Flowers are still in bloom. Flaxen sunlight ignores the season and persist in heating the soft earth. We have been spared the few hurricanes coming off Cape Verde and with the end of the season the breeze is a collective sigh of relief. It is still green here, a lush paradise of birds and wetlands. Bright splashes of red and pink hibiscus pop and wild parrots still linger among the palm fingers. Our dawn is a swathe of melon, a prelude to crimson sunsets. Grand limbs of poinsetta trees drop a tapestry of red ground cover.
I have joined my neighbor for colado and pastelitos in his secluded courtyard. The coffee is thick and sweet served in a small cup. The pastry oozes guava jam and cream cheese from its flaky layers. We are quiet except for occasional small talk, we are past the need for banter. He suddenly turns serious and tells me he is concerned and frustrated over the influx of central americans crossing the borders. It is too early for politics and I shrug and softly remind him of his own flight from Havana, risking his life across the Florida straits via smugglers. I remind him of the efforts he made to get from there to here. That is different he says, he had relatives, sponsors. I stroll to the red clay pots lining his deck, the scent of peppers and basil in black earth sting my nostrils. I wonder if he even recalls the poverty and oppression he fled to nest in this pink paradise.
Eventually he realizes I am uninterested in his grumbling and more in the mood for non-sexual fun. Grabbing our caps we race barefoot to the water, our feet sinking in the unseasonably warm sand.