Monday, June 27, 2011

All Dressed Up - In a Smile

With the door closed again, I feared that my brain would be so a'goggle with thoughts of the stranger I had just met that sleep would elude me. It was direly needed though, and I surprisingly drifted off almost immediately. I needn't have feared forgetting him though, as when I woke a luxurious smile still lingered lazily across my face. My brain might have needed sleep, but it vividly remembered the image of my new friend  Neale. Oh sweet memories indeed. I stretched cat-like in my little cot, then jumped out of bed to hurriedly start my day.

Once upright, I glanced sadly through my backpack to see what I could wear. Everything had been worn almost threadbare. There wasn’t much there that could impress or hope to turn the eye of the South African lad, whom I had promised to meet that afternoon. There was nothing that could be done about it though, so I showered, then slipped into a gypsy skirt – the prettiest thing I had to offer. My hair hadn’t been cut in many months and any makeup I might have had at the beginning of my trip was long since gone. All I could do to gussy this time worn traveler up, was brush my hair and put on my sparkliest smile. That would have to do.

And you know? I think it was perfect!

I found Neale downstairs in the common area of the hostel waiting for me. While I hoped he hadn’t been waiting long, I also secretly hoped that he felt his wait would be worthwhile. We headed out into a bright afternoon and leisurely meandered through markets, side streets and wherever our feet took us. Conversation flowed between us, like we were long-lost friends. His sense of humour had me giggling like a school girl and his dazzling smile lit my cheeks with a natural blush that money just cannot buy. I forgot all about my tired appearance and fairly bubbled with life again. He seemed honest and truthful, and was a breath of fresh air after some of the conniving men that had tried to woo my hand in other ports. I was amazed by how comfortable I was in his presence and had no urge to leave it any time soon.

So when he asked if I was interested in stopping for a drink, I was more than happy to oblige. We ducked into a little local pool hall and ordered a pitcher of beer. Yes, I am not quite the purely angelic damsel and I do enjoy a cold pint or two. Neale seemed to approve my choice though and poured us some frosty libations with a flourish. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had felt so pretty and doted upon in such a sweet manner. Even before the alcohol started to have its effect, I knew that I was interested in spending more than just this afternoon with Neale.

While time would tell what our fortune would be, today we basked in flirtatious ways. Apparently it was obvious too, as when a young man stopped to chat for a moment, he introduced himself, then asked for Neale’s name. He then proceeded to ask Neale what his wife’s name was, and turned to me! Ha! A lovely thought, but we quickly explained that we had just met that day. He was surprised, but predicted that it would not be the only day that we would spend with one another. I secretly hoped he was right. The chemistry that flared between Neale and I was pretty heady. By the time we had played several games of pool with Nimesh, our new local friend, and tottered out of the bar many hours later, Neale and I were arm in arm. I was pretty happy to be there too. 

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