The dust settles around us and it grows quiet; I only can hear the ticking of the hot engine cooling down. “What did you just say?”, asks my husband. “You want to go back…forget all that we’ve wanted of this experience?”. I feel shameful and my face is flushed as I look at myself in the rearview mirror. “I can’t do this”, I whisper. More minutes slip by and he’s not uttered a sound. He’s thinking. I know him well. A deep sigh escapes his lips as he turns to me, taking my hand into his. ” Please” is all he says. A simple word that can be read so many ways. Again, I know this man so well. It is hard for him to put his feelings into flowery sentences, he typically finds other ways to say his wants. “Lets take it a day at a time. If at the end it’s not what we think it should be, we’ll return home”. I sit and ponder on this request. Up until now it seemed like such an enchanting plan yet in the moment we crossed over that hill and into the sight of that battered white sign proclaiming we were at the Tropic of Cancer, my balloon deflated. Anxiety and fear were knocking at my hearts door and a feeling of no return hit me hard. He is right and I know it. To make a U-turn right then and there would be the chicken way out. To never see what is on the downward side of the Tropic of Cancer would be cheating both of us of not ever knowing what could have been or would have been.
I look down at our entwined fingers and know the response I will give. I look over at him and give him a feeble smile. I still feel shaken but willing to go on ahead and take it a day at a time. “Ok, but you drive. I need to take a photograph of that sign back there”.
This story is patterned after a Journal I kept for 9 days while traveling through Mexico to our island destination of Ambergris Caye, Belize. A bit of fiction but a whole lot of truth is written here.