Friday, 4 March 2011
He was sitting on the white sand beach in a lotus position facing the sea. He is too close to the waterline but seems unmindful of the splashes of the waves completely soaking his white floral divers shorts. He is naked from the waist up, exposing a heavily tanned chest. His unruly, curly long black hair is tied together by a neon coloured rubber band and fell about 2-3 inches below his shoulder. He has a swimmer's body. Very broad shoulders, wide chest, tapering down in a v-shape into tight abs. He does not seem to be bothered by the wild yelps and laughter from the kids playing on the sand nearby. He was staring into the sea, absent-mindedly playing with the wet sand with his hands, forming and re-forming them and letting the soft waves wash it down. His thoughts are distant as his eyes showed a certain aloofness, remoteness. He was thinking about her again.
For Miguel, in all his 32 years of existence in the world, she is the most beautiful and amazing creature he had ever laid eyes upon. He had always held a vision in his head of the perfect woman. This picture of the perfect woman in his mind has kept him hopeful on his darkest hours and had kept him dreaming that someday, he would find her.
It was a perfect sunset that fateful dusk when he saw her walking along the beach. She was alone. Miguel was fixing the boards after a long busy day with the tourists in the resort all wanting to become surfers and aqua gliders. He wasn't sure if it was just a vision he saw back then because his heart stopped. She was breathtaking. With her shape silhouetted against the dusky skies. That moment he just knew.
She was more than a sight to behold, she was also sweet and disarming. When she smiled at him, even her eyes smiled. He just had to meet her and he did. They spent the next days together every time at the beach. More than half a dozen times, they shared their meals together; two of which were dinners with her he will never forget. These two dinners ended with soft moments with her and a chance to kiss her soft lips that tasted of honey and cinnamon. The stars never shone brighter for Miguel, he believed he had found the one that would give meaning and essence to his life.
But she was only 22, a whole decade younger than him. She told him about her dreams and what she wanted to become. She told him of countries and places she had travelled to with her parents that Miguel only read about. For Miguel it was and always been, just his humble white sand beach, and a mother and two younger siblings he had to send to school.
In ways he could not explain, he envied her a bit for her earnestness and ardor. He had successfully managed his appetite by keeping his cravings in check. There were more banal concerns he needed to attend to. And yet, he believed, she is the one.
On the day she told him their family had to head back home (and home to her was a distant region he has only seen in a map), his world collapsed. Even if he knew that the whole enchantment was fleeting, he still shuddered at the idea it was just too soon.
In two days, she said, "we will be heading home." Her eyes were troubled and mournful. It was the first time he saw her without that radiance in her eyes. He yearned to ask her of her feelings and longed to tell her of his. He was daunted at the possibility of a straight rejection because she had always been elusive of intimacy and she would always recoil at anything that went beyond a kiss. He was afraid that she must be holding someone else in her heart and to be told of this truth directly would be agonizing for him. He held back, not because he wanted to. He longed for her. He ached for her. But the disquietude the separation posed was too distressful and terrifying.
She left the island just as quietly as she came into his life. Miguel sits at the beach alone, looking at the sunset. That morning, she said goodbye.
It was no ordinary sunrise that day. It was magnificent. The sun was breaking through the horizon and casting light on her auburn hair. Her green eyes stared intently into Miguel's. He couldn't say anything. His heart was beating too fast and he was holding his breath too long. He just wanted to hold her close to him but he couldn't move a muscle. He just stood there, trance-like, staring back at her with his dark brown eyes. She walked to him instead and held both of his hands. And then she spoke.
"I will be leaving in a few hours. I wanted to see you to say goodbye. No, I have to see you before I leave this unbelievably wonderful island. Nobody owns my heart, Miguel. Nobody did. And as I leave this place you love so much, I leave my heart with you. Maybe someday, maybe soon enough, I cannot promise, I will be back. By then, I would know if I am worthy to take your heart with me and wherever I will go. But keep your heart Miguel because it is a good heart. Just promise me that whoever you give it to, deserves your heart's sincerity, kindness and love. But please take mine, it will always belong to you."
And with that, she leaned closer to him and tiptoed to give him a kiss that made his knees turn into seaweeds. And she whispered, "Te quiero."
He was too stunned. She had long walked away when he got back to his sensibilities. He run towards the hotel where she stayed and caught the bus navigating its way out of the bay area. And he saw her, and she saw him looking through the partially tinted window, and all he could do was mouth "I love you". She smiled. That disarming smile. And she blew him a kiss.
Miguel sits on the sandy beach watching another wondrous sunset on his island, and he can practically see how slowly the sun disappears to welcome a new night. The first night he will spend alone without her company. He closes his eyes and sighs, as he tries to remember the softness of her skin, the smell of her hair, the sound of her laughter and the way she wrinkled her nose when he teased her. He hopes in his heart that she knows. He hopes that she knows that she had owned his heart since the first moment he laid eyes on her, on that fateful dusk, when there was a perfect sunset.