FROM the CHRONICLES of ODISIA SANCHEZ
It’s late one night of my travels, now many without sleep. I’m looking for shelter. He's looking for a wife. He takes me to his house of mud and palm where he hosts this weary traveler with conversation and beer and smoke in the dark dark dark of this night and this place without electricity or moonlite, nay even a candle that might welcome the unwelcome fantasmas.
Está cansadita no? Mira, está en su casa, my garden is your garden, stay as long as you like, when you’re ready to sleep, this is your bed.
He hangs a hammock.
Mañana, vamo’ a a pescar.
Oh yeah? We're going fishing? For what?
Ay que Odisia! Pues, shark!
ODISIA sits in the lone hammock and looks around the garden.
And where are you going to sleep?
Beneath mosquito netting and a veil of stars he extends a hospitality too enchanting to refuse and the first night opened and closed.
ODISIA envelopes herself in the hammock. LIGHTS CROSSFADE. Rooster crows. ODISIA wakes and explores the garden.
Morning sun rocks me wake to see him for the first time. Lázaro fisherman perfect, bathing in his garden-home.
Because really he lives outside, in this garden of herbs, cactus, pomegranate, almond trees, aloe vera and the morning-blooms called “amor por un rato”(love, for just a minute.) This flora tropical is fenced in by old shark nets wrapped on posts. Swordfish swords, shark jaws and other relics from the sea hang on the nets… like flies caught in a web.
The first time I have occasion to ask him for toilet paper, he yanks a few pages from a disintegrating English textbook. As I squat in the bush behind his hovel I read: “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire…” Oh well…the wasteland indeed--by T.P. Eliot.
Lázaro. Early morning light shines his black eyes ringed in blue, compact strength that moves like water and a blinding smile to greet me:
Buenos dias mi reina, tienes hambre?
Sí. Very hungry.
Lázaro shows me to the bath that is a bucket of water then prepares our breakfast of cactus and tea before we roll up our blankets and go out to sea.
Odisia and Lázaro walk to port.
Do you remember the first time you went fishing, the first time you went to sea?
Since I remember.
What is the first thing you remember?
Going to sea, al tiburón. Y tu mi güera, what’s your first memory?
At sea, ODISIA sits in the hammock which is now a boat.
Where the liquid horizon meets only sky in every direction we drop the giant shark nets that had filled the boat as flying fish race toward the sun and the sky sinks heavy with stars and the sharkfull sea rocks me to sleep in the tiny cradle while Lazaro fisherman perfect keeps vigil over my sleep and the sea and the night.
Light crossfade. Morning at sea.
Ya dormilona, wake up already! Quiero saber, your first memory, con que soñaste querida?
I dreamed I was dreaming. I wake up inside the dream, and crawl into my mother’s arms. She rocks me and holds me close “Odisia, mi'jita, you finally woke up, you’ve been asleep all your life!”
Ay que Odisia...
Bonito sueno. No wonder, you’re like that, if it’s all a dream you can do whatever we want.
Maybe that’s why I don’t do anything; what’s the point if it's not real?
Ay que Odisia! I’ll show you real.
And he dives off the side of the boat!
Lázaro, fisherman perfect, consummate fisherman,
fisherman even born Pisces!
Like all of us, darker than he looks.
Eight years since he’s worn shoes. Eight years since his fiasco of a marriage to the Americana in Miami where this fisherman perfect was, himself, a fish out of water--he comes out of the water. He’s not alone!
He wrestles a giant turtle onto the boat. I watch him club the weathered head. I watch him slice into the belly of the giant shell. I watch him reach in and pull out a long tube of guts and I watch as he sucks the soft turtle eggs still warm from their casing. “No, gracias, I’m not hungry”.