He’s sitting in the car. He has lifted the back door of his big Chevrolet – gosh, that car is huge! – and he just sits there, in the open boot, his legs crossed under him, with his cool sunglasses, and his cool hat, and his blonde, thick hair gathered in a pony tail, and his yellow sleeveless shirt, and I remember him flying on that board, pulled by his kite, and he’s so sexy I could cry with the same tears one should share over a breathtaking sunset. Or sunrise.
I stop on the concrete pavement to get the sand off my feet and I could feel (oh, whom am I kidding, I’m imagining things) his gaze on my back, on the big hole in the red dress which reveals my back, full of freckles and missing a good, wet kiss… It’s a nice beach dress, crazy red and soft fabric. I then do what I know best: walk to my car, open the door, hop in and drive away. Third time is a winner, I’m thinking, though I know for sure I’ll only look at him from behind my sunglasses and then dream of him while I’m doing the dishes.
I could tell you about Joburg, if there were anything to say about it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it felt … interesting to be in Africa, and I wish I could have felt it like Meryl Streep in OUT OF AFRICA. If only there was a nice Robert Redford-look-like guy in Hilton. Kidding.
The driver who waited for me at the airport was supposed to have a red tie, and we were told to be careful, and I know I have faith in humanity and so far, so good; the guy who approached me knew my name and everything, but his tie was black, with red hearts.
Apart from the Lion Park, the rest of the African adventure can be summarized very easily:
- food court
I know that maybe you would have anticipated something like…
He looked at me while sipping from his glass of white wine. He’s in his early 50s, slim, probably tall, business suit, visiting South Africa, busy with his daily meetings, hoping to wind out in the evening. I’m on my way to the gym and somehow I know I’ll be seeing him there later on.
And bla-bla-bla, sorry to disappoint you, there was no guy, just a lot of meetings and running, nice food and, ok, the Lion Park. Driving through sleeping lions, petting some cubs, so indifferent and mighty important in their little universe that, for a moment, I wanted to be one of them, laughing at the meerkats, and I swear they laughed back, something like, ha, ha, who’s funnier?… The light green fields, the sky, far up and everywhere above us, a few puffy clouds and a serene peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. Coming from the ground I was walking on, infiltrating through my soles, up my feet, giggling with my knees, breezing out around the pelvic region, scared to get to my heart, eventually surrendering, embracing the myocardium strongly, like a long waited hug, like two lovers who haven’t seen each other in a long time and… I knew, back there and then, that something had happened to Luca. I couldn’t do anything, of course, there were still more than 24 hours before I was to go home and I promised myself I’d try not to think of anything related to him.
Ok, I called him! He did not pick up.
I texted him, then in the evening, when I was back in the hotel room, I emailed him. No reply.
Last night in Joburg. I went down to the hotel bar, it was better to stay away from the computer. Or telephone.
My colleague, Dean, is also here. I don’t fancy him too much on a regular basis, but tonight is better than nothing.
Dean looks at me, smiles, points me to the chair next to him. I sit down and order a beer. I’m so puzzled by Luca’s silence that… Oh, I don’t want to be melodramatic here! It’s my last evening in Joburg, eventually the hotel could be anywhere in the world, so, let me have that beer, think I’m in London and tomorrow I’m invited to have dinner with the Queen!
Back in Dubai I realize Luca has moved out. He’s not in the apartment, his things are gone, the socks and the tooth brush, and whatever else he had here, no good bye note, nothing. I don’t know how I feel about it. I flip a coin and decide to go to the beach. Where the flying surfer makes me forget for a moment that I should be sad and suffer. I’m not sad. I don’t have time for suffering. So what if he left? He didn’t even have the courtesy to say good bye, or ‘see you on the other side’, or whatever. So what?
Ok, we met afterwards in the gym, once, and he couldn’t even look into my eyes. He said he had some things to figure out and he needed to concentrate on the things that are important to him. It was not the first time I wasn’t on someone’s priority list, so I just smiled and walked away.
And I kept coming back to the beach, the young surfer was a nice picture I used to imprint on my retina and then play it behind my close eyelids.