to sell these crystals, since the hiway was about ten years back---up until that time this entire nation must have been silent.” The girls yammered around our doors. One particularly soulful child gripped at Neal’s sweaty arm. She yammered in Indian. “Ah yes, ah yes dear one” said Neal tenderly and almost sadly as he got out of the car and went fishing around the battered trunk in the back---the same old tortured American trunk---and pulled out

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