Well yes, I did not only stay one night outside the pretended security of the hotel where I was staying on this island, in fact there were two more, and now it is time to tell you how I lived this one, perhaps the most grateful, if that word could summarize those hours I lived.
It was in my desire to know the Da Rolas Island, in front of the Porto Alegre resort, perhaps one of the most paradisiacal corners of the island and strongly prepared for the well-off tourist, something that, as you know, is not my forte.
Isla Da Rolas is known, at first because the zero meridian passes through it, that is, it is right in the middle of the planet, also because, years ago, it hosted a restaurant that tried to emulate the European haute cuisine and also, of course, a small resort to attract, if possible, more affluent tourists.
But I imagine that the years of pandemic, the little knowledge of these islands and the particular idiosyncrasy of the population, all together led to the current situation.
But I stopped beating around the bush, I wanted to see the zero meridian, I was in Porto Alegre, half an hour by boat from the island and, well, I said why not, so I just looked for a fisherman of the several that were around, to ask them if they were going to go to the island.
I was lucky and one of them told me yes, his name was Francisco, or so he introduced himself to me and in a few moments, in which I helped him to arrange the boat, we set off for the island.
Tiny boat, huge waves, calm face in him, scared face in mine every time the boat hit a wave and I clung with my hands to the edges of the boat so tightly, I think I left the mark of my fingers on it.
Little did we talk, I could feel him…I don’t know, not tense, but he kept casting glances towards the island in front of him and towards the sky, and while from time to time, his gaze would turn to the sea around us, as if he was reading it, something I am sure all fishermen who face the waters day by day in any ocean or sea do.
I was curious to see how he would bring one hand to the water to caress it and then lift it into the air, to feel the breeze, the wind, perhaps anticipating the hurricane that might be brewing around him.
He was the spitting image of someone who lives waiting for the elements to warn him in time of the mood in which they will see each other’s faces.
We reached land, well, a beach of fine sand, where there were perhaps half a dozen children playing what all the children of the world play, something that made me see how equal we are, except for the place where we have come to this world, the opportunities that have arisen in the different environments that make up this planet, all this makes us believe that we could be different, when in reality, we feed the same desire, the same desires, I will even dare to tell you that we both have the same dreams.
It is not a very big island, in just one hour of walking I have already crossed it from end to end, well, who says an hour says a couple of them, I will not get nitpicky, especially because my knee … well, not always this for parties hahahaha.
Barely 70 people live there on a regular basis, fishing for food, coconuts that could catch and perhaps change with Porto Alegre, but little else, in fact, do not even have the option of drinking water, as they must bring it by boat, because there are no sources and the few that might arise in the rainy season, are hopelessly brackish for all that wind that does not cease to devastate many of these corners.
But it is a beautiful island.
Although, having already spent more than enough time, I decided to return to my refuge in the capital, let’s say that Mother Nature had other plans.
I recognized Francisco, he was there, in that corner of the beach, setting the boat a little above the line that marked the waters and when I asked him if I could return, he just pointed to the waters that, at that moment, began to roar, starting a fight that began in time immemorial with the rocks that accompanied us.
So I just nodded my head and sat near the water that was beginning to hit the sand of the beach with desire… I remember taking out the pipe, loading it well loaded and lighting it, and, as if it had been programmed, the sun began to fall over the horizon and the incipient rumble of a generator began to be heard.
I do not remember how long I stayed there, sitting, lying down sometimes, lighting the pipe when it went out, when it was over I just reloaded it, and while all this, the night gave me the greatest of spectacles … a whole firmament full of stars.
I remember trying to see the Big Dipper or any other constellation, of course I know as much about astronomy as I do about nuclear engineering, nothing at all, so, after trying it for a couple of seconds, I remember smiling, lying down and letting myself be carried away by that incomparable peace that happens to you when you are simply… at peace.
I saw a star with your name on it, another one reminded me of your smile, in another one I found the answer to one of those questions we all carry inside us, the ones we keep in the most hidden place, to see if someday we find the answer.
I counted them, well, I just extended my arm and tried to count them, but I always got lost when I saw your eyes in one of them, and it’s funny, because even when the melancholy, the feeling of being in another dimension, perhaps on another planet, came to me and made me close my eyes …. I kept seeing all that ceiling full of bright lights, blinking, throwing me messages from when you, maybe you had seen them a thousand years ago.
And while, behind me, in the small village on the island, barely 70 people, the music played, the brief conversations that I barely understood, the laughter that sometimes arose, everything in sum told me that there was life in that almost darkness, only broken by brief and sporadic light bulbs.
And there, a few meters away, Francisco was immersed in a fire, placing a thousand and one remains of palm trees, coconut shells and on the side, a simple grill with a couple of fish, large, shiny in the light emitted by the fire.
He called out to me. And when I turned my head towards him, he told me to come closer, which I did and when I got to his height, he pointed to the fish and when he saw that I didn’t understand a damn idea… yes I know, you surely knew what he wanted to tell me, smart ass!!!!… anyway, I settled down next to him and took out, for my part, the bottle of wine I had bought in the nearby but unreachable island in front of us, I say that he thought it was good, because I saw him smiling with a lot of desire.
*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***