In Search of the Vagina Marimba
Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Mexico
March 19, 2000
I had no idea my husband’s fear of animals extended to goldfish! Well, I don’t know if those were actual goldfish we snorkeled with in the ocean, but they were small and smooth. Dave thought they
were attacking him. He also thought there might be a piranha in there by accident.
“But Dave,” I said, “piranhas are freshwater fish.”
“Still . . . ” he said. In Dave’s universe, the laws of nature are suspended if they get in the way of some secret force intending to harm him. A breeze rustles a palm leaf, and Dave says it’s the first sign of a monsoon. It’s a miracle that man ever leaves the house.
Tonight we attended a Caribbean dance festival. The men were husky and dark and very masculine, despite their fishnet bodysuits with big ruffles. They looked like they might take the ruffles off and beat you with them! The waiters ran around pouring baby bottles of tequila down the audience members’ throats and a group from Wisconsin got drunk and yelled about their hometown.
[The muscular rebels meet among ferns. A heavily-eyelinered lady walks in. ]
Lady: Hello, I’m a sexy beast.
We were watching a Mexican movie in our hotel room all I had to go on were the three Spanish words the snorkel guide taught me and the six I learned from Sesame Street. I made up the rest.
Dave wanted to have sex; I didn’t. I wanted to lay quietly and listen to Mexico to the ocean, to nothing, to tourists groaning with hangovers. Dave said when I (Lisa) want sex, I get it. I said, “Nuh-uh three nights in a row before we came here you stayed up late in the studio and left me with no sex.” Dave said he did that on purpose because he was tired of filling my requests all the time and me not filling his. I was shocked. “You’re a sex-withholder!” I cried, loud enough for other hotel guests to hear.
“It’s impossible to speak rationally with you,” Dave said, “because you’re deluded. I’ve realized it’s useless to talk to you at all.”
I grabbed my new Mexican blanket, told Dave he was full of shit and left to take a nap on the beach. The sky was red and juicy-looking. The shoosh of the waves was lovely, but I was afraid to sleep too deeply for fear of drowning.
In the morning, I was still not speaking to Dave. If it was so “useless” to talk with me, far be it from me to burden him with the effort.
“Do you want to go horseback riding?” he asked at the end of a mute (and disgusting) hotel breakfast. It was quite a peace offering: Dave would rather drown to death than mount a flared-nostril beast thrice his size. I love riding, and accepted his offer immediately. My loving ways toward my husband also returned immediately and completely. We ran up to the hotel room to do it. Dave was both extravagant and leisurely, but stopped whatever he was doing each time I was about to come. Finally, the best, richest orgasm in the world ever that anyone has ever had was coming. I tried to hide it, but my escalating “oh’s” broadcasted its approach. The guests who found out last night that Dave’s a sex-withholder were learning otherwise. I believed that, because Dave loves me, he would allow this wonderful orgasm. Plus he was so hard and quivery, it would have been to his own disadvantage to stop. My logic failed. He pulled out a millisecond before my ecstasy began its final tumult. I frantically put my hand down there to complete it myself, but I never was a hand-comer. Absolutely furious, I swore and beat him really hard. He laughed at my blows and came all over me. I told him he was sick and threw my suitcase at him. Then a plastic lawn chair. I panted, naked and dripping come, while Dave, trapped between the bed and the wall, cowered and tried to stop laughing. And then I didn’t care anymore I wanted to meet my horse.
We rode through the forest in the hot sun. Antonio, our guide, told us he is the youngest of eight brothers. He seemed thoughtful and preoccupied. He asked many questions about New Hampshire: population, industry, ethnicity, climate. In the last year, I’ve been to Sweden, Italy, New York, Florida. In the same year, Antonio has ridden this trail several times every day but Sunday, telling tourists the same stories and pointing out the same dragon butterflies. He has never been anywhere but the Yucatan, and probably never will. At the end of the trail, we met Antonio’s dog, who dragged his broken rear legs behind him. (He was hit by a car.) I asked why he hadn’t taken him to the vet. He explained it would be twenty-five dollars for the operation and twenty dollars a day while the vet monitored his recovery, up to fifteen days. Antonio could not pay this. “Most people put their pets to the death when they’re sick,” he said.
Dave and I decided to walk as far as we could. The men hanging out in the doorways wore different shades of “Used To Be” jeans and promotional T-shirts (like for Kentucky Fried Chicken) that used to be black or blue or green, but were now sun-sweat-dirt-dyed into one special Hardworking Man color. My father used to wear that color after he got out of prison and started a refrigerator repair business in Southern California. I miss being around him and his workers, squatting in the yard at coffee break, joking about veterans’ stumps and other inappropriate matters.
We watched a three-year-old boy crack an egg on his big brother’s head. “Aiii!” the big brother cried, and felt the back of his head. There was only shell it was a hollowed-out egg.
Back at our all-inclusive hotel, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” was still playing over the intercoms. In the pool we met a couple who went to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza yesterday. (We’re going tomorrow.) “We got it all on videotape tape,” they crowed. “And regular camera. We climbed all ninety-one steps to the top of Kukuklan! We got heatstroke!” About the ruins, they had nothing to say. They were yucky and boring. But then, holding his straw hat aloft, the man dipped under the water’s surface, sunglasses still on, in a movement so flawless it seemed almost not to happen at all. An old man hobbled by on a cane, equally effortlessly from the waist up, he appeared to be riding an escalator and a single bird moved across the entire sky without flapping his wings once. The American was still underwater; his wife, on a stone chaise one inch below the water’s surface, tilted her head back. Under this sun, anything is beautiful.
Today we hired a guide to show us Mayan ruins. No one warned us that once we went inside the temple, the only way out was up. We had to climb the stairs with thirty German and American tourists at our backs. The stairs and walls and the air itself were slimy. The passageway was made for people half our size. At the top we came upon a two-thousand-year-old carved jaguar with pieces of jade for eyes, locked in a cage in the shadows. It was difficult to breathe. A German elbowed my thigh.
We saw the very first marimba it was made out of giant stone penises. That made me mad. Why is everything penis-this and penis-that? Where’s the giant vagina marimba?
Our guide explained a Mayan game that used to be played where we were standing. There were stone hoops on either side, two stories up. You could only hit the ball with knees, hips or elbows. The game started when the sun came through the first hoop at dawn, and ended when the sun had gone through its thirteen stages (representing the thirteen gods of light) and passed through the second hoop at sunset. The captain of the losing team was decapitated. It was a sacred game, and to die in this manner was considered an honor.
Dave muttered that he doubted they knew anything about what really happened. If someone else had said that, I’d think, Hmm? then think about something else. With Dave, though, I was seething. It is scarcely believable how deeply and constantly irritated I am by my spouse. He thinks he’s so sly, not trusting hieroglyphics and anthropologists, yet he’ll watch a Ripley’s Believe It or Not on ghosts grown men walking around an attic with things that look like metal detectors saying “Yes, it’s definitely cold in this spot,” and he thinks that’s all true. I wonder if everything he says is just to drive me insane. How could I concentrate on the fascinating stories the guide was telling us when I’m married to a thorn in my side?
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.