Costa Rica :: Part 25

This story is being told as a series. Here’s a link to Part 1

Part 25

After I left Chucho, I went back to my room to pack. We were leaving early to head back toward San Jose. When I was almost finished, I realized I should check my email one last time tonight, while we were still in an area where I should be able to get connection.

After all, I hadn’t completely forgotten the project hanging over me back home.

The signal was weak in my room, but so I stepped out the sliding doors. My room was on the first floor, pool level. I stepped out to the edge of my patio area, out of the lee of the building. I picked up a signal, and waited while the system attempted to grab my messages, hopefully before the humidity overran the technology.

Movement, then a cough, drew my attention right. In the open area, about 30 feet away, a man was smoking. When I looked up, he spoke. Was I from here, or on vacation? He was here on vacation. With his family. They were asleep. Was I here with someone, or was I alone?

The questions came rapid-fire. He may in fact simply have been a man on vacation with his family, unable to sleep, having a smoke and striking up an awkward conversation with the only other person around. Still, at that late hour, something about his manner and his probing felt not right.

“Yes, I’m here on vacation too. We’re on a tour.” While I normally wouldn’t lie about my situation, in this case that felt like the safest thing to do. “My husband and I,” I nodded casually at the patio door as if to indicate my husband, though the real purpose of my glance was to measure how far away the door was and what, if anything, he could see inside.

The curtain was pulled. The door wasn’t too far… and was open a crack, because I hadn’t wanted to lock myself out. I wouldn’t have to fumble with a latch, in a pinch. If there was a husband, there wouldn’t have been a need to prop it open. If there was a husband, he would have closed the door behind me even if I forgot. I hoped these things didn’t occur to him. I hoped it was all just nonsense in my head.

The man was pacing a bit with his cigarette while I talked. He took a step closer. Perhaps it was nothing, perhaps his only intention was to move into the light, to make conversation easier. In any case he wasn’t close enough to reach me…

The tight feeling in my stomach may have been dead wrong, but it continued to tell me to get inside and away.

I kept my tone light, friendly, as I continued, “I told him I would only be a minute while I checked my email.” I glanced down at the device in my hand, which was starting to sweat in the warm damp air. The signal was too weak; it wasn’t finished, but I was. “All done, no crises for now,” I smiled cheerfully, but did not really look at him. “Well, goodnight … enjoy your vacation” I said, and went inside.

Though it probably wasn’t needed, I checked the lock. Twice.

Copyright © 2010


~ by lorakceel on May 22, 2010.

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