By Tyler Moore
There comes a time in some relationships when you realize that you should have just moved on a long time ago. Dangling from a rock face thirty feet above a jagged reef in nothing but your boxer shorts, I believe is one of those. But, hey, that’s just me. At this point somebody else might still hang onto the idea of true love and the idea that forgiveness is the corner stone of any loving relationship, but right now I kind of have my hands full, literally.
There were so many red flags. I should have seen it coming. She ate in bed, she left wet towels on the floor, she drugged me and left me for dead in the middle of the jungle. Minor things, really. But they all add up. It’s funny how running for your life half naked through dense foliage can bring about clarity. Personally, I would rather have just seen a shrink or read a self-help book, but hey, better to find out now than ten years from now. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? I’ll have to thank her for that once I get off this cliff and wring her neck.
In all fairness, we did have some good times. I mean, before the whole drugging thing, and being dragged behind a jeep at a high rate of speed and being left sans pants in an abandoned guerilla detention center. So it wasn’t a complete loss. I guess I’m maturing. Before, I would have blamed her for everything, cut all of my ties with her, and bad-mouthed her in front of our mutual friends. Basically I would not have taken any responsibility for my actions and deflected all of the issues that I had onto her. But now I feel that I can truly own my faults. I know where I have gone wrong. I know where I could have been a better friend and companion. I still don’t think that having my passport torn up and drugs planted on me before attempting to cross the border into Panama was a fair response to me forgetting to pack her hair dryer, but some people just handle things differently. Who am I to judge? In her defense she did take the bullets out of the gun so that when they found me, and I had to make a run for it, I couldn’t hurt anybody. I still don’t know how she got a gun, we were only in Colombia a week, but hey, she always was resourceful.
What am I thinking? I need to start thinking about the bad stuff, like the leeches she planted in our hotel bathtub, or the glaring fact that my forearms are getting tired and I have the police hunting me for supposedly robbing a church for the blind.
Still, I think back to when we first met. She was beautiful. We were at a cocktail party, a political fundraiser for The Tundric Newt. I bought her a Mojito and as I handed it to her I intentionally pronounced it Mo-gy-to. That was the extent of my ability to be clever at that point. Apparently it had worked. During the senator’s speech we snuck away and made sweet romantic love in the handicaped stall of the men’s room at the Biltmore. Later that night she went home with one of the busboys, but she called me a week later. I remember the phone call. She thought I was the “guy from the elevator.” She had been cleaning out her purse and found my phone number. I set up a date for coffee and the rest is history.
We had come to Colombia to celebrate our six-month anniversary. I had wanted to go to Hawaii or Fiji, but she had insisted on Bogota. Another red flag. I think that when it comes to compatibility in relationships where you want to spend your vacations should say a lot. For example, do you want to go someplace where you can scuba dive and drink Mai Tai’s? Or would you rather go someplace where kidnapping is a government sanctioned sport? On the same token, would you rather buy papayas and coconuts from flower laden street vendors, or dodge rocks and beer bottles from ether sniffing street urchins? To me it just makes sense. But hey, she is strong willed and I respect her for that. I want you to know I have nothing against Bogota or the people of Colombia. Colombia is a beautiful country, as I can attest from running through it all night, and it may seem like a relatively safe place to a guy from, let’s say, Calcutta, India. It’s just not the safest place for a guy from Calcutta, Ohio. But I have to say that Bogota and my hometown do share some similarities that have made it a little easier to adjust. For example, Colombia has over 400 different species of poisonous snakes. Ohio has three. Colombia exports about 550 metric tons of cocaine to the US a year. I’ve seen cocaine. Colombia is the home of FARC-EP, the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia, a Marxist-Leninist guerilla organization which employees such tactics as bombings, assassination, extortion, and hijacking to intimidate the Colombian government. Last year our volunteer fire department beat the chamber of commerce in a charity softball tournament. So as you can see, we are not all that different.
It’s funny, one time she drove a bus for the Special Olympics, and I thought, “wow” this girl is perfect. But then I found out she had been drinking Robitussin and popping Quaaludes for the past four days and had kicked the blind shot-puter off the bus and made him hitchhike to the venue. Not appropriate, right? That’s what I thought, but…in her defense it was St. Patrick’s Day. Who doesn’t get a little rowdy on the “Mighty 17th?” I mean she is Ukrainian, but everybody is Irish on that day. I know I’m Mexican on Cinco de Mayo.
Anyway, she had left me in a Papillion-esque cell in the middle of the jungle. So, meanwhile, I had made friends with a tarantula named “Action” and a pack of noncommittal roaches, “The Sharks,” who seemed to respond whenever I whistled or snapped. I messed with my duct tapped wrists and I got free. I was hungry but my plate of Medellin dung beetles made me puke on my feet. I didn’t think about the cushy sensation between my toes as I jumped for the bars overhead that offered the only light into my cell. They gave way like a guilt ridden Hassid against a blond haired Shiksa. I used my anti-posturepedic bed to launch myself up into the windowsill and worm my way out.
Jungle. Love it! Wet, open, free…snake, to my left. I held still. It passed. I made a mental note to jot this moment down in my journal so I could be cool for my kids if I had them. Then gun shots. As if I hadn’t had enough. I thought about my love. I thought about blankets on sandy beaches close to civilization, I thought about ice cream cones and late night movies. Then I thought about Garl Tannon, the tight end, and my girlfriend, (well not technically, because at the time we had only been seeing each other for four months) running “plays” in the back seat of her father’s Peugeot. So I ran.
A one-eyed jeep fixed it’s high beam on me, so I dove into a patch of mud. That’s when I thought about ditching the undies. The rain came down in wet brail. I Shawshanked it. I ran where the path lead me, like Jack T. Colton, without a machete. That’s when I slipped, grabbed with my left arm and simultaneously saved my life.
Now, I wish I had gone with Cindy Lausdenburg, the girl from middle school that had braces and a lame hip, but who ended up a reality television supermodel. I’ll bet her boyfriend hasn’t ended up on a cliff in a third world country.
The last blood that I have in my body is being diverted to my forearms and fingertips. I’m thinking right now that I might be able to pull a Greg Lougains/cliff diver maneuver and miss the rocks. I wish I had love. Love could save me. That or Pink Floyd’s flying pig.
A rope drops down next to me. I can’t look up, but I recognize the voice that comes with it. It’s the leach dropping, jeep dragging, in front of the family emasculating, Colombian sympathizing, “Goonies” hating, looks good in a dress, kisses me like I’m her king, cooks me dinner, massages my feet, does my taxes, searches out movie nights, and has the plane tickets girl.
I test the rope. It holds. I wrap it around my elbows and wrists and find footholds. I get to the top. We kiss. We embrace as if we were the only two people in the world. I take her hand in mine. We look deeply into each other’s eyes… and then I throw her off the cliff. I think I’ll find my own way home.