Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 103

​ il walked toward the seven other houses, which appeared to blend into the G wooded curve of the bay, nestling there like seabirds. ​ e walked up to his nearest neighbor’s front door—Carla Bazan, a former H seamstress, now over ninety. She came swiftly up to the door pulling her cardigan sweater closed over her T-shirt and sweatpants. “ ​ Let me guess what you want,” said Carla. She had the rough-smoky voice of some tough-gal forties movie actress (with a Spanish accent). “This coming Monday, Carla, 10 AM,” Gil said. ​ he opened the door and took the page he offered. She’d been through a lot of S protests in her life—union organizing, civil rights marches in the South, right up to recent years, organizing sweatshop workers in Chinatown and picketing in Washington against NAFTA. “ ​ You know what I think, Gilberto,” she said now, through the screen. “I think maybe our time is up. There’s resistance and then there’s stupidity.” ​ il smiled; he wouldn’t argue. He wished Carla good night and moved on. His G next stop would be the messiest, most rundown of the old houses, belonging to crazy Matilda Roto, who was once the strongest believer in the “natural living” idea that the colony was founded on. She would swim in the frigid ocean or run miles along the beach in her bathing suit in January, and sometimes in summer she’d been seen running with nothing on at all. Twice she was arrested for that. One Sunday morning she’d jogged all the way into town and marched—in her swimsuit—up the center aisle of St. Thomas Catholic Church during Mass. She loudly exhorted the congregation to get out in the fresh air and worship the god in nature, instead of huddling inside the gloomy church. That was her third arrest. Since then she’d withdrawn more and more into private eccentricity, decorating her thin white hair with wildflowers, refusing to kill the bugs that infested her house. ​ il was relieved to see he wouldn’t have to venture inside; Matilda was watering G her jungle of a garden. “Buenas tardes, senora,” he said. It was best to be cheery, robust. 103