Another day for Angela of Livingston Guatemala. We find Angela at her post in the Hotel Leddie. It sits at the crest of the high climbing hill leading from the island town boat dock. She’s Botticelli‘s Guatemalan Venus firing up coffee at 7 a.m. Testosterone-encumbered guests snore off last night’s Gallo and continue to dream of Angela’s many graces.
It’s mid-February. It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and the day will be a hair-shirt scorcher. Mercury will get to the 40-degree point before factoring in the humidity. Our heroine will not be able go to the Guatemala Caribbean side where the air is fresh and cool. Others may sit on the shady shore watching pelicans dive for lunch in the breeze. Her work keeps her nailed o the hotel and oblivious to devotions coming her way from the transient men folk.
Maybe it’s the heat or the unrequited lustings of guests, but for some reason she feels a planking displacement today. Ragged clouds of memory from her old life trail around her as she cleans, scours and sweeps. It is this beat in her temple that may have caused her to lock all of the hotel keys in the bathroom off the wonky patio. And for entrance there is only a small window that even her slender frame won’t fit through. If Leddie the hotel’s owner finds out she will be in the doghouse for sure. Again.
Seeing her distress, two besotted guests, Cellini and Vermeer, try to help by taking turns poking from the outside at the keys marooned in the inside lock. Then an attempt at a credit card break and enter only leaves Vermeer’s ATM card a chipless and impotent cash source. He’s only got 5 Quetzales on him. Looks like he’s in for a longer stay than planned.
She’s standing with bucket, cleaning rags and abandoned broom deciding what to do next when a pair of Blue Morpho butterflies appear. They hold fleeting court in the patio every day. Each has an iridescent azure and turquoise wing span of five inches. They are among the largest butterflies in the world and are as common in Livingston Guatemala as sparrows in Toronto. No matter how many times a day they pattern through the garden, she is there to connect with them.
They try to help and easily enter the locked WC, but the keys have too much heft even for their combination wing power. They circle her head offering consolation, but they’re butterflies so how many ideas do they have during the course of their 115-day life time? The Morphos are doing their last loop around Angela, letting her know one of her bra straps is showing, when Veronica of New Port walks in.
Veronica is another sort of princess. She’s kind too but a bit grumpy from spending too much close-quarter time sailing on the Rio Dulce with her boyfriend on his two-man Topper Hermanson sloop. They’ve put in to Livingston Guatemala ahead of a storm muttering in the distance.