There is a story here and it is a good one.
It's about a hotel, in Mexico. And a girl, just barely 23. She was from Connecticut- raised on cable knit sweaters, kilts and country clubs. An honest-to-god graduate of charm school. A horse girl with straight hair and absurd cheekbones. You know the sort. Okay, stay with me now, this girl was my mom.
Destined to be the wife of a doctor lawyer engineer something something and that was that. But, she turned her life in another direction, it was the 1960s after all. She was hardly the first girl to think about Hare Krishna more than Harvard.
Which explains how she found herself alone, at 23, hitchhiking through Mexico. She planned to meet friends, but never found them. Rather than leave, she went on. Shortly after, her wallet and her passport were stolen and she was sleeping outside. (They say it was a different time.)
She was stupefied with youth, obviously, to not go back to Connecticut. But brave, too and she just wasn't ready to leave. She met strangers and they took her in. She slept on dirt floors, she lost weight and saw the sights. She stayed for weeks, then months, but couldn't go home until she made it to Uxmal.
Uxmal is a town, if you can call it that, in the Yucatan peninsula. There is no stoplight, there is no store. There is just a hotel and some ruins. People only go there for one reason and that, of course, is for the ruins. Thousand year old Mayan ruins in the middle of the jungle.
She hopped a bus and saw them. (They are glorious, I can attest.) At night she huddled at the bus stop, hoping for a ride deeper into the Yucatan but the bus never came. She made a nest in the jungle to sleep, but the mosquitoes weren't having it. She headed towards the only shelter around.
The hotel wasn't just a hotel. It was basically a palace, hosting that year both Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth. She didn't have money, she just wanted to tuck into a cabinet, a corner, a janitors closet- anything.
She was whittled down to not much more the then essentials- tanned skin, a pack full of dresses and a starving stomach. She walked in late and saw the front desk was empty. Deserted. Unwatched. Lonely except a long line of room keys. Unthinking and unplanned, she snatched one up and showed herself home.
For the next three days she stayed, sipping coffee and swimming laps. She cleaned up nice and didn't draw any notice. I mean, she was from Connecticut, she could behave herself if she needed to. She trespassed and then traveled on.
She had a birthday this winter, a big one. We took her back to Mexico for the first time in almost 40 years, to make reparations and celebrate her. We did it just the four of us and and this time, we paid.