Angela of Livingston Guatemala – Part 9
Angela of Livingston Guatemala is lying on a bed in one of the Hotel Leddie’s quieter rooms. Vermeer, having found her holding her forehead and looking at him in an unfocused near swoon, ran to find Leddie for help.
Leddie has gotten her personal ice pack from the freezer, placed it on Angela’s brow and is now forcing her to stay prone in front of the best fan the hotel has to offer. Angela wants to get up and finish her work. Leddie is telling her that Vermeer will take the rest of her duties for the day. ”And you, why are you just standing there wringing your hands like some old priest?” chides Leddie and dispatches Vermeer to the Cafe Rios where he’ll work in the kitchen over the lunch rush. ”And don’t forget your hair net.”
When she’s sure he’s gone Leddie asks who’s hurt this time. Angela says she doesn’t know but it’s someone close, someone good. She thinks it’s going to be all right, though. “Dios mio, if only we could make some money off your loco channelings of too much in the universe,” laments Leddie, softly stroking Angela’s hair before leaving her to rest.
Once the door is closed, she high throttles in a panic to phone each of her three grown daughters to make sure they are not being picked up by Angela’s sympathy radar. What mother wouldn’t?
As Vermeer slouches towards the restaurant with the hair net, for which Leddie charged him 15 Quetzales as part of his “professional equipment,” Veronica is also lying on a bed with a throbbing headache. After thwacking her head on a mangrove branch, John and Daniel led her in a wobbly state through the short jungle to a small house on the edge of the grove. John wanted to find a doctor, Veronica insisted that she didn’t need one and Daniel took charge, bringing them to the home of his close Garifuna friends, Luisa and Ricardo.
Ricardo is a fisherman and Luisa, the mother of three young children, is a gifted healer, a highly respected shaman, in fact. Though Veronica is protesting she is more or less fine now, Luisa begins her examination. First, she looks deeply into Veronica’s cornflower blue eyes. Satisfied with that, she puts her ear near the red welt turning to a lump on Veronica’s forehead. Then Luisa smells her breath, licks and tastes the skin on her right cheek and plunges her tongue into her left ear.
Luisa pronounces all is good and that rest and aspirin are the best course. Her hand then seeks out Veronica’s right knee, gives it a slight squeeze and advises she should stop jogging on city streets because it’s irritating an old cartilage injury.
Earlier John’s worried pacing inspired Luisa to send him outside to keep company with Ricardo who is mending his nets on the shaded side of the yard. The kids, ages 4, 6 and 8, are examining John’s auburn hair and lightly freckled complexion and making fun of his American accented Spanish. ”Ja, ja ja, boo-wen-us dee-ass,” they chant in raptures of giggles. John has calmed down enough to enjoy the lively teasing. Feigning offense, he’s giving chase after them around the yard and snapping about 30 photos of their irrepressible mugging.
Inside, Luisa has gone back to making lunch and Daniel is keeping Veronica company. He pulls up a chair beside the bed. “I haven’t been this gob smacked addled since a freshman year English class, Deconstruction 101,” she says wondering why she’s thinking about Jacques Derrida now. Maybe it’s the extreme headache factor.
“Or maybe it’s because using semiotics as tool for post-modern literary criticism is the equivalent of banging your head on a jungle tree,” he says. Veronica laughs as much as her wounded head permits.
When he has been given the go-ahead signal from Luisa, John enters the room to find Veronica sitting up and engaged in an impenetrable and animated discussion with Daniel about signaling implications and non-signaling implications in the late 19th century novel. Huh?
Daniel’s buttery Caribbean accent is much less pronounced and he’s not dropping any “g” endings on words. They don’t even notice John’s in the room. ”Ronnie?”
Back at the Hotel Leddie, Angela of Livingston Guatemala, fortified with aspirin and good care, happily takes up sweeping the patio. The sand granules cheer her return.