This was my last night with the Girlfriend in Mérida, Mexico. Our Mexico vacation has been a mix of historical awareness (Yucatán, zonas arqueológicas) and irreverence (Quintana Roo, Cancun’s Zona Hotelera) that I have come to consider part of the definition of John C Dwyer.  Lonely Planet’s introduction to Mérida describes what I’m saying a little more exactly:

[su_quote url=””]As the capital of Yucatán state, Mérida is also the cultural crossroads of the region, and there’s something just a smidge elitist about Mérida: the people who live here have a beautiful town, and they know it.[/su_quote]

Pacheco's Mural

Pacheco’s interpretation of Maya legend on the stairwell, which stretches across three murals.

At this crossroads in Mérida, perhaps it was the pure symbolism (the Faustian allusion?), or the weight of history in the Plaza Grande with the Casa de Montejo to the south and Fernando Castro Pacheco’s murals in the Palacio del Gobierno to the north. Or perhaps it was simply the weight of the ring, which I had spent the better part of a year re-working from an heirloom my great aunt and godmother left for me, and had been hiding beneath the spare lens in my camera bag for the last week and a half of vacation.

Whatever it was, I decided this last night in Mérida to make the vacation either spectacularly memorable or a train wreck.

After dinner in a restaurant with no discernible connection to Frida Kahlo other than the name—La Casa de Frida—two weeping coconuts, and the surreal stars suspended as lanterns in the Spanish colonial courtyard, the Girlfriend became the Fiancée. If Faust had cheated in his deal with the Devil and gotten away clean, if Orpheus had had enough faith and climbed out of the underworld with Eurydice in tow, they still wouldn’t feel like I do now.