On one of those balmy evenings that happen so effortlessly in Goa I am out on my trusty, slightly rusty scooter whizzing along a quiet road lined on each side every few metres by coconut palms. Each time I pass a a tree the sound waves of my bike bounce back at me. I think back in time, transported to motorways in the UK, thousands of miles travelled on them, I remember driving with an open window in the fast lane, the sound of my car rebounding back from the metal uprights of the central reservation. All those years working, all those miles driving, was that a a dream or a different life, maybe it never really happened at all. Now here in the Goa night the palm trees are speaking in whispers, you are here, you are here.
There is a pleasure there in the darkness, the bustle & commotion of the day abates, the noise and heat recede and in their place the night turns velvet black. The scooter and I grow into each other & we venture through that velvet night, soaking in it, becoming part of it. The temperature is sublimely perfect & I begin to lose all sense of where I end and everything else begins. I like the way that feels very much.
To cherry top the cake of contentment the road, a sleeve covered by a canopy of coconut palms gives way every once in a while to open night sky and there peppered across a jet black sky is a blanket of stars glittering like specks of gold dust across the firmament. It doesn’t get better than that does it?
Of course India likes to show you that just when you think you know something perfectly well it shows you something else entirely. For a while now I’ve felt that relationships and me just dont work, well let’s be honest, women & me don’t work. Of course I know that for the most part it’s all my stuff, rarely theirs, but rather than make any one elses life difficult, or mine for that matter I thought it better to just avoid women, and so that’s what I decided to do.
And then I meet a woman, there’s something I find magnetic about her, we spend time together, we go out on rusty the scooter, visiting beaches, lakes, up into the hills at sunset, and all the way with this beautiful woman on the back of my bike I am wanting closeness with her, intimacy. It crosses my mind to drive fast on the bike and break quickly, my man plan to make the distance between her and me disappear. And then I decide it is a slightly ridiculous idea, I want her to decide, to make the move from the separation of pillion to bike partner.
As the evening draws in her arms fold around me, I ride with one hand on the handlebars, the other over hers as they in turn are clasped around me.
And on a beach at nightime we are walking, surf to one side, the beach shack lights in the other, we pause and draw close to each other, the two of us wrapped in the velvet night and then in each other. The feel of her body against mine, did I really mean I would avoid women? Like that was really true, this woman I want to know, I crave, desire, I don’t have the words to describe the feeling, I want intimacy with her. I feel my heart racing, I place her hand on my chest. You know, she says, If we sleep together it will change everything?
I don’t reply to her words, a reply seems superfluous.
I am here now, she is here now, what else matters?
Her flight is booked and a few days later she departs, in the early morning as the flight takes off a line or two from a Shelley poem comes into my head: The pathway down your soul to mine, I did not know, soul meets soul on a lovers lips. And as that plane moves away I wonder if I will ever see her again, maybe the future has already decided, if that is so so then there is nothing to do other than let it unfold as it will.