Zaman being perfectly lazy
small mosquito buzzes up to my ear and wakes me from my light sleep.
The hammock had two other people on it. One is asleep; and the other
I cannot tell. The wind coming off the lake is starting to chill
so I reposition the blanket over my feet. The sun has set, the dogs
have stopped barking and in the distance, I can hear Cuban music
playing in the cabin. God bless Gen.
"The corn needs to be shucked," one of my hammock-mates
We sit and ponder some more.
Finally, the three
of us roll out of our bed onto a carpet of grass, soaked with Hard Lemonade.
One veers off shakily towards the stone path. The other lingers behind,
putting her sandals on slowly, fault of getting them on her wrong feet.
I careen from tree to tree to volleyball net to steps to Citronella-candled
deck to screen-door and finally to cushy chair.
Gen is salsaing with Hannah, a borrowed baby, to Ibrahim Ferrer. Unshackled
parents hold hands romantically. Passed-out girl in tangerine shirt
twitches her toes in her foggy dreams of mundane workdays and traffic
along the 101.
I notice she wakes up, realizes where she is, and smiles.
A hustle bustle enters the kitchen area of the cabin in the form of
six hands, willing to marinate, toss, and shuck. Instructions are exchanged
in an explanatory tone. The commotion increases. Its natural. Thirty
mouths need to be fed. I cower in my chair and hope I dont get
called on. Its like business school all over again when I hadnt
read the case.
The work starts getting done. Spoken words subside as everyone seems
to know what to do. One cutter of vegetables rocks her knees as she
slices and dices to the plaintive tones of Buena Vista Social Club.
A margarita is conceived as an idea. Shared with the group, she says,
"If I were to make frozen margaritas, how many people would have
one?" Hands are shown. Writing away, I dont bother lifting
a finger even though Im thirsty. I figure in this house of hospitality,
someone somewhere will find a way to get a beverage by my side. A member
of the family is summoned to find kitchen accoutrements. A Trivial Pursuit
box is opened, a few questions asked to the crowd, and the game is put
aside in favour of a little dance. Three women and one sprightly young
man lambada up and down the blue carpet.
Again, I want to join but Im too lazy to get up. A camera is brought
in and a couple of not-really-candid-but-not-posy-either shots are taken
with flashes illuminating the room in a strangely apt strobelight kind
of way. A couple coyly kiss, their snatched moment missed by Kodak.
Peoples hair has that often-wet, often-dried look that one can only
achieve on vacation. Carefree glamour. Unstudied elegance. "The
marketing people would eat this up for a Nautica ad," someone says.
A screen door is opened and Sue announces, "Does anyone want to
claim these?" Her arms are full of towels, tee-shirts, and tube
tops; some wet, some wind-dried. They are placed on the floor like hockey
sticks on the ice before a pickup game.
"Fred will be ready in ten minutes," the barbeque chef announces,
sans hat, but with aplomb. The sleepy air of the late afternoon has
given way to the excitement of the evening, the anticipation of shared
food, and the certainty of unpredictable fun.
A Scottish impersonation can be heard. "My voice is gone. I dont
know why?" Gen tells her sis. "Its not as though we were yelling
like belligerent drunks." Tom walks in with his Dennis-the-Menace
crossed with Winnie-the-Pooh swagger, and asks, "Who here is good
at math?" Cautiously, a few hands are raised and lowered as they
wonder what hes up to.
"You, Abby?" She nods no.
"Kim?" Another no. Finally, a relative newcomer obliges and
Tom finishes his ruse, "How many Sea Breezes do I have in my hand?"
His hand is held out like the cupholder in his Saab and the newbie gets
up and starts mixing drinks amidst a gaggle of giggles.
In the meantime, Tom takes his sister-in-law in his arms and proceeds
I can feel my hunger grow but my hope is that dinner isnt quite
ready, so much am I enjoying this moment.
© Zia Zaman
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