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What will we do without water?

What Will We do Without Water?

Costa rica

Ronny A. Vargas


Shakespir Edition

Copyright © 2017 Ronny A. Vargas

All rights reserved



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The sun was setting behind the palm trees near Tárcoles as Carlos thoughtfully leaned on his shovel. He had purchased land near Carara National Park and convinced his wife Alicia that life on a farm near the ocean would be easy. But now, he wasn’t so sure. As the fresh evening breeze dried the sweat on his forehead, he realized he had been digging this well since six o’clock that morning because there was no water, hardly even any to drink. Even his naturally olive skin, now tinged with color, resented the hours.

“So much water and not a single drop to drink,” Carlos thought, losing his gaze in the distance over the ocean.

He remembered what he had told his Alicia, “Let’s move to a farm where everything is easier. We’ll eat what we sow in the field. Everything will be healthier, and we can work online from home.”

And, so it was, they arrived with their notebooks loaded with lists of things to do, their modern jobs allowing them to work remotely, away from it all.

But, as the days passed, Carlos’s satisfaction turned to anxiety. He learned to give respect to those who deserved it, as the farm work by midday blistered his hands. Now they lived every day with concern, especially now that they had made the decision to bring a child into the world. How could they provide the child with even the basic necessities if there was no water?

When they first arrived in Tárcoles, Carlos felt like the lord and master of the land, although iguanas crossed without permission over the dry leaves in the middle the property and the howler monkeys howled at night, claiming as their own the black bark trees. Then there were the monarch butterflies that resided on the milkweed leaves without making any reservations.

He now had multiple jobs: on his computer, on his property while taking care of his wife’s and their unborn child’s needs.

“I have to adjust her desk chair,” he thought as he continued to dig. “Soon her belly won’t allow her to reach the keyboard.”

Stars appeared in the young night sky, so he turned on the portable lamp, hoping a bright idea might light up his worried mind. But Alicia’s call from the porch of their house interrupted him.

“Are you coming in soon for dinner, Carlos?” she asked, her hands at her waist.

“I’ll finish tomorrow,” he replied, slamming the shovel head into the heap of soil.

“Don’t forget to turn off the lamp.” Alicia said, disappearing from the porch.

He turned the lamp off, and with that, the shadow of his body disappeared from the espavel trees. He walked into the house and opened the door of the nursery, already decorated with storks in all manner of light blue hues above the crib, waiting for their firstborn. He stood there thoughtfully.

“Don’t you worry Carlos,” Alicia whispered with a kiss from behind. “I’m sure we will find water.”

“I know you don’t worry as much as I do, but now more than ever, we need to keep you hydrated,” Carlos said, turning to kiss her on the forehead.


It was Sunday evening, and after watching a soccer match, they patiently sat on the porch and considered the night sky with optimism. The sound of the cicadas serenaded them. They held hands as they swayed in the chairs. She caught a sigh. “Maybe it’s a good idea to call Jorge?” she asked. “He might help you find water.” The chirp of a gecko tried to take up the conversation.

“You’re probably right. I will call him tomorrow before I go to the supermarket for water. We only have about thirty gallons left.”

The next day, the sun’s rays passed through the middle of the palm trees and touched a few carao trees. The rooster sounded, hoarse from crowing since four o’clock in the morning. The smell of hot coffee and gallo pinto inspired Carlos to promptly fill the pick-up’s bed with several empty plastic water containers. He hurried inside to eat.

After breakfast, he drove toward town where he ran into Tito, a ten-year-old boy well known by everyone in the town of Tárcoles. Tito pedaled his bike barefoot and shirtless as he balanced on the handle bars a red water container Carlos had given him a few days ago. Carlos stopped his car and lowered the window.

“Tito, where are you going?”

“Home from the supermarket,” he answered, stopping suddenly and showering dust from the ballast road.

“Looks like it’s empty.”

“They no longer have any. They’re waiting for the tanker truck to come in this afternoon. If it ever comes.”

“You saved me a trip.”

“You probably don’t want to go anyway,” said Tito. “There were two men outside the supermarket fighting like two drunks in a cantina.” He resumed his slow pedaling while balancing his body with the water container.

Carlos didn’t know what to say to Alicia when he returned home. He leaned against the brick columns, thinking.

Alicia came from the living room holding the phone, “Jorge just called.”

“He read our minds.”

“Yes! He said he’ll be here today, after noon.”

Jorge arrived with his pickup. Carlos peeked inside the truck’s bed, “Finally, help had arrived with an arsenal of tools,” he thought. From a manual post digger with its extension to a chainsaw, Jorge came prepared like a soldier for war.

“Come on in, Jorge. Alicia made lunch.”

After finishing the meal, don Jorge wiped his mustache with a napkin. Laughing, he told them, “You are very young and not from around here, but when I was a young boy we used to swim in the rivers. From here all the way to Carara, there was water everywhere. Now, with so many herbicides washing into the rivers, you can’t risk your skin.”

After a few minutes of chatting about the good ol’ days, he gave them the good news. “Earlier this morning, I spoke with a friend of mine who works for the mayor. He told me they approved a new ruling that allows owners of properties surrounding Carara National Park to dig for water in the protected lands.”

“Wow!” Carlos exclaimed. “This really is an emergency if they’re letting us dig in the natural reserve!”

“You see, I told you we were going to find water,” Alicia reminded him thoughtfully. “The Government is helping us.” She cleared the table of the dishes.

“Something strange is happening with nature,” added Carlos. “Man has lost all respect for it and will suffer severe consequences, I fear.”

The conversation made them forget how late it was getting. Carlos kissed Alicia goodbye heartily, like a sailor leaving for an ocean adventure.

On the way to the park, the men stopped at the small pen to check on the cow Carlos had bought for Alicia. The poor animal had sunken eyes and its skin sagged. Carlos saw the black spots of the water level in the water basin. Both vivid reminders of what he was up against.

While walking along the trail, Jorge told him stories of when he and his friends ventured throughout these same places. He tried to distract Carlos with these tales, and at times it worked. Gradually, Carlos left his concern in the foot prints on the dry and dusty trail.

They arrived at a fence, with an intimidating sign: “Do Not Enter. National Reserve Carara.”

“It’s probably better to do the digging here. Why do we want to go further where the crocodiles are?” Jorge said.

A group of white-faced monkeys watched them from the branches of the mamey trees. After only three meters of excavating, water bloomed forth like orchids in the month of March. Carlos came out of the well to congratulate his friend Jorge, patting him on the back. They were happy, like they had just won the lottery.

Jorge’s laughter quickly stopped and he looked soberly at Carlos. He shook his head slowly. “I can’t do it,” he said quietly. “Carlos, my conscience is killing me. I need to be honest with you. We don’t have permission to dig here. Alicia is scared because of the lack of water. She asked me to lie to you and I agreed. But, I just can’t do it.”

The white-faced monkeys, for some unknown reason, suddenly began spinning around on the branches, shitting in their hands and throwing their projectiles towards the men who hurried to cover the well hole. And with that, Carlos covered the hole of hope in his heart as disappointment pummeled his mind like monkey poop.

“Let’s get out of here, Jorge said, covering his head. “This is what we get for trespassing.”

Back at the house, the night took away any exchange of words between the men. As Carlos bid farewell to Jorge, Alicia stepped out onto the porch.

Carlos knew he had to talk to Alicia. “I know you are concerned, but if the government finds out we were digging in the Reserve, we will be in a lot of trouble.”

“But I’m desperate! I don’t think it was such a good idea to move here. And I don’t know if it is a good idea to bring a child into the world when we don’t even have water.”

“What are you saying, Alicia?” Carlos asked.

She grabbed his hands and tears rolled down her cheeks. “Carlos,” she cried. “What will we do without water?”

What will we do without water?

  • ISBN: 9781370354375
  • Author: Ronny A. Vargas
  • Published: 2017-08-28 07:35:15
  • Words: 1693
What will we do without water? What will we do without water?