Timothy Willis Sanders / Cozumel
Matt looked through the glass wall. He saw runway and sky. He looked at Vik and imagined saying, “Look at the sky.”
Matt looked through the wall and saw a plane take off. He read “Aeropuerto” and thought “air-poo-air-toe.” He looked at the counter and saw the policeman reading a man’s passport. He thought “It’ll be fine.”
Matt patted his back pocket and pictured his wallet. He touched his front pocket and pictured his Nokia 5160. He remembered Vik saying “You won’t need it,” and pressing her palm at him. He looked at Vik and thought “But I could play Snake right now.” He looked at the couple next to Vik. He saw a bald spot on the man’s head. He saw freckles on the woman’s chest.
Matt saw Vik step towards the counter. He stepped behind her and stared at the bald spot. He thought “Mexican 9/11″ and glanced at the freckles.
Matt said, “What if I need a passport? Because of 9/11?”
Vik said, “We talked about this,” and stared at the policeman.
Matt remembered widening his eyes at Vik and saying “What if it’s too late?” He remembered Vik saying, “It’s ok, I checked online” and him saying, ”What site? It might’ve changed.” He remembered thinking “Karl Rove” and seeing Vik turn away.
Matt stepped forward and glanced at the man’s bald spot. He heard the man say, “What the hell is taking so long?” in a low voice.
Matt saw Vik watching a plane land. He thought “That’s the plane I’ll fly back on.” He patted his back pocket and took out his wallet. He looked at his driver’s license and read the date. He thought “Expired. Osama bin Mexico.”
Matt stepped forward and glanced at the bald spot. He imagined the man with the bald spot running to the counter and punching the policeman. He looked at the counter and saw the policeman open a passport. He saw the policeman point and say something in Spanish. He imagined Vik getting into a taxi with the policeman. He pictured eight cops tackling the man with the bald spot. He imagined the police using advanced technology to read his thoughts.
Matt thought “God…chill” and “Talk to Vik.”
Matt thought “Nothing to say” and said, “Can’t wait to get a drink.”
Vik said, “I know, me too.”
Matt saw Vik hand the policeman her passport. He watched the policeman open the passport. He watched the policeman hand the passport to Vik. He saw the policeman wave Vik away. He stepped forward and handed his driver’s license to the policeman. He watched the policeman read his driver’s license. Matt saw the policeman hand the driver’s license back and nod his head.
Matt opened the bus window. He blinked in the wind. He saw trees and highway signs in Spanish. He saw cars and houses. He thought “People live here. Everyday, ocean” and looked at Vik. He watched her hair fly in her face.
Matt placed his hand on her hand and stared at palm trees. He sniffed and thought “Sonic Ocean water slushy.” He looked towards the driver to see the ocean. He saw the driver and the road. He looked at the houses. He saw a man walking with a yellow bucket. He saw four seagulls flying over waving palm trees. He pictured typing “Live in Cozumel” in Yahoo! Search. He imagined working for a newspaper or teaching English.
Matt read “Gold” and “Xanax” on storefront windows. He turned to the opposite window and saw the ocean. He looked at the ocean and thought “That’s why, look at it.”
Matt saw a white yacht docked near the beach. He stared at a helicopter parked on the yacht. He imagined wearing big headphones and flying the helicopter over the island.
Matt saw trees and bushes. He thought “Jungle Fever” and stared into the bushes. He sensed the bus slow down. He looked out the opposite window and read Fiesta Americana in yellow letters.
Matt stepped off the bus and looked at the hotel. He saw long cracks in the turquoise walls. He saw the bus driver kneel and open a panel on the bus. He watched the bus driver take out their luggage. He saw Vik lift her suitcase handle and walk to hotel door. He waved at the bus driver and lifted his suitcase handle. He walked to the door and saw a lizard near the bushes. He watched the lizard’s mouth open and close. He opened and closed his mouth with the lizard.
Matt collided with Vik and said, “Oh.”
He closed his mouth and opened the door for Vik.
Vik said, “Thanks.”
Matt took off his boxer briefs and looked at his stomach in the mirror. He turned and looked at his buttocks. He looked at his back and scratched at a zit. He watched dead skin collect around the zit. He swept away the dead skin with his finger. He faced the mirror and thought “You’re here. Just have fun.”
Matt slid his legs into his swimming trunks. He opened the bathroom door and saw Montel Williams on TV. He heard someone say, “Be a man to your kids” and an audience cheer.
Matt stared at the TV and said, “It’s in English.”
Vik said, “It’s an American show.”
Matt said, “I know. But how…” and leaned closer to the TV.
Matt said, “How do Mexicans understand it?”
Vik said, “They understand English.”
Matt said, “Hm,” and looked out the balcony window. He saw a family walking with bags and towels. He looked at the TV. He saw a fat woman say, “He ain’t right!” and a skinny man frown. He looked at Vik and thought “You can watch TV at home.”
Matt looked at the TV and said, “We going to the beach?”
Vik said, “You go ahead. I need a nap.”
Matt thought “You can nap on the beach” and said, “I can stay here with you.”
Vik said, “No, you go. I’ll be down soon.”
Matt walked to the bathroom and draped a towel around his neck. He took the room key from the dresser and walked to the door. He gripped the doorknob and looked at Vik. He saw her turn off the TV and close her eyes. He opened the door.
Matt walked through the courtyard. He looked at the cracks in the turquoise walls. He looked at the beach and saw a waiter walking towards the family. He saw yellow and red drinks on the waiter’s tray.
Matt pictured Vik asleep and thought “I love her. I do.”
Matt walked on the sand and sang “Walking on sa-and” like “Walking on Sunshine”. He looked at the hotel and tried to locate their room. He thought “How long” and walked towards the ocean. He squinted at the ocean and pictured his Nokia 5160. He thought “I need it now too. Forgot my book” and laid out his towel. He sat on the towel and squinted at the ocean. He watched the waves and imagined playing Snake.
Matt stared at the orange behind his eyelids. He saw the orange deepen and opened his eyes. He saw Vik standing over him.
Vik said, “Hey, did you put on sunscreen?” and dropped a tube in the sand.
Matt said, “I don’t need it. Don’t get sunburns,” and pointed to his arm.
Vik said, “Ok, whatever,” and, “This is nice.”
Matt thought “Did you sleep ok?”
Matt said, “I know. First time I’ve seen the ocean.”
Vik said, “I think that’s Cancún,” and pointed to the horizon.
Matt squinted and saw land on the horizon. He imagined wet t-shirt contests and college kids covered in foam.
Matt said, “I didn’t even see that.”
Matt saw Vik set her bag and towel on the sand. He looked at her bag.
Matt said, “Is my book in there?” and pointed to the bag.
Matt heard Vik say, “Hola,” to someone behind him. He turned and saw the waiter.
Matt thought “You didn’t come when it was just me.” He looked at Vik and said, “We should get Piña Coladas.”
Matt heard Vik say, “Two Piña coladas, por favor,” and saw a bruise on her thigh.
Matt thought “Peen-ya ko-lah-da” and looked at the bruise.
Matt said, “What happened?” and pointed to her legs.
Matt saw Vik press her legs together. He turned and watched the waiter walk towards a small hut. He glanced at Vik’s legs and looked at her face.
Vik said, “I hit it against the sink. In the bathroom. On the plane.”
Matt pictured her cringing and kneeling in the airplane bathroom.
Matt thought “You didn’t say anything” and said, “I’m sorry. You’re not limping so that’s good.”
Matt saw her nod and open the bag. She handed Matt the book. He looked at the book cover and read “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Alice Munro” in white letters.
Matt imagined Alice Munro in a garden. He thought “Hallmark Channel. Soft focus.” He looked at Vik and watched her rub sunscreen on her skin.
Matt thought “Paradise. Alice, Vik, ocean” and pictured a Corona commercial. He heard a boy say “Snorkels!” and squinted at the family. He saw the boy jump and wave his arms.
Matt heard “Piña colada?” and nodded. He saw the waiter smile and hand Vik a Piña Colada.
Vik said, “Gracias.”
Matt glanced at her bruise and thought “Damn, purple and black.” He took his Piña Colada from the waiter and said, “Thanks.”
Matt drank his Piña Colada and stared at Cancún.
Matt said, “Think you can swim all the way there?” and pointed to Cancún.
Vik said, “Sure.”
Matt thought “Right” and said, “All that way?”
Vik said, “If I trained.”
Matt said, “You sound like you know?”
Vik said, “I trained a lot when I was younger. My dad wanted me to be a swimmer or a tennis star.”
Matt said, “Like Sharapova.”
Vik looked at Matt and said, “Except Czech.”
Matt said, “Sharapova is Russian?”
Matt saw Vik nod and open Vogue magazine. He imagined Vik’s legs kicking underwater and sharks sensing her bruise. He imagined diving from the helicopter to save her from sharks.
Matt glanced at Cancun and sipped his Piña Colada. He heard “Snorkelersss!” and squinted at the family. He saw the boy running with a snorkel and goggles. He looked at the hut and read “Snorkels” in blue letters.
Matt said, “Should we swim?”
Vik said, “After our drinks.”
Matt walked to the hut with his snorkel and goggles. He read “return here” and dropped the snorkel and goggles in a bucket. He walked to the room. He remembered seeing silver fish and a big shadow under the reef’s edge. He remembered staring at the shadow and walking backwards to the beach. He opened the door and heard the TV.
Matt said, “Hey,” and walked into the bathroom. He turned on the shower. He took off his swimming trunks and looked at his back in the mirror. He looked for the zit and the zit was gone. He thought “I do love her” and stepped in the shower.
Matt sensed his skin burning and said, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” He heard Vik laugh.
Matt looked at the door and said, “Damn, that’s fucked up. First sunburn.”
Matt turned the C knob and stepped in the shower. He rubbed soap on his skin and said, “Fuck, that hurt.”
Matt looked at the soap on his penis and thought “I wonder if we’ll have sex…”. He rinsed his body and turned off the shower. He dried himself and brushed his teeth. He wrapped a towel around his waist and opened the door.
Matt sat on the bed and saw Vik move towards him.
Vik said, “Aw, baby’s first sunburn,” and rubbed his chest.
Matt smiled and kissed Vik. He sensed her hand on his penis. He thought “Ok, c’mon…” and put his tongue in her mouth.
Matt saw Vik move her face to his neck. He watched her kiss his chest and navel. He closed his eyes and sensed her mouth on his penis. He thought “Oh, man, no…something is wrong with me” and pictured the fat woman saying “He ain’t right!” He watched Vik stroke his penis. He thought “I could just eat her out, but…” and pictured her bruise. He blinked and thought “Something’s wrong.”
Matt saw Vik sit up and look at him. He watched her lay down with her back to him.
Matt looked at her shoulder and said, “Hey.”
Vik said, “I’m tired now.”
Matt said, “We can keep…it’s okay…I can…”
Matt stared at her shoulder. He said, “What’s wrong, I mean,” and imagined screaming and throwing the TV off the balcony.
Vik turned and said, “Are you crying?”
Matt said, “I just think, you’re…” and turned his back to Vik.
Matt said, “Going to find someone else,” into the pillow. He imagined setting fire to himself and the hotel burning down.
Vik said, “I don’t want to be with anyone else.”
Matt relaxed his face and looked at the wall.
Matt said, “I’m sorry. I get weird. My head is nuts.”
Matt sensed her arm across his chest and thought “I’m such a bitch.”
Matt looked at the sunset. He thought “Postcards.” He looked at Vik and saw sweat on her forehead. He stabbed his lobster and thought “tiny ass fork.” He looked at Vik’s plate and saw asparagus and red potato wedges. He watched her nudge a potato wedge with her fork.
Matt stared at the sweat on her forehead and said, “Are you ok?”
Vik said, “Stop it. Stop asking me if I’m ok.”
Matt stabbed his lobster and said, “Ok, ok…”
Matt thought “Just fucking asked” and put lobster in his mouth. He chewed and looked at the sunset. He remembered Vik using a Discover card to rent a moped. He remembered crashing the moped in a ditch. He remembered lying in the ditch and laughing with Vik. He thought “She was fine then” and looked at the sweat on her forehead.
Vik said, “I’m sick, I think.”
Matt said, “Is it the lobster?” and thought “No sex.”
Vik said, “I don’t know,” and moved a potato wedge.
Matt looked at her potato wedges and thought “I could eat that.”
Vik said, “I’m going to go lie down.”
Matt said, “Ok, I’ll be up soon.”
Matt watched Vik walk to the stairs. He thought “So dumb” and pictured his Nokia 5160. He looked at the red potato wedges. He glanced at the sunset and put a potato wedge in his mouth.