I'm told it's an eminently useful tool in keeping followers in touch, and I believe it is. But what if my silences are just as important as what I have to say? Take fruit cake for instance, no one questions that it has to sit there for a while, marinating in rum or brandy or whatever liqueur it is that's meant to make it a masterpiece.
My mother used to make fruit cake in August so it would be ready by December, and opening the fridge we all teetered at the promise each well-wrapped lump of foil would later yield. The indescribable satisfaction of nut, fruit and dark cake, moistly infused with brandy, which was her choice of alcohol, all of which we could only enjoy when the holidays were finally upon us.
In her country, fruit cake was also the traditional wedding cake. Surprising I know, considering how we now associate wedding cake with the fluffy, creamed sponge tiers of sugar nothings majestically decorated in full bridal regalia. A recipe that's statistically telling. But yes, aside from Christmas, fruit cake was reserved for the day a marriage was sanctified. Apt I guess, because of the time it requires to gel, to finally make sense so to speak. Eating my mother's fruit cake was also one of the few occasions I could taste alcohol without getting ill and embarrassing myself publicly. Well, not so much myself as others, I usually don't remember much after I'm sick from it, being unable to ingest it uncooked.
It was just a place I vaguely knew held something interesting as all places of history and nature do, but I had discounted to my great benefit, the emotional charge it held. Or maybe I didn't. Maybe all this time, I'd happily consigned it to the bottom of the list knowing somehow it would have roads that turned inwards, and places I'd previously visited in both dreams and memories. Or that it would bring so much to the word, Mother.
Walking in the humid air of Chichen with my sister, I felt none of that. We were too intent soaking up the history, the Lovely Libran took photographs while I for my part, could hardly make eye contact with cheeky Mayan vendors who lobbed numerous compliments at me with daring frequency. "Wow, you sure are popular here," the Lovely Libran drawled, "You must be like their feminine ideal."
Being mistaken as two friends rather than sisters was a joke we'd dealt with most of our lives, but it seemed more pronounced here. Even more so as we went through military check points and the policia militar found it necessary to verify the relationship with a stern review of our documents.
It was peaceful in Chichen Itza, the drive there had been through flatlands of jungle but it wasn't till we walked through it that we sensed the quiet of that country. The land had an aura of persistent innocence despite its age and its sorrows. These long abandoned, stone structures worn by the sun, time and use had endured, yet remained freshened by the green ever growth. We smiled at the Mayans who greeted us, their profiles unvaried from centuries old pictographs we'd seen. The day had left us dusty and hot, satisfyingly tired. We pressed on aware of darkness falling faster than we anticipated, alert to the fact that this was still Mexico, essentially foreign yet we were both strangely filled with a sense of something familiar.
We knew what it was. It was the wild and the free dominated as a colony. We were raised in one too, with the Church and Mother Spain. But really all through out, from the language to the stretches of green, to the embroidery decorating the native huipil dresses, to the food we had thus far enjoyed, it all echoed one word. Mother. Over and over.