Town was quiet and dark. A Tuesday night, closing in on eleven. We walked down the middle of the deserted street in a celebratory mood. We had just come from trivia, our last chance for glory. We went to trivia on our first night in San Juan del Sur and won. It was only fitting that on our very last night that we try to bring things full circle. Enlisting the help of one of our original teammates, who we just happened to run into, we pulled it off. Amanda celebrated with us, happy for our win and for the success of her first outing as Trivia Master.
There wasn’t anyone else on the street except for a cop who watches us pass dispassionately. If he knows what we are going to do, he doesn’t care, I thought. In Canada, it would be highly illegal. Just another day in Nicaragua.
We walked out onto the beach, the wind whipping sand into our faces. Alex carried the guitar, careful not to tip it and spill out the paper and fireworks that had been packed inside. We could only find firecrackers, considered kid stuff in Nicaragua, but still pretty good. I carried a canister of gas, our admittedly stupid way of getting the whole thing to burn. Alex doused the guitar with the gas and placed it on the beach, well away from any of the buildings. The wind was blowing down the beach, so we didn’t have to worry about setting any of the beach bars palm-leaf roofs on fire.
Using an extra piece of paper, Alex set the guitar ablaze. Amanda and I stood back, well away from the burn zone. It went up without too much trouble, and we watched it burn. Every once of a while the fire would reach a pocket of fire crackers and they would explode, making us jump and dance around.
The excitement began to die along with the fire and we became introspective, each of us lost in our own thoughts. Alex wandered a little off on his own, contemplating the remains of his guitar. Amanda looked on, with an expression of anger and sadness, muttering “assholes” under her breath. Suddenly she stood and announced that she was getting too emotional. Packing up Daisy in her little doggy bag, she headed back to the bar to hide her sadness under the weight of a glass.
The fire was almost out, only a pile of softly glowing embers remaining. The wind picked up the embers and scattered them across the beach. They continued to glow, even as they drifted closer and closer to the ocean, red hot stars on the sand.
I put my arm around Alex’s waist and he put his arm easily over my shoulder, and we stood silently watching as the last pieces of his guitar burned themselves out. I took in the beach one last time. In the morning, we would be leaving San Juan del Sur. For how long, I didn’t know. All I knew was that things were about to change. Little did I know how much.