I would wake up at dawn and hear the rain, as it hit the cement, the windowsill, as it paved its way through canals and sewers, as it slid down orange and yellow leaves. The air would be crisp, I would bask in the warmth of my sheets; I would curl my body around his, and watch him sleep. Time would be irrelevant, less important than a fruit fly in butter; It would cease, stand still until I finished taking in; the smoothness of his skin, the ash pink of his lips and the peacefulness of his sunder.
Then, I would wake him. We would talk; he, in a sleepy tone, a hand around my waist, I, in love and joyful. We would listen to the rain fall, and smell its muskiness, the earth’s wetness and the grass, the whole world, opening, absorbing the gift of life.Then we would leave our bedroom; leave the comfort of our sheets; the blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night and light and the half-light. We would shower, get dressed, and walk down the street, hand in hand. The rain would have ceased, replaced by its sister, the Sun.It would be warm enough to get a tan, yet cool enough to enjoy a day outside.We would find a modest restaurant, that doesn’t lack in decor nor personality, we would sit on its terrace and the waiter would ask us, in a beautiful Parisian accent, ‘Quelque chose pour commencer?’ I would order a café au lait and he’d take his usual; café noir, une crème.
Paris? Everything tastes better there; baguette, croissant, coffee, even the air has a sweet, filling zest. We would eat crepes; topple them with strawberries and syrup, blueberries and whipped cream, cherry marmalade and butter. Our stomachs would have no limits; we would eat as much as we pleased. The breakfast would be, of course, on the house. In fact, for just that day, Paris would know no currency. I would have left my bag at home; no cell phone, no agenda, no wallet to remind me of my responsibilities and obligations.
I would wear a red dress, backless, light and breezy. I would walk, barefoot, because there would be no worries about shards, or pebbles; the streets would be covered in sand. Right after our breakfast; we would walk around the corner and find ourselves on the Morondava beach in Madagascar. We would dive into the sea; leave our clothes by some rocks near the water. We would swim, and dive, hold our breaths for hours. I would collect sea shells; but only the ones that look more precious than diamonds. I would find them at the bottom of the sea; swim amongst the dolphins, and even atop white sharks. We wouldn’t be afraid nor have reason to fear; He would be Adam, and I, Eve; the animals would be our friends, not the ingredients in our recipes.
Of course, we would swing by Congo Kinshasa, to visit our families. I would play with my sister, Ote’s five children. They would hold unto my waist and neck, call me tantine. Ote would tell me ‘it’s nice to finally meet you, little sister.’And I would explain, how expensive is a ticket to anywhere in Africa, and there never seems to be a right time to take a month or two off, just to visit, and eat, and enjoy Congo’s burning sun. ‘But I am here today, the perfect day, and it is with you I want to share it.’ She would meet him and agree, that I have made a good choice, that he is as kind, as beautiful, as intelligent a man that could ever be.
Then, I would visit South Africa, and dwell in the depths of Johannesburg. I would eat plantain and braiis, visit the land of the Zulus. Although, it is estimated that 20% of the population is HIV positive and there are millions of orphans, I will ease their pain, if only for a day. Because, on that perfect day, there will be no preoccupations for medication or lack of treatment. We will all be healthy, our bellies full, smiling faces and contented souls. I would take his hand and we would turn the corner, travel to Poland, to a little town named Pleszew, before dinner time. He would meet my Babcia, the strongest, most beautiful woman I have ever known. I would tell him I hope our children have her blue eyes, I would tell him I hope to, one day, possess her kindness and strength.
We would eat potatoes, sausages, pickles and Bigos. We would go into town and get fresh pastry from Fokta. After the meal, my Babcia would tell me to go out back and garner mint leaves for tea. I would show him the meadow, where my little sister fell on a brick and split her upper eye, wide open. I remember the blood, which seeped on my mother’s white sweater. I would visit my friends and their families, my cousins, aunts and uncles. I would ride at the back of Mateusz’ motorcycle, attend Paulina’s dance recital. I would stop by the Kaszuby and stare at the endless, bottomless sea. Then, we would go back to Paris, to our little studio in the Quartier Latin. I would heat up water and let the mint leaves infuse. I would turn off the lights and lit up a dozen candles, the windows wide open and again, the rain at the windowsill. We would talk until midnight, then go back into bed, hope that someday soon; we could do it all over again.
Traveling Just Got Easier
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