Today’s prompt continues with the POV exploration: third person omniscient. Click to read first person, second person, and third person limited versions. Today is the last day of the challenge where I don’t also have a job, so wish me luck finding time to keep working on these!
The two women checked with the guard for when the last bus left. Last bus was a bit of a misnomer. There was one bus back at one time on Sundays. Sundays should be spent at home with family, but tourist dollars were worth small compromises.
One group of tourists broke off and went to the overlook first, but most headed to escape the summer heat with a swim. The scene was typical. Boys running around, risking their necks for smiles from uninterested, but polite women. Women whispering and laughing about how ridiculous the boys were, but letting those laughs look like encouragement.
Central America quickly had softened each of them. It was the rare urban tourist that did not find themselves changed by every person looking them in the eyes and telling them good morning, afternoon, or evening in a manner that seemed to actually care about their well-being. Such small things awakening cravings unfulfilled in cities of anonymous millions.
The women swam, chatted, and flirted, before deciding it was time for a snack and then maybe a climb to check out the overhang. Homegrown avocado and homemade tortillas probably were too many of their meals, but they could worry about nutrition when they got back to their real lives, although they pushed thoughts of home away. They could think about that later.
They had a good hour left. The chill of the air on their swim-cooled skin made the decision to make the climb; sweating and exercise could warm them up. At the top, they cooed with the birds. Everywhere was green and just unabashedly alive. They sit, not wanting to leave, but the sounds from below make it clear the others are packing up. The bus arrives at the gate as the ginger whispers, “Even if we miss the bus, this was worth it.”
The climb down takes nearly as long as going up. One of them is good one way, the other good the other, and no one gets left behind. The step off the path finally. Around the bend and out of the trees, the bus pulls away. All the bags were gone from the deck area, so everyone was loaded. The women should have risked their stuff getting stolen just this one time.
They rush to the gate when the scene empty of bus and other people hits them. The guard, looking entirely too unconcerned for their American taste, tells them they can try to catch it at the next stop down the road. They take off running. The marathoner paces the cyclist until she yells to just get there and make the bus wait for her! The bus, though, had no one to pick up and did not even stop on its way back to town.
At the intersection of what should be the bus stop, the marathoner stops, looks expectantly around, and curses a blue streak into the sky. She walks back over the grey, wooden bridge to meet the cyclist. The latter’s breathing is wrong. She is sucking in too little air too often; her face is too red, even for a ginger. Neither of them have any water. They finished it figuring they could pick up another bottle once back in town. No one planned to be stuck in the backroads of Guatemala.
They start walking a New Yorker’s pace, intent on getting back to town before sundown. The town is too far, and even at that punishing pace, they would never make it. Doing something, though, tends to feel better than doing nothing, so they keep moving. Maybe they can find a house or catch a car on the road that would take them back. Everyone hitchhikes here.
The constant hills are not helping the ginger catch and keep her breath. She overdid it on the run. She should have just sent the brunette ahead and kept going at a reasonable pace for her body. Halfway up their third steep hill, she stops to find her inhaler. Two puffs and she waits for a miracle. The marathoner comes down from the top of the hill. They could slow down. No one needed to get hurt trying to get back to town. The ginger agreed; slower pace would be lovely.
The women round a corner to see a house with two trucks and man out front. They run-walk up to the man and ask if someone is going or could take them to town. Everyone is in for the night. Were there any other trucks or buses or anything that could take them back? He thought maybe the farmer up the road might, but it was Sunday. People finish their days early. They thanked him and left half-worried, half-hopeful. The ginger at least no longer looks like her head is going to explode, so that is something.
They hear the purr of the engine when they reach the road again, and simultaneously think what would have happened if they had talked to that guy any longer. The truck rounds the corner just as they position themselves in the best place to be seen and wave it down. It can take them halfway there. Halfway is good enough for now. They can figure out the next piece once they have some water and actual options. The women start to laugh as the weight of worry sloughs off in the wind.