Archive | 11:29 PM

Weekly Writing Challenge: Thinking Too Much and Guatemala

6 Sep

Everything I owned fit in a 10×10 storage unit. Smushed and stacked together in the dark, in not so neat piles. Nothing of serious material value to anyone other than myself. It’s being kept safe until we can find a bigger place to live — a place outside of my parent’s house.

But there is one item that I did not trust to leave in that concrete room protected by that Master lock. It may not be the most expensive item I own, but it is one of the most meaningful. If there was a fire and the place was up in flames I’d grab the photo albums, computer, and this item. It would definitely be in my hands.

Normally meaningful heirlooms are passed down from generation to generation, stuff like your great grandfather’s watch, or your great-great Tia Lola’s recipes. These are the treasured pieces — the priceless ones. However the only items I’ve inherited are a rare blood type, good dance moves, and nice feet.

But there are meaningful items that do remind me of family. Items I’d take with me in case of a fire. They don’t really do anything, they just sit there. But they are some of my most prized possessions.

This one happens to be one of them.

On my last trip to Guatemala I decided to travel with my dad. He’s of the adventurous spirit, so it made for an exciting and tiresome trip. And when you’re on trips like these you want to bring something home. Something memorable.

During one of our outings in the Central Market I came across this painting by Jose Antonio Pur Gonzalez. I had no idea who he was, but what he painted caught my eye.

My meaningful possession.

I’m not a painter, nor did I take art history in school, but it was something about this painting and I had to have it. The bright colors, the textures, the people. It spoke of my culture. It spoke of the coffee plantation we visited. It spoke of our trip. It spoke of Guatemala. It was like a page in my travel journal. But with all this speaking, I wasn’t sure about the price. I stood there contemplating and trying to negotiate with the seller. He wouldn’t go lower and I was worried to go higher.

My dad noticed this negotiation and looked at me.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes.”

“Is it worth it?”

“I think so.”

“If you leave without it, will you be thinking about it in the car, thinking about it on the drive, and thinking about it once we get home?”

“Yeah, but it’s a little bit too much.”

He grabbed the money from my hand, gave it to the seller, took out his wallet, paid the difference.

“That was too much thinking, ” he looked at me and smiled. “I’m very satisfied with your purchase. But don’t tell your mother or your sister how much we paid for it. It’ll be our secret.”

I hung it in my apartment, and every time I looked at this painting I thought about our trip. I thought about the Central Market. I thought about the negotiation process. I thought about my dad. If he wasn’t with me in that moment I might not have purchased my first piece of art. Art. I might have had an empty wall, or some print from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

And now, since he passed away, the value of this painting has increased, and the trip has become priceless.

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