I walked down the cracked tar road, my weathered, once-white shoes making the only sound for miles. The smell of tea and samosas lingered in the damp air; a smell reserved for monsoon teatimes.
The evening sky was cotton-candy blue, wispy clouds strung through it like streamers. The faint chill in the air teased my bare knees and caressed my ankles.
The houses that lined the sidewalk all looked alike; ochre skin hugging square windows and a red tile roof.
They had seemed so foreboding, so foreign on our first encounter.
But the homesickness had been grudgingly replaced by familiarity.
The smell of mud mixed with bleach and rain, the sound of the trees at half-past six, the corner window with it’s lights on till the wee hours of morning, the foggy beginnings of December days and the lights at night through a rain-soaked window.
Slowly, through it’s bits and pieces, I’d come to call this place Home.
Our shoes splattered half-formed puddles, stray droplets striking the tips of our noses. Jumpy footsteps and eager laughter rang through the verdant canopy above us; the footpath our ramp, auburn car beams our spotlight.
We cradled a box of fries in our arms; crisp, yellow and finely salted. We nibbled on them, one at a time.
Hands full, hearts hungry, the buzz of our combined laughter filled our ears. We sang at the top of our lungs, only the trees bore witness; leaves rustling furiously, in tune.
The air was rich with the scent of pinecones and wet grass; it was filled with strings and confetti and the sheer childlike joy of our conversation.
Eyes wide and innocent, all 32 teeth exposed, we skipped up the stairs, arm in arm, licking the salty bits off our fingertips.
Weeds swaying in multitudes, the tell of an arriving train.
Sparrows over salty water.
Hammocks that lull you to a drunken stupor.
Moonlit sand. Midnight kisses that taste of beer, moonlight and thunderclap waves.
Stepping on pinecones.
Barefoot on the ocean edge at daybreak.
The brilliant gold of sun through a whiskey glass.
Guppy fish that seemingly chase each other.
Feet in salty water.
A dog that would not lead us astray.
Halfway to half moon. On the edge of infinity; when the ground falls away to ice blue ocean and sea-foamed rocks.
Whirlpools seen from up above.
The sound of the ocean.
The tangy grey of dusk lulls the cacophony around us. It’s soft orange peaks play gently with our hair, twirling it around and pulling it into pigtails.
The crickets hold court, a tractor engine roars, a rusty seesaw creaks with childlike joy; machines whir, coffee berries are stripped naked; a noisy tray belies it’s clinking tea glasses and a million thoughts are sent as quiet sighs into the air.
The brick in-lay has made the soles of my feet red, and the moisture kisses the tips of my fingers.
The teatime chatter spreads it’s wings and gently nudges my shoulder. I turn it away and sit cross-legged, waiting.
I watch grey turn to darker grey and finally to black.
And I realize, in the deepest parts of my stomach, I do not want it to end.