Wouldn’t you know it, my flight was cancelled, so I’ve got another day to kill, and then I leave at 2 in the morning. If you ever make plans to fly down to South America with Lan Peru, be aware if you buy your tickets in advance that Lan Peru changes their flights constantly (my flight to Perù was also changed), and you might not find out because they don’t apparently maintain much contact with travel agencies or other international airlines. Annoying as hell, it’s a good thing I planned my return with a bit of leeway before I need to get back to cleaning toilets.
So I’ve returned to Miraflores to kill some time and enjoy some more Peruvian food before I leave for good.
Tonight’s my last night in Perú. I’m trying to get the few people I know here in Lima together for one last meal at Pardo’s Chicken. I’m sure as hell gonna miss the food here, not to mention the beautiful women, the discotecas, the exchange rate, the fruit, the jugos frescos, the warm weather, the cold showers, the pisco sours, the ever-present cheap taxis, the drivers with a death wish. . .Well, the latter one I won’t miss so much.
However, I do admit to looking forward to going back to the culture I know so well and usually dislike. I’m looking forward to eating a phatty burrito and throwing some hot sauce on that shit. I’m looking forward to not having diarrhea for an extended period of time. I’m looking forward to a dark, heavy, bittersweet microbrew. I’m looking forward to articulating myself in English using big, complicated words. I’m looking forward to being able to throw my toilet paper into the toilet. Yes, all of these things. But most importantly, I am looking forward to seeing YOU–my family and my friends–again and sharing what I have been through with you and seeing your beautiful faces again and drinking some wine, or whisky, or Chartreuse with you. Oh, and yes, I have tons of pictures that I am going to make you suffer through as I describe each and every one in excruciating detail. Look forward to seeing you soon.
I was just on Google looking to see if I could find out what kind of insect bite I’ve got on my arm–it itches like beejesus and trails down the length of my arm, ending in a sizeable bite that seems to be steadily increasing in size. I didn’t find anything on the web about it, but I did find this cool BBC site with lots of interesting facts about the jungle.
Un beso no es solo un beso para eses personas con consiensia de la luz; un beso es lleno de sentimiento, es una extensión del corazon, una forma de algo no puede definir. Porque amor esta afuera todo, esta dentro de todo, esta incontenible, movimiento a través de todo, afuera palabras, se bastado solo con manos, con contacto de cascaras–palabras se amoldado de bocas sino allende de sonidos. Amor es un creacion de la luz buscando sí mismo. En aquel momento de unidad, no es nada sino una fuerza fuerte penetrando todo, desterrando el oscuridad. Por supuesto, el oscuridad volverá, cubriendo los espacios lejos del corazon. Necesite crear amor incesantemente para su vida, para que el corazon puede recordar por que se existar, se existar solo para amor, para respirando la luz afuera sí mismo al dentro del mundo. ¡Mantena su respirando, divida la luz! ¿Que mas es en vida que cual esta dentro de su corazon?
I’m back in Lima once again, four more days until I’m home, this is the homestretch. I ate my last bit of home-cooked jungle food, cecina, platanos fritos, arroz and ensalada de cebolla, palta, y tomate, con jugo de papaya, with Rosa and then hopped onto my plane, saying goodbye for now to humidity, charapitas, and mosquitos. Iquitos was like a kind of wonderful summation of my trip to Perú–love, food, exotic drinks, and dancing. The night before I left Rosa’s sister took me around the town on her moto. The wind in my face, gripping the back handles, half-assedly trying to understand the things she was saying, I felt a kind of peace settle over me as I thought about my experiences here. This trip has turned into everything that I would have wanted it to be had I scripted it out. The fact that I didn’t at all makes it all the better. Without any kind of direction, it has evolved into a very balanced and full experience–I spent a good chunk of time in three very distinct and different places in Perú, representative of the 3 main types of climates here: the mountains (las sierras), the coast (la costa), and the jungle (la selva). I met incredibly hospitable people and tried all kinds of different foods typical of each region. I danced frequently and drank little (comparative to my normal alcohol intake). I gained a functional ability in the usage of Castellano. And ten million other little things that make up the stars in the sky. Because these memories will light up whatever darkness of solitude I may suffer in the year to come. Did I say memories? It doesn’t seem like the right term. Memories are something in the past. I feel like there are things on this journey that I picked up that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, that will grow inside of my heart because they dug out a little space for themselves there. Anyone who can burrow their way into love will stay there forever if this is where they would like to be. The doors are open and here wine is served 24 hours. Why go home again when you can be drunk all the time with the friend?
I think I’m starting to get the hang of the salsa beat, a little bit at least. You’ve got to get one cheek of the buttock swinging forward on the cusp of that double conga swat as you move the foot up, then conversely step back and hit the next conga swat with the other buttock. Of course, I might be totally wrong on that one, but it felt a lot better for me, as if my ass was finally starting to make it’s first forays into a fuller understanding of the rhythm. I just went out for what may prove to be my last dancing stint in Iquitos, I’m really going to miss these damn discotecas here with their live orchestral groups. I’m so fond of the local music, in fact, that I’m going to see about getting me a disco compacto of some of that shit. Once you’ve got you’re ass shaking to it, you forgive a lot of whatever aspects of cheesiness there may be to it’s little jumpy synthesizer licks.
I discovered that cocona not only refers to the fruit, which is delicious, but also to a certain female body part. When I was in the jungle, the 70 year old cook (who made some great basic typical foods (always with the required side dish of platanos fritos of course)) was asking me if I liked cocona, when I had said that I had tried jugo de cocona, and I didn’t understand why they all started laughing when I avidly replied “¡sì, mucho!”
I also learned from my guide the meaning of rompecalzon, one of the tragos (local drinks mixed with aguardiente that double as aphrodesiacs). It refers to the forceful removal of underwear, suggesting that to drink of this potent elixir is to be infused with sudden and intense sexual energy. I don’t know about that, it is possible it has that effect, although I just thought it was the hot women and the extreme humidity. I just kind of like the taste. It’s funny though because I’d been ordering this drink for a while here without knowing the meaning. Now I feel a little weird when I order it, like I’m asking for a viagra or something.
Just one more night and day to enjoy this little slice of jungle life and then it’s back to the big city.
Laying in my hammock in the jungle, listening to the gallìnas crow and the insects whirring and feeling my blood slowly draining through the continuous multiple straw sucks of the mosquitoes, I began to think of my journeys in Perù and of how these experiences have changed me. I really do not feel like the same person that I was when I came here. The windows opened to the vistas of a new world have shed light onto another person dwelling inside of me–there all along, of course. Once I return to the habits and customs of my nation of birth, I wonder how long these changes can persist. But that is perhaps not so important. What is important is that I have seen these new horizons at all and that I know now that they can exist.
I have been so blessed on these travels, given so much by so many people, that it would be impossible for me not to be changed. When one’s life has been filled with blessings, there is nothing to do but try to find some way to fufill the promise and opportunity these blessings have bestowed. Because I know that there has to be some kind of karmic payment for all of this wonderfulness. Maybe some of this debt has already been payed and this is the reward, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I am humbled in the face of gifts that are beyond anything that I could have expected. All I can do is try to find a way to give this love back to other people and spread the light around.
Love is like an ocean, somehow keeping you afloat in the midst of continuous swelling and ebbing change. Like an ocean, it accepts everything, the only rejection coming from the mind that fears the heart that is opening to suffering like a flower. Yes, love comes from all places and goes in all directions, dependant solely on the circumstance of placement, the happening of a moment in time when skin contacts skin and knows again the truth that it is one, has always been one, and with this can be prepared to break again in two. Breaking breaking to know the source.
The mind always strives for eternity, to make this thing last forever. The heart knows that tomorrow isn’t really all that important, not when the beloved is right here next to you and inside of your heart. Tomorrow, yes, of course, will be full of suffering. But what would be the point in attainment of ecstasy if it could be retained? Simply hollow echoes resounding without resolution. You reach a point where you are outside of yourself, watching yourself become what you are, a piece of human history reenacting the drama of life.
Dive in headfirst, because then at least when the cold hits you it will be complete, without fear, and met with grace.
In the jungle, during the night (well, all the time, actually, but it’s more prominent in the night-time) the insects weave patterns and textures of sound so sinuous, repetitive, and geometric that it’s almost visible to the eye, these frequencies crafted of the wing. The air is so dank it’s hard to breathe, and you feel as if you are in the midst of a dream as you walk through the dense growth of neon green trees ripe with bananas, anonas, pijuayos. Apparently I have sangre dulce (sweet blood), because I was needled into by so many mosquitos that my feet look like they’ve broken out in hives and my arms look like the tracked up veins of a junkie. Of course, this is what occurs when you are not from the jungle and you do not slobber on repellent. Yes, I elected to forgo the repellent, mainly because the one time I did try putting it on it had no effect whatsoever, probably because I sweat it right back off. I figured that I needed to put these anti-malarial pills to work anyway, and the bites aren’t so terrible as long as you don’t scratch them (impossible, unfortunately, with the feet, which are rubbed constantly by my sandals as I walk). So at the lodge I stayed at, I basically laid around in my hammock sweating and eating different jungle fruits while watching mosquitos draw pints from my blood like it was happy hour.
Some new vocab for ya: Caimito–a yellow/green fruit with very sweet, refreshing, and extremely sticky fruit. After you eat it, your fingers and your lips almost stick together. Mamey–actually a pomerosa, but called Mamey anyway, this tree bears these shockingly pink spinal flores that scatter in a heap beneath it, providing a stark and beautiful contrast with its green surroundings. Maracuya–another fruit, somewhat like my beloved granadilla–I tried some of its juice, very refreshing on a hot sunny day en la selva. Anona–green in appearance until it is ripe, when it turns slightly yellow, this fruit looks exotic with little tendril hooks curling from its rubber-like surface, and it tastes like pudding. In fact, the taste and texture and seeds of the fruit of the anona is very similar to that of the chirimoya, another of my favorites. I ate like 10 of these things while at the albergue. It’s like dessert. Mata-mata–a prehistoric jungle turtle, it’s head looks like a hammerhead shark and it’s got a very long neck. Pijuayo–a tree growing in the jungle that bears two wonderful gifts–chonta–the heart of its trunk–is delicious and served commonly in salads with limòn and salt, and it’s fruits–also called pijuayos–are like little tiny sweet potatoes ready to eat–you pry them open and then dab a little cocona salsa on them. Tasty.
Like I said, this place is paradise as far as I’m concerned. Now that I’ve made a few friends I’m going to stick it out for another 5 days, giving me only 3 days more in Lima before I head back home.
Another day in paradise. Today I met up with my friend Rosa and she and her friend Judy cooked me up some pescado with aji and arroz, with cocona salsa and platanos fritos, served with some jugo de cocona as a refresco. There’s nothing quite like getting comida tipica cooked fresh for you by beautiful women. Then Rosa took me to Lake Quistacocha, a beautiful laguna a little ways outside of town, where they’ve got all sorts of various jungle animals such as pumas and monkeys stuffed into tiny little cages. I felt sorry for the animals, but it was nice to see them since it’s pretty rare to see much in the jungle unless you spend over a week venturing deep into the heart of it. So tomorrow I’m off to la selva–you won’t hear from me in four days.
The jungle term for hot peppers is charapitas. This term could also be used to denote the Iquiteñas. It also refers to small turtles.
Last night again I went out to dance, apparently in Iquitos there are a couple of big orchestral groups that play mostly the same songs, and they’ve got their own large dancehalls as well. The first group I saw was called Kaliente; last night the group was Explosiòn. Both groups have a trio of dancers up on stage wearing next to nothing and swinging their asses as if they’ve got prehensile buttocks. Last night I was too tired to really shake anything too much, however. I was feeling heavy and 100% gringo as I feebly tried to step in the appropriate time signature to salsa music.
Wow, tonight has to have been one of the most interesting booty shaking experiences I’ve had in Perù thus far, mainly due to the fact that in the midst of a crowd of Iquiteños I was the only gringo in sight, and I was dancing my little white ass off. This girl Lorena and her little sister took me out to a local joint where there was a local group playing live cumbía, merengue, salsa, chincha, etc. I love it when Peruvians look kind of dumbfounded when they realize that I can shake my hips like there’s no tomorrow to musica latina.
I’m impressed with the people in general here in Iquitos, they are amazingly laid-back and accepting. In other places that I’ve been to sometimes I get the “what’s the gringo doing here?” kind of vibe (to other places’ credit, not very much of this) but in Iquitos, I just get hot eyes from a few of the chicas and smiles and maybe just a little bit of query in some looks but not in an unfriendly way. People here don’t seem to have many hang-ups other than driving their mototaxis like they think they’re in Ben-Hur. It’s got to be the year-round heat that makes people so laid back. Iquitos really is another world apart from the rest of Peru, which is not all that surprising I guess since it’s only accessible by boat or by airplane. And did I mention that the women are phenomenally beautiful here? It’s almost obscene. It’s somewhat perturbing because many of these Iquiteñas seem to be deliberately looking to bag themselves a gringo husband. There seems to be a kind of expat Texan scene for that kind of thing–you know, get yourself a hot young Amazonian wife and buy a restaurant and drink cervezas all day.
So it’s 1:30 in the morning now and I guess about time for me to head back to the hostal. Man, I love shaking the booty, I always feel so damn good afterwards, like I just wrote a cohesive thesis on the half-lives of diaphanous insects or something. It’s just one of those pure expressions of being, of being alive, of being filled with the light, of passing and sharing this light with everyone around you. What I love most about it is how you can almost visually watch the dynamic of the whole crowd change with the influx of positive vibes from an individual dancer who is letting loose. Letting yourself go makes everyone happy.
Yesterday I took a boat out to a butterfly farm, where they also had a bunch of rescued jungle animals such as a jaguar, giant rats, a tapir, a manitee, an anteater, and several monkeys–one of whom, Tommy, kept jumping onto our shoulders and licking the sweat off our necks. I met some guys from New York at the farm, they work in the independent film industry. We ended up running into each other again later at a bar, where I was trying all the different types of jungle concoctions that double both as alcholic beverages and aphrodesiacs. There´s uño de gato, rompecalzones, uva-chado, 7 raices, 21 raices, and chuchuhuasi, all rather medicinal but interesting tasting drinks that consist of aguardiente, a potent rum made from sugarcane, mixed with different types of roots or bark or whatever, depending on the drink. It definitely gave me a little heat on the inside, coupled with my already sun reddened face. Unfortunately my malaria pills make me even more sensitive to the sun than my pale skin of scandinavian heritage already curses me with, and it’s basically pointless to use sunscreen because I’ll just sweat it off within 5 minutes.
Anyway, so we met up with a friend of the New Yorkers who has been living in Iquitos for 6 months and doing medical work, and we made our way over to another bar that he knew about that was right over the water in a little jungle shack kind of structure–perfect for boozing it up in the midst of shirt drenching humidity. I think it was last night when it really began to dawn on me that I may be in some kind of paradise here.
Of course, being with New Yorkers, we had to have involved conversations about things like David Bowie, films, relationships and DP, and other random tidbits of intellectual cultural topics, the sort of which I hadn’t had in quite some time–let alone any extended conversations in English. We got pretty good and smashed. We ended up returning to the first bar where I talked until 1 in the morning with the bartendress. You know, I had been thinking that my spanish was getting fairly good, just moving past the ‘hablo un poco’ level, but now that I’m in a new place, my ability again has gone back to the ‘hablo muy poquito’ level because they speak differently here–much faster without anunciation, usually while some kind of radio music is blasting in the background.
I just scheduled this morning to stay for 4 days in a lodge in the Amazon. I’m going to head out on Sunday, I wanted to give myself the weekend to go out and shake the booty.
Iquitos is definitely a different world than the Perù that I’ve seen thus far. It is much more laid-back here, and the tourist feeding industry is not quite as rampant and savage as it was in Qosqo, maybe because it is a dead season for tourism here right now. The only other English speaking tourist that I’ve seen thus far was a girl from Wales who cornered me when I got off the plane to take a taxi with her into town. I accompanied her to her backpackers hostal to see if I wanted to stay there too, took one look at the room, and peaced out. Why would you pay 17 soles per night for a room with ten other people when you can pay 20 soles per night for a room and a bathroom to yourself?
People warned me about the women in Iquitos before I came here. Yeah, they are kind of aggressive. I go to eat lunch and the waitresses will linger next to my table making small talk and then try to set appointments to meet later on. I don’t mind the attention though.
These malaria pills are kind of zoning me out when mixed with cervezas. I’m contemplating terminating the pills, because there’s not really any mosquitos in Iquitos. I suppose it will come in handy when I venture into the jungle. I was just talking to a lady (who seemed to be quite honest because I talked with her for an hour) about staying in her lodge in the Amazon for 20 dollars a night. Seems like a pretty good price to me.
The interesting thing about Iquitos is that it still kind of retains that feeling of the rubber boom era, I feel like I’m in a Joseph Conrad book when I walk around here, other than for the everpresent roar of motorcycles and mototaxis through the streets.
I just went walking around looking for a bar to sit and quaff a few at, and found a little joint playing some of that sad kind of romantic music that Cesaria Evora sings. I ordered me a siete raices, an alcoholic beverage made with 7 roots that I believe also serves as an aphrodesiac, and that tastes like the wilder, stronger cousin of a bloody mary. Some older ladies came and sat at my table. This one lady kept saying slurred things to me in Spanish that I couldn’t understand, and then she was trying to get me to dance with her. Did I say the women are aggressive here? This old fat lady with missing teeth was tugging on my arm, not to be denied. But I had to turn her down, even with the siete raices coursing through my system.
Contained within our minds lies the key that would unveil all mysteries. But to open this door would be akin to opening the pressurized door of a flying airplane–all of what we are would be sucked out into the vacuum and there would be nothing left but space, another mystery to those who came later. Which is as much to say that we are made as much of what we don’t know as of what we know–that in fact it is not a matter of knowing at all, but a matter of accepting that one must look in a certain direction in order to see, and that what will be seen will be what lies before the path of vision. How many worlds there are beyond where you may happen to look! Can you sense these worlds without looking? Learn to listen. You can hear much more than the sound of your breathing when you are alone in your room, much more than the sounds of the outside world filtering through. You can hear the sound of something inside of you that does not belong to you. It is not important what this force is or even why it is there–what matters is that it is there at all, and that you can feel it. The feeling–what could be more important then this? This is a knowledge much deeper than whatever straightforward paths your logic can define.
So I am now stationed in Iquitos, the gateway to Peru´s northern Amazon. It´s 80 degrees and motorbikes and motortaxis zip about like bionic fireflies through the humid evening streets. I didn’t purchase a return flight, so I have as much time or as little as I desire here.
I am feeling the looming date of my departure to the states approaching, and to be perfectly honest, I am right now just about ready to leave. I think this is due in no small part to the fact that I am drained right now after 4 or so days of having the little food that I eat run straight through me with the swiftness that I used to forget a lecture as an undergrad.
It´s amazing to me the amount of travellers that I meet who are in South America for something like 8 months. Where the hell do they get the money for that kind of trip? Of course from their parents, considering that these people are usually in their early twenties. I don’t know if I could handle travelling for that long without some kind of a job to keep me occupied and a place to call my home. I’m pretty bored frequently, I’m used to working, and now with all this free time to do whatever I want–I don’t know what to do with myself, so why, I babble my inane world outlooks onto this blog, of course.
I had been considering working on an organic farm for a spell on my trip, but the fact is that there really aren’t many in Perù–I would had to have gone to Bolivia or Chile. So perhaps in the future.
Sorry, I´m going to whine a bit here for a minute, ignore this paragraph of weakness if you will: I am still increasingly feeling homesick. For what exactly I am missing it would be hard for me to define, all I know is that I feel a kind of weariness with being a constant foreigner and with being continuously reliant on either the beneficence of strangers or dios to draw me into commonality beyond appearances and circumstances. Yes, so I am missing the habits and comforts of what I am trained to be accustomed to, yes.
It’s interesting how one’s perspectives shift. Originally Lima had been for me a large dirty noisy city. As time passes and it feels more like home, things that before seemed disorderly or dirty now appear full of life. The buildings are colorful and everywhere is bustling with the daily haphazard fiesta of movement. I stroll across 6 lanes of busy traffic like frogger without a thought.
What is most interesting is that it has become strange for me to speak solely in English, as I realized last night when I went out with some nice folks from my hostal and spoke in English all night. We went to Calle de las Pizzas in Miraflores and drank a bunch of cervezas. The goal had originally been to go out dancing, but we somehow ended up in a karaoke bar first, and when we finally made it to a little joint with some musica latina, right at the very moment when I stood up to commence shaking my booty, they lowered the volume severely because at 2 o’clock pizza street shuts itself down volume-wise.
I found myself tending to speak very simple English, with a Spanish accent. This is probably something I would snap out of after a few days of speaking English again, but I thought it was kind of weird.
Miriam, a gal from the Netherlands, and I ended up having a wonderful profound discussion regarding life, travels, gifts, tragedies, and blessings until 4 in the morning. Miriam and Frank, my guide for my trek in Huaraz, went out to get more beers but it turns out the stores stop selling them in the wee morning hours–which is probably for the best given the feeling I’ve got in mi cabeza right now. The stomach dragons have been tearing a hole in my stomach with their restlessness, you can hear the rapid liquid fire burbling of my stomach like it’s a hollow sink drain.
Anyway, so I’m off to Iquitos tomorrow. I’ll start taking my anti-malarial pills today.
Hot and sunny in Lima todos los días. Day before yesterday I wandered around the sun-baked streets of Miraflores until I found Huaca Pucllana, a very large pre-Incan mound. That’s really all it is, a mound, but it was nice to have found it anyway without consulting anything except my confidence that I would run into it through the grace of dios. Speaking of the latter, I had an interesting adventure yesterday with religion. A friend of a friend of mine, Roxanna, who I had chatted with most of the night a few nights ago, took me 2 hours outside of the city today, to Ventanilla, to her church to get me converted. Now, let me tell you first of all that I had no idea where she and her friend Manuel were taking me. We had agreed to meet up this morning, and I had some vague idea that we were going to go out dancing somewhere eventually. We get on this old reconverted school bus and drive through the heat of the early afternoon out to where the sand dunes are. We finally get off the bus and step into a church. I’m thinking, ok, I’m going into a church, this is kind of weird, I thought we were going to the beach or something. Some biblical looking Peruanos in white button down shirts led me upstairs and sat me down at a table in a room filled with ladies in nun-outfits. Then another biblical looking dude in a beige tunic sat down and began speaking to me, solely in rapid-fire Spanish of course (translated at times by Roxanna in slightly less rapid-fire Spanish (it was rather touching to see that she thought this might help)), about his beliefs in God. Thus commenced an hour-long kind-of dialogue in Spanish regarding his beliefs and mine.
It was actually quite intriguing, he was telling me about how his church believes that the Incans knew of the Ten Commandments before the conquistadores ever trampled Incan turf bearing the ‘good news’ and greed for gold, that in fact in Isaiah 2 there is a reference to Macchu Piccu. Which couples with another interesting facet of religion here in general: the Catholicism is mixed overtly with the native religion of the Incas, and there is not seen to be a contradiction in this, which is refreshing.
Anyway, so we had a pretty deep talk about God and stuff while I ate some good lomo saltado cooked by a matronly looking lady in a nun outfit and drank Inca Kola. I told the biblical looking dude in the beige tunic that I believe that god is in everyone and to know of this god is ultimately a solitary internal affair, a matter of cultivating consciousness so to speak, beyond laws and language and logical comprehension. We agreed pretty much on matters of the spirit, but then it always came down to their ten laws that they have based on the old testament (including maintenance of the Sabbath on Saturday), and how it was only through following these commandments that one could be one with santos. I was given a copy of said commandments and told that I held promise as a minister or prophet of “el señor.” Then we went downstairs to the church which was now in session. I was introduced in front of the congregation, and then they played some Andino music about Jesus, which was actually quite beautiful, and some ladies in nun outfits danced around with the spirit.
Yes, I call the kind of tourism that I undergo the tourism of the happenstance. Events sprung from the unknown are what I have come to see.
Because you know that everything good that comes to you comes because there was something before that you gave away, or that you will need to give away in the future. Blessings never come without pain. And so every benediction of love that comes your way is edged with the awareness of suffering, because you know that behind every joy lies an incredible sadness, behind every connection lays emptiness. Without the oscillation of emotions, you can look out of a spaceship into the night of a half of the globe’s cities and view the connective star hustled patterns of human life and know of it’s beauty, and know the distance which gave to it form.
You can stand in the night of your particular backyard and look up at the indifferently humming stars and know of their intimate relation to you and all of your mundane personal intricacies.
Because you can not transcend, let’s set the romantics straight. But you can grasp the totality of what you are in any given moment. So strength, you see, is not achieving some climactic pinnacle of divinity in your life from which all other points thereafter and before will refer. Strength is the steady patient nurturing of every moment in your life, the bending, flowing, expanding strength of roots, the strength you find in plants when you can bend them endlessly but never break them. Sacrifice your desires, your expectations, every dream and ambition that you ever had for this person that you thought you knew so intimately. Sacrifice yourself so that you may live.