This island is inviting and friendly for the most part, except for the intersection between gringos and their almighty dollar. Cozumel’s main economy is based off of the tourism dollar. Massive cruise ships sail in, dock, followed by hundreds of “Cruisers” disembarking littering the seashore with their colorful clothing and loud voices for just a few hours. Vistors from the ships sample the island for a half day, experience a fractured reality, fill up with margaritas and nachos then set out to buy colorful plastic key chains shaped like monkeys, coconuts and palm trees. The“Cruisers” are not granted humanity by the locals, rather are viewed as bread and butter that equate to a few needed pesos in their local pockets. Here, people see people not as people, rather as profit. Guess that’s not a new concept but having the opportunity to observe it from an outsiders perspective is pretty interesting.
It was a beautiful hot evening on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. Miro and I were walking from the little studio apartment we were staying at which was tucked deep into the local residential area, just outside the tourist zone. As Miro and I walked through the tiny streets lined with houses that shared common walls. We were entranced with different facades on each of the dwellings, sounds of music coming through the doors and movement of adults and children alike as evenings clearly indicated it was a time for family. The open doors invited us to experience the scents of that evening’s meal and offered a glimpse into the lives of it’s inhabitants. We saw people sitting on hammocks in their living rooms, watching TVs , children playing jacks on the stoop, and teenagers chatting on the phone.
We come upon a small gated porch as the front entrance to one of the house. It was no more than 2 feet deep and no wider than 6 feet. In the center of the porch was an alter with burning candles, personal trinkets and old photographs of an woman in varying stages of her life. Miro and I stopped to look at the alter. I told him this must be an honoring for a person who must have recently died. Then from the dark corner of the patio, a man stood up and grabbed my hand with immediacy, with his frail wrinkled hand.
He looked so deep into my eyes, he touched my soul.
We held hands for a very long moment, our eyes locked on each others. I felt in love for that moment. I experienced a deep, un-needing love full of gratitude which warmed my body, warmed my heart.
We kept our gaze on each other and for that space of time, we authentically connected in a moment of true humanity.
I fell in love.
Rather I felt love for another human being without needing anything, without expectations, without a story. I felt love in an instant, for an instant and it was pure, exceptional love that is easily accessible but apparently I don’t access all that often. But it was there, on the surface, open and joyful.