Monday, May 30, 2011


Pete stood in the market, staring at a shelf of unfamiliar but discernible items, studying the products for clues. "What is that..." he mumbled to himself "Olives, pickels, corn...whoa is that asparagus, white asparagus? How´d they get the color out of that? Must be pickled." He walked slowly down each aisle like a person in a new world.

At checkout the cashier turned the little LCD monitor toward Pete as she gave him the total in Spanish. Pete was clearly a foreigner. He squinted his eyes and pulled out a handful of euro coins from his pocket, which had been accumulating at a fast rate. "Here I got too many of these coins. I keep handing ya´ll bills and ya give me back coins. See, where I´m from it stops at 25 cents. You can only get dollar coins at banks. I know ´cause I collect them." Pete left the supermarket with a bag of spaghetti, tomato sauce in little cardboard carton, and a package of hotdogs.

He timidily walked into the hostel kitchen, which was packed with women in their late 60´s cooking dinner. Pete politely reached beside these women who were blocking the drawers. "Um...hi...can I just-"
"Oh, si, si" the lady stepped back, bending her body aside.
Pete pulled drawer after drawer learning the new kitchen.

When Pete was a kid his father used to take him camping. His sisters were not interested in the outdoors in that way, and even if they were, his father wouldn´t have taken them. Camping was a man´s activity; a way to reconnect to one´s true being, a master over nature. On these trips Pete´s father would bring a cans of baked beans and a bag of hot dogs as backup in case no fish could be caught and no small game felled.

Pete sat at the large dinning table enjoying his hotdogs sliced into his spaghetti, and thought about those nights in front of the fire with his Dad. He watched from the end of the table as the older women sat down with their plates. "Bon appetit!" one said to him.
"Bone Appa-teet!" he replied.

After dinner pete took out a postcard of a map of Spain with the route drawn in red and pictures of the things you´re supposed to see. He wrote:

Dear Ma,

How are you? I am fine. I know you think I´m crazy to be walking across Spain, but I think Dad would be proud. I took Cody´s boots from Becky´s house. She didn´t want me taking them to Spain, so I snuck into her house in the middle of the night and took them from the war memorial bedroom. I know Cody would have wanted me to wear them, so I am. I think if the lord didn´t want me wearing Cody´s boots he would have locked Becky´s front door that night.

I´ve made a lot of friends here already, a lady from Spain, a real skinny man from Germany, and a lady from Canada (I only know that because she had a Canadian flag on her backpack). Not too many people speak english over here even though it´s supposed be the international language. I´m still getting along though.

How´s the farm? Did Billy get the corn in yet? I think he´s a real son of a bitch, but if Amy wants to marry him then who knows? Any news from Carla or Jane? Okay, time to go to bed. They turn the lights off here at 10p.


Pete slurped up the spit from the end of his mini-mag lite, which he held in his teeth as he wrote. He scooted the rest of his body into his sleeping bag and twisted around to find a comfortable position. Pete finally settled on his back after a full 360, inadvertantly turning the sleeping bag upside down so the bib covered his face. Pete fell asleep within a few minutes like an exhausted toddler. He snored deeply through the back of his throat with his tongue nearly choking him after each inhalation. This was normal for Pete.

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