“Just another day in paradise, ” Arthur thought to himself as he jumped out of bed. It was finally the weekend and not any other kind of weekend. This one was one of the last weekends of the year in Kigali. The whole year had passed like dust through the hands, packed with adventure, beautiful memories and it’s fair share of pain. “I have my fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly, surely we are due for some good today?” he reassured himself. A young man glued to a foreign country in search for beauty, having left his family years before, he had wandered the vastness of space like an asteroid looking for gravity to bring him home, sometimes he felt like a lost soul. “Search for beauty”, he contemplated as be opened the curtains to welcome the sunlight into his room, “Why is it that people search for what they don’t have? Why do people feel constantly lost? The day you stop dreaming is the day you die”.
“You are not allowed to stand here?”, Arthur motioned eagerly to the creature in front of him. Secretly he grinned trying hard to hide the grin by wearing a serious face. “What do you mean, I am not allowed to stand here?” the creature responded looking surprised. At this moment, he knew he could not carry the joke further, he knew that the ice had been broken and hoped it would all be a rollercoaster. The lady stood comfortably and confidently swayed from side to side to the people ecstatically streaming in and out of the building. She wore a tight fitting trouser, a white blouse, the straps on her backpack pressed down on her shoulders and her eyes seemed as if they concealed a world beyond. Her face, symmetrically beautiful, searched for the person she was about to meet for the first time.
“…white people are not allowed to stand in this position”, he joked, “ hello, I am Arthur, just ignore my crude comments am always hunting for easy icebreakers, nice to meet you!”.
“Hello, ” she smiled, “ I am M, M O”
That day would remain engraved in his memory. How a simple day bloomed and bore fruits that were a recipe for a good memory. Beautiful days do not appear riding white horses but rather as simple series of good moments. He had been introduced to M accidentally via a website that connects travelers around the world. What was planned to be a casual ‘say hello to the locals’ quickly changed as minutes became hours and night slipped into the morning as they talked, danced and talked. Soon they were going to meet again!
It had been three weeks since they met, a thousand messages, tens of pictures exchanged as the year gave in to a new one. Funny how the world has changed, when keeping in touch could be done at the speed of light and being separated did not necessarily mean being disconnected. All this time, he wondered when he was going to see her next, he had been like a man shown the promised world only to be taken away from him and he craved to go back. He wondered what the next meeting would be like, would the stars align, would the clouds dance, would the wind sing, would the moon shine?
She sat comfortably next to him, the bus was full, the air was full too. Crying babies, an aroma of bodily smells, curious stares did not curtail the mood. There were no fairies dancing but past the bus windows the savannah gave into rolling hills, high mountains that stared back. The bus cut through the hills like a python around its prey cutting corners at breakneck speeds to transport eager passengers to the lake side. A sight like this was not common, young black man with a young white woman chatting animatedly with teenage innocence plastered over their faces as they fell perilously in love. A thousand eyes looked at these characters, an occasional cheer for your kind, some disapproving looks trying to decipher what the story was, little did they know, the story was being written. The green hills embracing the terrain looked like the breeding ground for nature, like middle earth, the trees on the roadside swayed and danced in the wind being dragged from side to side in a majestic dance. On the road side, energetic children smiled widely their eyes quickly setting on the uncommon scene on the bus and bursting spontaneously “Muzungu! Give me money!”. We were in Africa!
“This country is beautiful” Arthur exclaimed as they winded down the last hill into Kibuye. The lake was now peeking through occasionally as the bus spiraled down the hill.
“I see the lake” M responded, “ it is beautiful”.
“Have you organized a place to stay?” she enquired curiously.
“For this trip you can be the princess, I will arrange everything, I have been here a hundred times” he answered boldly.
“Really, thank you”, she smiled.
Kibuye was a small lakeside town that was considered to many as the resort haven of the country. An oasis for elite travelers bound to Kigali, here they could let joyful screams into the wild and wait for their echo to return, here they could free their minds from the hustle and bustle and watch swimming cows. To Arthur and M, there were like wild geese and this was their wild. Here they could curiously stare at beauty and hope for it to strike, boy and girl, a curious sight, energized by the touching of hands and scenic landscape, here they were welcome.
The black boy took the white girl to the docks, a platform erected for those seeking peace and tranquility right on the waters of the Kivu. The lake waters evaporated slowly concealing nothing but an outline of the distant hills of the Congo. The waters danced from side to side, hitting the shoreline and the docks as it was dragged by the wind. Sitting at docks at this beautiful sight, Arthur burst into a song
Searching for the peaceful and tranquil,
The waters vast, the hills vast,
The gates of my heart are cringing,
To this creature next to me,
As she talks so animatedly,
Oh my teenage innocence,
What do I do now?
Maybe all we need is touch,
Maybe all we need is touch
Summoning his bravery, he slowly put his leg over hers under the water, curiously caressing the soft skin. Maybe all we need is touch. At this moment, a wave of relief washed over him and a bolt of lightning struck the waters igniting a beautiful dance in the distant hills, a strong wind approached and carried them both away like butterflies among a field of lilies. Flapping his colorful wings he settled back on the dock as the wind quieted down. The day was turning to be a special one and it was just beginning.
It was time to head back, the resident hotel, rooted at the top of a hill like a castle. From the restaurant you could see the vastness of millions of years in geography as hills blocked the view with the lake water peacefully filling the valleys, reflecting the skies. It had seen a thousand generations come and go. A rugged path winded down the hill to water, inviting peculiars to trek it up and down to touch the water.
“Let us go to the water! We will swim in the dark, and enjoy the cool water ” M exclaimed excitedly.
“A series of good moments” Arthur thought to himself as he replied “Yes”. At the least, they would have to take off some clothes.
A lot of people ask why it is that young people rebel. Why would we want to swim in the dark? Why would we go all the way down to the hill? To the young mind, there is a hunger, a search for the haphazard serendipitous that sometimes change our lives forever after. What a wonder it is.
The moon was shining bright, the waters quietly danced to the swaying winds, the stars aligned as they lay in the grass. “Norah Jones” that mellow post-jazz Indian singer mellowly cut through the night soothing their ears. The slope of the hill inclined them to stare at the waters beyond and the occasionally echo reached their ears with villagers planning their fishing trip the day after. Nature did not spare any beauty, crickets joined in with the erratic croak and Orion’s belt dragged slowly across the sky. The world had conspired to make a beautiful moment.
As they lay there, the four forces of nature boldly dragged them onto a collision course, as they slowly slipped into the moment. Arthur glanced over his side and there she lay, with the moonlight illuminating her face and her lips inviting. He knew this was his moment as he slid over and put his lips on hers. The crickets staring, croaked up a song as they kissed
There’s nothing like a first kiss,
That momentary touching of lips,
And your whole body explodes into a fire,
Excited bodies craving to be intertwined like twigs,
Searching for the lovers sweet spots,
Cuddle me close, my love,
For quickly I’m falling, falling for you,
Oblivious to the world around,
Oooh, not too far, back up the hill,
There’s nothing like a first kiss
To be continued