Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck
Two days after the robbery, we dared to venture out from the security of our apartment. At once, the excursion down our simple sand street to the commercial center of La Punta felt ordinary yet reckless. We had walked this road several times before, but now we did it with deep suspicion of all we passed. The small children dragging their sandals to kick up dust, the old man on his daily walk with his goats – we watchfully kept our distance from them all.
With hands clutched, we rushed to our destination. It was still broad daylight, a bit too early for dinner, but as late as we wanted to be out. We settled into the hard plastic chairs of the open-air taco joint and surveyed all around. There was one other couple dining, but our attention was drawn down the small street to the beach in front of us. There were plenty of people around enjoying the last light of day, frisbees were being tossed and sand castles were being built. The long fingers of thin cloud were just starting to pick up the colours of the descending sun – pinks and purples were set to burst soon.
As we savoured our food we found ourselves savouring our surroundings as well. Even after what Pete had just been through, he was the first to comment how quickly the easy-going and friendly nature of the neighbourhood was already loosening his resolve. This is pure paradise, we both thought and he said aloud.
After our meal was complete we walked hand-in-hand back down to the beach for the first time since the incident. Pete pointed out where he had been held up and we stood for awhile, staring. It was going to be our last time on that massive and alluring beach, probably forever. Had the robbery not occurred, I could have seen us make regular pilgrimages to our wonderful refuge in Puerto Escondido. But it happened. And even though we hold no ill will against the town itself, it will now always be known as the place where that happened.
And so, our last glimpse…