“Do you remember our camping trip to La Tigre?” Claudia asked. “Want to go back up there?”
I admit I didn’t have the foggiest idea what she was talking about. A camping trip? With Claudia?
“We went camping one night,” she told me. “It was going to be just you and me – but Lalo [Claudia’s little brother] wanted to come at the last minute, so he came too. We didn’t have a sleeping bag for him, so he and I shared the one. Remember? It was just us three – the only time I’ve been camping in my life!”
The memories are slowly returning as Claudia tells me about all the stuff we used to do. How could I have forgotten so much?
“Remember about the fish soup?”
“Yeah – my mom says she’ll have lots of fish soup ready for you when you get to Choluteca!”
Oh gads! How could I have forgotten the fish?
I used to leave Choluteca every weekend. Every single Friday I was on the 3:00 bus out of town. My backpack was packed and all I had to do was leave school, drop by the house to get my backpack, and I was off! Except during Lent. Then I left on the 11:00 bus.
I discovered real quick that Gloria made the most disgusting – the most vile – soup on Earth every Friday during Lent. Using some dried fish cakes or some such thing, she made soup for lunch. And I hated it. I quickly figured out that I could escape eating it if I took the 11:00 bus out of town. Any excuse was good enough.
“I need to visit the Peace Corps nurse,” I would say. “I’ll have to leave school early.”
“I’ve got a package waiting for me in Teguc. I’ve got to leave early to get up there to get it out.”
“I need to get to Teguc early to buy toilet paper,” I might say. “I need to leave school early.”
Each and every Friday during Lent I made up every excuse under the sun in order to get out of eating Gloria’s vile fish soup. But I couldn’t tell her I didn’t like it.
And so it went for two years. Just before I left the country, I told Gloria about my dislike for the soup.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe you didn’t say anything!”
I can just see the sparkle in her eye as she threatens to make fish soup for me 22 years later…
Claudia and I spent the day reminiscing about all kinds of things – it truly is amazing how much one can forget in 22 years. And then there’s the little fact that Claudia – being 13 and 14 years old when I was here – remembers completely different things than I do.
“Nancy! Do you remember….?”