As I stand listening to my husband inform me that my life as I have known it is over, I am cognizant of the whir of inanimate objects around me as I stand cemented in place. Beyond the hum of the central air conditioner is the high droning sound of the leaf blowers outside the sliding glass doors. Outside, where it is safe from such inhuman emotional agony. My focus inexplicably has shifted to the Ticos, the locals, out in the warm sunshine contentedly doing their everyday jobs. Nothing outside these windows has changed at all, but here, inside, everything has changed. Why were their lives continuing on outside in the hot morning air while mine, so bitterly and unfairly, has just come to a sudden and screeching halt? How can they just keep doing their job when such misery is taking place just yards away from them?
I know that in this frozen moment in time, I will forever remember the look of repugnance on his face; the heavy, dark smudges below his once sparkling brown eyes. I don’t remember him so gray in the temple, the jowl. His face when he says it, I know, will always be clear—tired, stricken, so angry—but it is the dusty smell of the damp and mildewed wicker furniture and the sickly sweet odor of the overripe bananas which sat on the counter for too many days, that will always be a part of my memory. I know that I will never erase from my senses, the smells and sounds that have become a part of this holding cell within the jungles of Costa Rica.
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