It’s 4 in the morning. I can’t sleep.
I slide out of the bed trying to keep quiet so that I don’t wake Ale. As I pull on my jeans in the pre-morning darkness, I can hear her soft breathing as she turns over gently.
With the light from the bathroom slicing a narrow piece of the darkness away, I watch her sleep and I think how I’m the luckiest guy I know.
Heading into the kitchen, I fill the kettle with water and set it on the stove. The bluish flame of gas sputters to life and casts my shadow on the wall behind as I put the milk and sugar into the Hard Rock Cafe mug.
Watching the flame dance around the bottom, I think back to Clarksville and the day we got married.
Two things don’t seem possible. It’s already been five months since we stood in the circle and said our vows; surrounded by many Cherokee friends we made this commitment to love each other for “as long as the river flows and the wind blows”.
The second thing that doesn’t seem possible? I love her more today than I did that day we were wrapped in a single white blanket that signified our new life together.
Pouring the water into the cup, I grab a cigarette and head out to the balcony. From my favorite spot in the apartment, I can look down into the street and think and watch.
In this city of 12 million people, there is always someone or something to see from my vantage point in the trees.
A group of guys stands at the corner talking. A garbage truck rolls by. The doormen come out of their buildings to start their daily ritual of washing down the sidewalk. The fruit vendor is setting up his cart down the street to get ready for a busy Saturday.
I light the cigarette and sip the coffee. It’s nice out on the balcony. While the calendar says spring is almost here; in Argentina the seasons are reversed from America. Fall is a few days away and while there has been a chill in the air recently, this morning has set the thermostat just right.
My mind rolls back the miles that separate me from the USA. Although the oceans, wheat fields, mountains and junkyards come between me and many friends, I wonder how they are doing.
When all of my gear was stolen in February, friends from three continents pulled together to get me back up and running.
With a couple of folks who have tossed some dollars into the jar, I am expectant that a replacement laptop is just a couple of weeks away.
I will never be able to fully repay the kindness, love and generosity that I have received.
But I will try.