“Pura Vida” by C. Boyd

Through fields full of banana trees, the purr of my 150 cc moped is the only audible tune as I watch the mountains retreat to the horizon. I see Dan in the side-view mirror and the Costa Rican sun turning the blue sky into a sea of reds and oranges.  I know won’t be long until we lose the light. The road curves more, narrowing as it cuts into the jungle.  Dead iguanas and fallen palm leaves litter the sides of the road. The humidity is overbearing, I can’t tell if I’m sweating or not. It’s a dampness you can taste in the air. Chattering birds and monkeys in the trees creates an ominous roar over the drone of the mopeds. The trees are growing higher all around us and the light has escaped. Meandering through jungle roads, surrounded in darkness with headlights that are barely strong enough to keep light on the broken pavement. This could be dangerous.

We have been on the road for twelve hours, cruising along the Pacific Coast from Panama to northern Costa Rica. We stopped periodically to take in the view with a cerveza or two and enjoying the joints we had rolled just across the border.  We had picked up the weed from Pablo, a father of four we met at a fruit stand when buying fresh fruit a few kilometers into Costa Rica; a real nice guy, he spoke English quite well.

Now we are down to our last pineapple and have a few bananas left with a half box of crackers. There is no way we’re making it to Tamarindo tonight. It is still about two hours to the north. What was that sound? Sounded like a roar, jaguars live in the jungle. No, I think I’m just being delirious. Damnit, can I still really be this high from the joint we smoked two hours ago?  That was definitely some animal making that noise; there it goes again. What is that ahead? I see an intersection approaching up ahead. We turn left at the small sign with waves on it. This must lead toward the ocean. Down a steep incline we finally escape the grasp of the narrow, damp roads of the jungle overran by enormous trees and vines. I can breathe again.

We must stop. It’s getting late. I just want food, a few shots of tequila and one last joint. I’ve given up on riding anymore tonight. I can finally hear the ocean crashing onto shore; it must be about 500 meters away. I stop and look at Dan. He nods ahead to follow the narrow dirt road through small trees and sugar canes toward the beach. Driving slowly down the road avoiding potholes in the dirt filled with water from an earlier rain, we make it to a clearing. Underneath the full moon we see the crashing waves on the abandoned black sand beach. We park our mopeds next to a palm tree at the end of the road. I reach for the pineapple and Dan is way ahead of me already unpacking the weed and rolling papers. We walk out towards the crashing waves and light the fresh joint. Resting our sunburned bodies on the cool sand we slowly puff away the rest of the night.  We have finally found what we were looking for on our two-month journey of surfing, drinking and smoking through Central America.

—written by Colin Boyd, CW 350 Fiction Workshop, Fall 2010

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