At the end of school my parents take us to La Herradura for the summer. La Herradura is on the coast, North of Santiago. We have a cabin by the ocean. I look forward to summers at La Herradura.
Mom, Carmen and Dad pack both cars with everything we need for the summer. Carmen, my nanny, patiently does what she is told. Carmen has prepared boiled eggs, chicken, bread, thermoses with tea and cold beverages and other goodies to eat in the trip. Hot and cold flashes run over the back of my head, my jaw clenches listening to the constant debate about what we are taking and what doesn’t fit in the car.
At last the cars are ready and we take off in a convoy in the dark of the early morning. Dad and Carmen in one car, Mom and me in the other. There is barely enough room for me in the car. After a while, my Mom remembers that she forgot something. We turn around, this adds more tension to the trip. It’s getting late.
I always think that if we run into problems at the beginning of the trip the rest is going to be just fine. The sun came up, my belly felt empty.
“I’m hungry Mom”
“Get something from the picnic basket, Teddy.” Said my Mom with her eyes on the road.
I look inside the basket for something yummy.
The smell of the chicken, the eggs and the hot bread transported me to unforgettable picnics at the beach. I eat a boiled egg with bread and grabbed a bottle of water.
As we drive North, the trees started to disappear, the colors changed from green to brown, the landscape turned into dry slopes with few dried bushes. The particular smell coming from the picnic basket, the heated plastic dash and the monotonous sound of road got me sleepy. Mom didn’t talk much, the trip was boring. We stopped for lunch and bathroom breaks. Finally after most of the day travelling we arrived to La Herradura.
The Bay from the top of the hill looked calm, one freight liner, the dock and the town were a familiar picture. As soon as we stopped at home, I jumped down to open the garage door, I stretched my arms and legs and hold a big breath of fresh air. After so many hours in the small place, I ran around, smile and explore what was new. Look around for my friends from the back, enjoying the fresh marine breeze and the fresh smells from plans, dust and eucalyptus trees from the backyard. Mom, Dad and Carmen were busy unloading the cars.
The house smelled so good. I have missed the smell of the thick curtains, the dry wood, the dust, the smell of the enclosure, the sweet metallic smell from the bathroom and Dad’s shaving cream. Everything was so familiar.
Last summer auntie Dolly taught me how to swim. She took me where I couldn’t reach the bottom and said.
“Teddy, just swim out honey, you can do it.” And she let me go. I moved my hands and legs as fast as I could until I reach the bottom. She made me tried again and again until I was good at it. From there on I became a fish, I imitate my sisters. It worked well.
I can’t remember how old I was then. The tradition was to swim to the boat and bring it to shore. That year it was my turn, was super excited. It was a challenge. I was looking forward to it. My sisters would often talk about this during lunch time. Dad showed me how to let go the anchor and how to set up the oars and made me row. The oars were really heavy.
After few days, my Dad told me.
“Tomorrow you will swim and get the boat.”
I got the shivers.
“Be careful not to drop them in the water.” He said
That night I couldn’t sleep with the anticipation. I dream about swimming far to get the boat and then rowing it on my own. I felt big, responsible, the owner of the universe.
The next morning I needed to pi more often than ever. I don’t recall what happen until I was swimming. The water was green that morning, there was a gentle breeze. I swim stroke, it felt an eternity to get to the boat. I took the last pi before climbing. Once on the boat, I looked to shore. I could see my Dad and my sisters watching me not that far. I release the anchor and set the oars. I heard my Dad’s voice.
“Well done Teddy!” The wind had brought me to shore. I didn’t have to row.
Thinking backwards, my father knew about it. It was all safe.