Rubbing the sleep from my eyes and finger-brushing stray hairs away from my face, I took a deep breath in to the now too familiar smell of manure and the brisk morning breeze doing it’s routine dance that took advantage of my loose fitting pyjamas and tickled the hairs on my arm. I looked at my surroundings, the sky still had its usual bleak, greyness and ahead the silhouette of meandering lines framing the infinite mountains in the distance, almost as if an artist in his most beautiful melancholic, depression had painted. A painting that made you feel it’s desolation.
Pablo was seated where he had been for the past 3 mornings. Face wrinkled with fierce engagement staring into his own canvas; where he’d been painting his own vision for this parched land. La Florida, Peru.
He was well travelled, spoke 4 different languages and yet — I’d wondered everyday — why he decided to come back and stay in this barren land of solitude and simplicity. Having only shades of brown and grey to greet him each morning. He had told stories of his accounts around the world; enthralling, deep, menacing tales that left me wide eyed and always wanting to know more each time he told them. His voice quickened and his breath stalled when he spoke, his fervour radiating.
‘So then why, why did you come back to La Florida?’, hoping for some philosophical insight into his return; what he replied with was something I was not expecting, ‘Hope made me return’ he chuckled. The inquisition began. It made so much sense, of course, for someone to return for love. I’d continue to coax Pablo into introducing me to Hope. I wanted to meet her, to see for myself the beauty that enticed Pablo back. Everyone I spoke with concurred. Hope was a beauty, she’d inspired Pablo’s vision.
That morning I awoke with a yearning for answers. I needed to see for myself why, in this place -with land so infertile that nothing aspired to grow out of it — would there be such a great ‘vision’ to be had?
I opened the bedroom door, the usual clouds hovering above. I looked over to Pablo but he wasn’t there. That’s when I saw her. Hope. Etched into the canvas Pablo fondled over everyday. Next to the paintings of shrubbery, trees and a small flowing river from the mountain top. I stared at it in awe ‘Monte de esperansa’ (Mountain of hope). It was my morning view with vivid colour and soul. A painting I felt — I felt Pablo’s hope I had been searching so hard to find. And right there — next to Hope — a small green plant that contradicted the infertile grounds, dancing with the brisk morning breeze.