He wasn’t a morning person but the clean sea air, the good food and no work pressure had him up early. After freshening up, he put on the water to boil on the electric kettle provided by Blaze. Dipping a couple of bags of the Earl gray he had picked up, came on out of the shack to look at the beach sipping the slightly bitter brew.
The sun hadn’t broken out. The beach was peaceful and he felt like a dip. In his trunks, wearing his floppy slippers,carrying a towel he dumped it on the dry sand and broke into a run for the water. It was warm , not chilly like home and he welcomed the dip with no one around. Did a few energetic strokes across and then settled in to float on his back. Dawn was breaking and the whole colorscape was filling up magically with various hues. He watched the sun climb up and was spell bound. Then a movement near him disturbed the water around him and he went back in. In the water he saw the long pair of legs and came up spluttering. In a dawn blue two-piece bikini was Peggy and he hadn’t even noticed her. Lovely isn’t it, said she and he was struck by the picture she made before him. Yesterday in the shadows he hadn’t been able to see her clearly. It seemed mutual as they looked at each other. She blinked first , he smiled and frankly said “was wondering how you look in the morning and here you are, pretty as a picture”. “Oh come on, but yes me too” and was that a blush, he wasnt sure.Her eyes were warmly twinkling, the same deep blue color and now he could see they had light grey flecks in them. He was completely lost and smiled to cover up the confusion of being caught staring.
They swum about for a while and suddenly she challenged first one to the shore gets to be the pillion and we took off. She was very fast and fit and beat me by an arm’s length to the towel. Laughingly she looked up and said, “You are the driver now”. “Of what?” and she pointed out to the scooter she had hired and said this is the only way to see Goa or had you forgotten, I am your guide. Unless you aren’t in the mood for company and you needn’t be polite. He shook his head and said; actually yes I had not forgotten but had not bargained for company myself. My objective here is to relax and de-toxify and may not be great company. She spluttered and broke up, where were you, have been searching for a plain honest man who doesn’t give a damn and answers straight all my life. You just drive us where I point you and should you get bored today we split up and go our ways, deal? She was persuasive and charming and having no counter he said yes and brushed the sand off and got up. Lets meet up around for Breakfast in another half hour and then start he suggested and she said ok. I am in that shack she said pointing to one close by his. Again he noticed the footprints as they started back. The sense of some magic was up again. He couldn’t figure it out and decided to bend with the wind and take it as it comes. He was filled with exhilaration as there was no plan only surprise in store. Unlike his days in London where every minute was accounted for this place didn’t have a concept of time as night merged into day and the circle of life continued unabated. Now he had to meet up with a girl who just seemed to have blended in so well with this country. But for her accent, the classically English look and bearing in her spirit she was all Eastern.
After a quick shower and change into blue denim folded up almost to the knees and a bright orange T shirt, he took along his knapsack and went out under the open shed for breakfast.Lilah, Blazes wife was in her apron behind the stove and she with her equally fat frame beamed at him, Patrao its eggs and fresh salami, toast and butter. The tea/coffee/milk and cereal is laid out there pointing to a side table. Its only melons for fruit today. That lazy Carvallo, our vendor must be all sloshed on feni again and would come by during lunchtime. How do u want your eggs, I make good Spanish omelets’ would u like some? Nodding he picked up a plate and piled on fruit and eating a slice of the sweet melon watched Lilah crack four eggs into the bowl throw in a slew of chopped vegetables and add salt pepper and some rosemary and vigorously beat it up to a froth and on the sizzling pan she put in some white butter and poured out the contents as it fluffily crackled. With an expert hand she picked up a chunk of cheese and grated a lot on the mixture in the pan.With a deft flick she tuned it once and neatly folding it into half ladled it on my plate. She pan fried toast and set them on as Peggy came in, just fried eggs for me today Lilah as she helped herself to some coffee. The aroma of the eggs was delicious and he picked up three pieces of thick salami and sat down. Peggy was wearing a white frock, a large hair-band and floppy slip-ons and she almost looked good enough to eat joined him with her eggs and toast. The omelet was delicious and the salami so fresh he could almost hear the pig bray in the distance. He didn’t utter a word as he tucked in. Only when he was done did he look up and saw Peggy watching him with a smile. You love food don’t you? Must say you aren’t a typical Brit the way you went about this. He picked up some more melon and refilled his cup of Tea and lit up offering her his pack and shetook one. This time when he held out the light she leaned across cupping her hand around his as she bent to light up and his palm tingled.
He looked up and their eyes locked and despite his not being a man of many words a wealth of them got exchanged in that look. Leaning back he looked up to the horizon and the sea crashing about.
What are you looking for Jon? Pegs voice broke into his reverie. Peace, completeness, the meaning and happiness, the words were out even before he could realize. He had confessed this to no person and here he was voicing them out to a perfect stranger, well not perfect but yet almost a stranger. She looked at him for what seemed like an eternity without a word. She hooked up her legs around the chair handle letting them dangle, blew a blue cloud from her shapely nostrils and said “and Love?” ‘Maybe, said he, only if I knew what it was?” Hmm she nodded and said seriously “ am no fancy philosopher or deep thinker but am smart enough to know that Love can be a solution to all that you seek, cant it?. "Yes it could be" he reflectively said looking into her blue orbs as they sparkled with a fire unknown and again he felt the connection. It was such a quiet discussion from the previous two interactions earlier that he was bewildered at the ease with which they connected on all levels of talk. This had not happened with anybody, neither woman nor man. He was a loner, friendly most of the time but no close friends really. It was constantly being in competitive ambiences that put him beyond others, his way of thought either put others off or had him switch off. At his job, it was just him, the telephone and the terminal. Now comes Winnipeg Ashton-Smythe who just crossed his path merrily asking him a light and he had articulated his search to her, what was it about her and them? He wondered to himself.
"Come on then", she jumped up, "No search should be without an exotic adventure and even if you don’t wish it am your partner for it today, it’s my decision. Tomorrow it’s your call" she looked at him with a hesitation and he gently said “Lead ye Mi lady am your Knight to command for the day” The doubt vanished , she smiled brilliantly and her light freckles around the nose bunched up into the crinkles “Knight eh, Jon the Knight of the Scooter, you shall drive, u can ride a two wheeler I hope?
He nodded and this contraption, make Vespa was a geared kickstart mini scooter. Easy as he kept the knapsack on the footboard and plugged in a cassette blindly into his walk man and asked her would you like one ear mike, she nodded and they hooked up. Which way asked he and she said drive forth and I shall point you differently when we have to turn… The small machine was really small. He could feel her soft long legs grip his waist as she got on and the light feel of her curves on his back. She put her arm around his waist as they started off. He was feeling thrilled as the greenery zipped past them, the wind hitting their faces. The sea was running parallel to the road as he saw it and they were zipping on it. Across a distant junction a barge was ferrying passengers and vehicles across to a land mass separated by the water and he heard the sound of Lennon and McCartney through the walkman, crazily singing almost tunelessly. It was at the height of their(The Beatles) beatnik phase… a hippie song ( rumour had it that it was their experiment with LSD and in that haze this song was written), a chart topper in its times…Again she pinched his waist and rested her head on his shoulder and whispered, Jon, just the number for now..and she started humming along to the song
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she's gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain,
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone.
Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
The trip was proving to be an adventure like no other and he now could identify the feeling…Serenity ( Footprints III - The Destination )