The tent worked well as a temporary solution but Levi and Tiani agreed; they wouldn’t be staying in the village too much longer. They threw themselves into the task of teaching anyone who wanted to learn to read and write Spanish, and to speak English.
Levi loved watching Tiani read books to the kids of the tribe. They would sit around her, and she would try to sound out words. She knew Spanish well enough that using context clues she was able to pick up reading rather quickly.
Tiani was very intelligent. He’d known that since their first conversation and from the way her eyes were always capturing her environment. But this was impressive.
He wanted to help her enroll in classes at Harvard when they returned home so she could dig deep into the languages. After the experience at the wedding reception when she’d been ridiculed for her broken English, she was determined to master the language.
Levi spent time each day over at the temple pyramid, often alone, studying the etchings and carvings, analyzing the collection. Some days he sat as far away as he could from the structure to look for any patterns not initially obvious. Other days he spent hours cleaning the stone carvings with a soft brush, evaluating them at the granular level.
In many ways, the weeks since he first stepped foot on this sacred site had been the best of his life. Most of what he was doing could be done from his climate-controlled office, but the feel of the temple site wasn’t something that could be experienced through a computer screen.
The hypnotic peace of the afternoon was interrupted by a ringing and vibrating from inside his backpack, which sat on the ground near his feet. He pulled out the satellite phone expecting the phone number to be that of his brother or one of the other team members, but he didn’t recognize the number.
He answered in English hoping whoever was calling would be able to understand. “Hello, this is Dr. Stephenson.”
“Levi, this is Mark Sayid, what are you up to?”
“I’m standing at the base of the most incredible temple pyramid ever created by the hands of men, interpreting ancient texts, and getting eaten alive by mosquitos the size of hummingbirds.”
“Another day in paradise.” Prince Marcos chuckled along with Levi. “How would you like to take a break and come meet my father?”
“Prince Benjamin? I would love that. Are you in Mexico?”
“Making preparations to head there in a few days. When my father learned who you had stumbled upon, he insisted I bring you and Tiani and her father to come meet him.”
“Oh, what a great idea,” Levi said, in awe. “Prince Benjamin. Wow. I never thought I’d have the opportunity. I’ll return to the village and begin making plans. Shall we meet you in Puerto Aventuras?”
“That would be ideal,” Prince Marcos said. “Do you need me to send you a private jet?”
“No, we bought one, but thank you.”
“There’s a resort there called the Barcelo Maya Palace. I’ll book you a couple of suites and you can arrive as soon as tomorrow, but I won’t be there for at least another two or three days. I’ll prepay for us to stay for several weeks. That way we can spend as much time as we’d like allowing all of you to get to know each other.”
Levi was gathering his things together as they were talking, growing more and more excited. As he said goodbye to Prince Marcos, Levi turned to have one more look at the magnificent structure that had changed his life, not sure how soon he would return. Then he hurried into the tunnel to go find his wife and in-laws.
Time to introduce them to the modern world as well as connect them to their distant past.