Jon said she, no plans and no agenda’s right? We shall zig and zag across Goa. He was just getting the balance of the machine and her weight behind him. Now he also felt the nature of her spirit. He was rather amazed at how a high society dame had blown apart the constraints around her and so easily was reaching out and chipping his as well. Turn right said she and he turned right, with nothing to lose and an adventure to gain he just obeyed. The roads were narrow tar but well maintained and he found himself running past the green and the sea that could be seen through the gaps in the foliage. She just held on. The traffic was sparse and they passed the turn to Agauada and came on to Porvorim crossing the Mandovi to reach Panjim. The city was a bustle and the traffic deepened but nobody paid any attention to them. Tourists were a normal sight here and the people were mighty friendly especially to the currency, he realistically thought to himself. She shifted her weight and they wobbled a bit as she laughingly apologized. It’s just that my BBC had stopped. He turned around and said BBC? What has that venerable news station got to do with your movement? Oh she squealed “My Bum’s Blood Circulation –BBC had stopped and he just spluttered with laughter. Oh you hadn’t heard this? She kept on laughing.
It was just around sometime between ten and eleven and as we passed Raibander the mark of the Portuguese settlement became more and more prominent in the lay of the houses. It was quaint and serenely beautiful the sight of sunlight hitting on the panes and creating a glow. He wished for a camera but then he hadn't intended to retain any proof of this journey, it was to be just a memory only for him and he had pig headedly kept it at home. Now he regretted it. Doesn’t it make for a pretty picture Jon, she whispered from behind and he marveled at her ability to zone in on his thoughts.
The road broke out around the turn into a large empty space. On each side of the road they sighted a very large structure, excellently maintained. She said "this is a must see for everyone". It was the Basilica Bom Jesus on the right and the Museum on the other. He spotted a parking lot and put the Vespa on its stand and picking up his knapsack they casually walked in to the cool precincts of the church.
This church had the body of St Francis Xavier embalmed in a majestic silver coffin. The respect with which the coffin was housed belied the blood of the inquisition and the violent path taken by some of the apostles of the faith to spread it. History has been full of strife and conquests and religion did not fall behind. He was agnostic yet was impressed by the magnificence of the structure and its land. He was wonderstruck at the irony in the situation. The monk Francis Xavier violently spreading religion here attained sainthood while the hippies who largely preached peace and love came to be looked at with suspicion & were even reviled. When he voiced his bohemian thought to her she seriously answered. Yes it certainly is funny this way of the world. The church in its bid to preserve its power over rulers and monarchy, was a fiefdom in itself. Exactly thought he. It is power that held a sway, whether it came from the Sword of the Conqueror, The Pulpit of religion or the Coffers of commerce. Power demanded monuments in its glorification and he decided to drop his line of thought as too morbid inside a place-religious. They strolled across to the museum which he found more to his taste and enjoyed the exhibits. Leisurely they looked around without a care and he too was totally engaged. She as his guide was knowledgeably detailing the meaning/history of each exhibit from her memory as she recalled it from past visits.
Casually as a bunch of tourists approached & she taking his hand moved outside. It was getting to be high noon. They found a small café restaurant in Velha Goa ( Old Goa ) and settled on iced tea as starters. They ordered long tall glasses with a slice of lemon. As he settled in the cane chair and stretched his legs under the table, he encountered another pair,hers. Impishly smiling she said "Isn't it too early in the day to play footsie Jon darling?" He broke up and looking at her laughing he said sorry. "No you aren’t" said she in a clipped accent faked and exaggerated for the moment, "you are enjoying toying with the lovely legs of an English lady when you sense an opportunity, you rogue." He burst out and they laughed for a long time. She laid a paw on his palm on the table and said seriously, you seem so much lighter when you laugh. You do smile a lot but are too tightly wound to laugh, just let go. It was true, her observation. Nodding, he placed his other palm on hers and said "With you around me I won’t have that problem would I ?" Never said she. Tell me about Percy asked he and it was as if a shutter rolled down her face completely shutting it. Then coming to a decision she nodded and said here goes, but never again, ok? Neighbors grew up together, he was my brother’s friend and parochially everyone assumed that we were together when I went out with him once or twice. He suffers from verbal diarrhea and a constipation of ideas. Then, when he brought out a ring, I put my foot down and came away here. I could not imagine spending my life with someone who would talk nineteen to a dozen and yet say nothing. That’s what I like about you she said frankly. It’s quite weird that not knowing you more than 24 hours, can relate to you like an old friend. You must be some part of me broken away at birth, luckily I found you before I got too old.
This is fate said she and I was leaning towards her line of thought. Fate has conspired that you must be here when I ran away to put a lost soul like you in my path. Sipping the tea in the cool shadows of the verandah of the hotel he felt a spell of magic being weaved around them with her words. Just imagine said she, two Britons from nearly the same social strata (I am snobbish, she said with a broad wink, had you a different accent may have walked on after taking the light) bumping into each other at Anjuna – Goa. Have you heard it happening before? Well he had, but he kept his own counsel at it as he was sucked into a vortex of feelings never experienced. She had ordered tuna fish sandwiches with French fries as she said that too much curry would make her want to hurry. Then she walked up to the reception and booked a room for the afternoon there such that they could chill out in peace.
She went in and dumped in their luggage and came out as our order was being placed.
They talked a while of this and that as the food and the sun made them drowsy and he admired her foresight. Then he saw the room and it was not the last word in luxury with peeling paint a fan and a double bed. He was too drowsy to contemplate and just plonked himself and dozed off. He felt her crawl beside him and lie down.
Somewhere in the mid-afternoon his eyes opened to find her staring at him with her head on the crook and she smiled and said u sleep so deeply and all the creases are wiped off on your face. He too sensed that it had been a long time he had slept so fitfully but could not confess that he had dreamt kissing her and half smiled at the thought. She just leaned and did exactly that, he was so waiting for this and found his arms around her. They had been building towards it slowly but surely and now it had them consumed. It was feverish their frenzy in dispensing off with each others clothes and in that hurry rolling falling of the bed but geting back on. Laughing and excited the hidden connect that had lead to their being thrown together achieved its climax in a tangle of arms and legs. They just lay staring at each other and someplace he felt complete. Is this what his search was all about, a soulmate? He wasn’t sure yet and leaned to kiss her again. She said Jon someplace somebody has made us for each other. He felt himself smiling foolishly and she said you freshen up first as pulling on a sleeveless bunyan lying on the bed with her upper class derriere winking at the ceiling.
They moved out. She got on the two-wheeler clinging to him and pointed the way back. "We have a long drive ahead as we are now headed back and beyond Anjuna to Tiracol for the sunset. This drive back was different as she spooned into his back. Acquaintances, to friends and now lovers he just wondered where were they heading to ultimately. He felt happy and the sense of déjà vu was total. They passed Waga, Wagator, Anjuna and came across the pristine distant beach of Arambol across which was the ferry leading to the Tiracol Fort.
This was now a heritage hotel and the view as they reached was fantastic. The sun was still some distance up. They parked and freshened up to take the tables on the forecourt. Frome here they could see far and beyond. The sun in the sky, the horseshoe of the clean sands of Arambol, the merging of the waters of the river Tiracol into the Arabian Sea. They ordered Beers and settled to munch salted cashews, he could not let go of her hand even sitting down.
They walked down to the sandy ledge as the sun dipped down the horizon, he just found himself asking her, Peggy would you consent to seeing all the sunsets of my life ahead with me and the sunrises and all in between?
His voice was husky and unsure and all he could see were the twin blue grey flecked eyes of hers as they misted and nodded. His heart filled up with a joy and knew that never again would he feel lost as long as she kept that hand in his. Their arms about each other’s waist as they walked up to their table, he saw the footprints left on the sand. Two pairs together going forward in time.