A woman with short, dark curls in a pick up truck pulled alongside me and asked in an American accent if I was okay. I poked my head into her window, inquired if she was Lisa, and she replied, “No, but you look like you need help.”
I wonder what tipped her off.
Was it the fact I was running in my bare feet along the gravel of Playa Guiones? Not one of the roads commonly populated with people carrying surfboards, families pushing strollers, and stray dogs wandering leisurely, but a main road that had few pedestrians and numerous four-wheelers, dirt bikes, cars, and trucks. Maybe it was the fact I wasn’t wearing anything but a nightgown, and my little boobies were bouncing with a freedom that screamed, “SOS!” Or perhaps the panic that consumed my being was visible, and the silent prayers I obsessively repeated could be heard every time my feet slammed against the stones.
I thanked her for stopping, but told her I had just arrived at my destination. As she drove off, I walked up to a building with a sign that read “Surfing Nosara”. It was where I was supposed to meet the manager of the budget room we’ve been staying in during our Costa Rican vacation. She was supposed to give me an extra key because, you see, we accidentally locked ours inside, along with our 2-year-old.
It happened when Ash was napping. Josh sat in a hammock right outside the room studying on his phone, and I went out to the table beside him with my notebook. Javin’s naked butt emerged from the room too, with the iPad in his hands. He stood in the doorway, staring at the screen, and in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes from swarming our sleeping toddler, Josh told him to pull the door a little bit. NOT ALL THE- too late. He shut the door completely, locking the key and Ash inside. Breaking in wasn’t an option, as bars protected every possible opening. My heart dove into a dark pit of my stomach.
Typically I’d walk to an office on site and ask for a new key, but it’s a little different here. In fact, for the first few days we were the only live bodies on the property, employees included. Josh texted the manager, and luckily she responded right away, saying it would take her some time to get into town. To save time we said one of us would run in to meet her.
I didn’t want to be the one to stick around for the trauma of Ash waking up to his dark prison, and I’m also more accustomed to bare feet, so I was quick to go. I paced around the front of the building, wondering what this Lisa character would look like, and if she’d actually show up. Of course I didn’t have a phone, and continued to rely on a prayer. Another person asked me if I was okay as I chanted to myself, Bring me Lisa. Bring me Lisa. And after eight long minutes, up walks this blonde girl, with no pep in her step what so ever. She gave me a weak hand shake, which is a pet peeve of mine, and told me, “I made a mistake. Our office isn’t here anymore, and we don’t have any keys. The cleaner has a one though. She’ll be over soon.” I was like girl, bye.
I ran back the way I came cursing Lisa’s life. I remembered last trip here, we saw our cleaner walking home, and offered her a ride. Of course she was eager to accept it, because it wasn’t close at all. So when Lisa said the cleaner was on her way I wondered, “By foot from a faraway village?” I passed Lisa again as I ran and asked her. She told me, “No, she’s on a motorbike.” Phew! Hopefully she doesn’t have a casado to finish first.
When I got back to our place, Josh and Javin were sitting out front of the door holding the iPad up to the window so Ash could watch a show. Josh told me to go talk to him, and when I approached the dark glass, Ash said, “Mama, I locked. I locked, Mama.” I felt my heart zigzag-break, and I told him the key was on its way, and he’d be okay. He started to get very upset, probably feeding off my energy, and I walked to the street to manifest a motor bike with a cleaning lady on top. Low and behold, a tica with a long braid and goggles on her face pulled in. She said nothing as she parked, and walked to the door. A moment later, our second naked son joined the first, and my heart resumed beating.
I was clearly more traumatized than Ash, but perhaps that’s because it’s my job to solve the problems, and his job to trust that I will. He grabbed the front of the stroller, saying he wanted to go for a walk, and we said we’d do whatever he wanted.
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