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Grapevine : June 2011
PARADISE LOST I was only two months sober when I took a vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico. arriving sober with my husband felt like walking onto the wrong movie set. I remem- bered this club from my single, drinking days, back when I was the only topless female on the beach during the day, and making my rounds with the club staff at night. Now I was married, newly sober and anything but comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the garments covering it. as we stepped off the bus from the long journey, the heat drummed my head and congested my lungs. I squinted and tried not to dwell on the fact that I would be liv- ing in this inferno for the next seven days and nights. some pretty young girls in bikini tops and sarongs head- ed our way with trays of ice cold mar- garitas. “ welcome señor, welcome se- ñora, señorita.” I scanned the trays for a soda or lemonade, finding none. The other guests laughed, rais- ing their glasses as I took the last few sips from the warm water bottle in my tote bag. I looked around at the buildings and saw huge lizards and bugs scut- tling across walls and doorways, slip- ping in and out of crevices. I imag- ined what it would be like trying to sleep at night, thinking about the crawling things. My husband tried to chat up one of the margarita girls while I fumbled for a cigarette and lit it after several tries. My husband glanced back with a flicker of disgust. I shot back with the Ice Queen look, which didn’t seem to have its desired impact. we checked in. I began unpack- ing, complaining about the taxi, the flight, the bus, the lack of diet soda and lemonade, the mildew smell in the room, the insects and the wel- come-tarts. My husband instinctively began looking for the remote control. I realized I was having one of those I-have-to-leave-right-now moments, so I announced that I would be tak- ing a walk. I splashed some water on myself, changed into my respectable- married-woman resort-wear, put on my don’t-even-think-of–talking-to-me- sunglasses, and out I went. slammed again by the heat, I momentarily debated waiting until later in the day to take this walk, but my feet were already moving. I was on a mission to walk my way out of my irritability and discontent. The path opened up onto views of the sea, sand, palms and pools, but my mind flipped past them as if they were phony airline advertisements. It all seemed so staged to me, this piña colada paradise was all about party- ing and drinking. There was nothing here for me, but I kept walking, all the way to the end of the property and back. The heat had managed to beat some of the anger out of me and, although I was not happy, I felt aagrapevine.org 25 GRAPE_24-28.indd 25 4/29/11 6:54 PM