Yesterday’s watermelon story made me want more watermelon today, so I went back to the market and brought some with me to work. Just as delicious as yesterday! Eating it made me think of other watermelon stories. I guess when you eat as much of the stuff as I do, you’re bound to rack up a few tales? I decided to share another one tonight, a not-at-all-ugly one.
A couple of years ago, I took myself to Mexico for a writing retreat. I rented an apartment on Flipkey, and off I went. I wanted someplace quiet and pretty where I could write and write all morning and then go to the beach in the afternoon. Tulum is definitely the perfect place to be that place. Its beaches are … beyond. I’ve been there twice, and I still can’t quite believe those beaches are real.
The apartment I rented was lovely, with a sweet and sunny kitchen for me to write in … and write I did. My beach-in-the-afternoons plan was a complete bust. I spent all day every day writing. It was amazing. I did make it to the beach twice, and that was great, but twice in two weeks is … well, kind of a fail!
In any case, none of that is the point. Watermelon is the point. Because I was renting an apartment, I was responsible for getting and fixing my own food. My first afternoon in town, I took a cab to Chedraui to pick up groceries. Chedraui is ginormous and I was a little overwhelmed trying to find my way through the department store to the groceries, and then trying to make choices about what to buy. I put a few things in my cart — eggs, cheese, some tortillas — but mostly I was wandering like a lost soul … until I got to the produce section and saw that they had “normal” watermelons, the kind I like best, the kind from my childhood: big, heavy, oblong ones, seeded ones. They always taste better than the seedless kind, in my opinion.
I brought a watermelon home and thoroughly enjoyed it over the next couple of days. Then I went back for another. And then another after that.
About a week into my stay, I got an email from the woman whose apartment I was renting. She was in Sweden while I was in Tulum, so we never got the chance to meet. But her caretaker had done just that, taken care of me. The owner’s email was very brief: Are you okay? Magda [caretaker] is very worried about you. She says you never leave the house and that all you eat is watermelon. If you need a doctor, she can call one for you.”
Sweet, conscientious Magda couldn’t make any sense of me. I’d come to a town with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world … and I stayed indoors eating watermelon all day? Clearly I needed medical attention!
It’s fitting that watermelon has me thinking about my Tulum retreat. Tonight I put my money down for a group retreat at the end of the month. I’ll be joining a bunch of writers from VONA and heading up to … I don’t know, somewhere north of here where there will be a working farm with a big house we’ll be staying and writing in. I’m looking forward to the writing, but also to the chance to soak up some of the power and love that is VONA.
Today was a long, difficult day, but ending it with a VONA retreat to look forward to is a nice, soft landing.
* Because I think I’m clever. “Sandía” is watermelon in Spanish.
It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by the wonderful people over at Two Writing Teachers! Every day this month, hundreds of writers will be posting their stories. Head on over and check out the other slices!