~
The sand on my feet was heaven, the book in my hands something between time travel and life on other planets. The place, Gazi Beach and the book Bittersweet. I was lost in awe, swallowed by the glow of the big orange ball cast across the ocean. I notice a figure approaching. Oh well, a frame of a man. He was a 5’6, light skinned mellow fellow with kinky brown hair. I’d probably guess he was a mullato, or a genetic misappropriation. Either way, my chakras were far from peopling. I just needed to unwind, and spend time with my demons. Maybe that way I’d find peace.

He walks up to me, and throws his lean figure on the sand just next to me. Shauna Niqueiest was unraveling, grace to me. I was in that place where she thought, as a human first and a person second you had to give yourself grace. I should give this guy grace too. I pinstripe the bookmark, and put it beside me. I turn to the mellow guy.

‘Do you have a light?’ he agilely asks.

My mouth drops ajar. And my mind is racing with a palooza of thoughts. I was making a list on my head, the top ten things that would make me look like a smoker. Grace. I remind myself. I shrug my shoulder, I travel alone. I’d definitely think I’m a smoker.

I turn.

‘No sir. Wish I did. ‘

‘You sound offended. Is smoking such a bad thing?’

‘No. Not at all. But the assumption that a lady, set to be married in less than a months time smokes is. ‘

He laughs. A light laugh. Run-sucks his pocket, and a lighter shows up.

‘My lucky day. Does you getting married have to do with anything?’

‘I don’t know. ‘

‘Why are you alone today?’

‘Some alone time I guess. Plus look at the view. Isn’t it breathtaking. ‘

‘I’d kill to have it. I’d prolly abscond my own wedding to have this view. I’d miss my chemo for this.’

‘Chemo?’

‘What does chemo have to do with anything? Let’s talk self indulgence. ‘

I’m shaken inside. How callously a mortal man would throw around a word like chemo without a single care in the world. The juxtaposition. While still holding a cigarette.

‘For me, it’s travel. ‘

‘Makes two of us. ‘

‘Are you traveling alone too?’

Another light laugh, then a smirk on his chapped lips.

‘Yes. We are all traveling alone on this earth. We always are. ‘

‘But we can walk each other home?’

He passes me the smoke. I’m jittery and dismissive. But it’s no tobacco. It is just another joint of self indulgence. My hands shaking, the little inner voice playing a little god.

He laughs. A hearty laugh. I smile. At least I made him laugh. I did light up this moment. Just a little.

‘Oh lady. You hold it like a pencil. ‘

‘Better? ‘

He roars into a deep laughter. His frail figure rolling in the white stand, while I just sat there, thinking about this journey.

‘In-genuine!’

‘Huh?’

‘We are in-genuine if we embrace the idea we can actually walk each other home. What’s the book? ‘

‘Bittersweet Shauna Niqueist.’

‘Sounds interesting. But I can tell you what it means, the bittersweet experience that life is. This is probably the last sunset I’ll see this lifetime.’

I’m fumbling with the word sorry. But for a guy with his agility his life was nothing to feel sorry about. He’d probably lived a full life. He understood the beauty of the beach, a good book and the sunset.

He gulps.

‘If we can actually walk each other home, I would spend my last few days on earth with a human I love. And for someone who’s about to tie the knot, you wouldn’t be running away. ‘

Defensive, I retort.

‘I’m not running. It’s a mere act of self indulgence. ‘

‘If that’s the lie you go with, I will give you grace. And you should give yourself grace. ‘

‘Have you? ‘ I ask almost impatiently.

‘Of course I have. I came down here for self indulgence. I have nothing more to live for. For me it’s an ending, for you it’s a beginning. If it’s deep enough, you will probably walk each other home. ‘