I can’t sleep. I’ve been in country for nearly a week and the body clock still hasn’t reset. I went from being two hours behind you to fifteen hours ahead. The future is pretty cool and I’m hoping to find you a winning Lotto number. But it’s a bit lonely.
This is my last night at a resort that is way beyond my pay scale but which –though it’s far from anything else in the area– has a huge infinity pool that overlooks the sea. It’s 3am, a perfect time to skinny dip, and I float by the edge where the water spills over.
It’s an old cliche but I wish you were here.
After my swim, I wrap on the robe and sit by the edge of the pool with my legs in the water (it’s the dumbest thing but I’m in love with the cotton robes in these places). There’s a half-finished bottle of cold white wine by my side. I’m not used to having a refrigerator in my room and am nearly giddy about it. The room has glasses but I drink from the bottle.
It’s still black out. Fishing boats bob in the sea with lights that wink in and out with the waves — most fisherman here work at night, I’m told. The lights mirror the stars in the sky. I think they do, at least…
A harsh halogen lamp burns down on the pool, so it’s tough to see most of them but I’m pretty sure they’re still there. I, of course, piss and moan about this to myself: “Stupid, well-lit fancy resort!”
But it’s that lamp that creates the magic.
For once, there are no roosters or dogs, no loud jeepnies, taxis, motorcycles, trikes or buses roaring by and I’m starting to really dig this whole ‘remote’ thing.
That kick doesn’t effect the surface of the pool but the wave it creates underneath interacts with the spotlight that I’d just been cursing and spreads these amazing concentric circles of light across the pool floor.
At any moment, anywhere in the world, there is beauty. We just have to look for it. Or stumble into it.
The rings expand, thick at first then thinner and more closely packed. Like the robe, it’s a very simple thing. Like me.
I wish you were here.
With my feet, I play this pool like a musical instrument. My favorite move is ‘small left, small left, big right’. I’m a video game controller, writ large. The circles merge and converge, bouncing off the edges of the pool, the glowing interference patterns doing their dance.
They ripple out, always moving onward, and then fade into nothing.
There is a moment where I have the entire pool going, light rolling out like some crazed fever dream and I catch myself thinking I’m on drugs. (The blood test came back and I wasn’t).
The sky slowly turns violet, then moves into a deep and rising blue and the lamp loses it’s reach. The big light is coming.
I pout. My toy is broken.
I don’t know it yet, but the world isn’t done with me. The wine is gone and I’m starting to wonder if I have any chance of getting back to sleep. It doesn’t look good…
Then the birds come.
They’re small, black swallows about the size of my open hand and they’re here to drink. They don’t land, but merely skim the surface of the pool, taking a sip on each pass. They chirp right before they hit. A prayer? A thanks? A shout of joy? I’ll never know.
At least twenty descend at once, surrounding me, and when they touch the water they leave ripples, more circles that mix and spread. And these don’t need light to shine — they spill out across the surface of the pool. The birds spin and turn and twist in an amazing aerobatic dance, returning again and again to drink their fill, playing the pool far better than I ever could.
This goes on for five minutes and I sit stock-still, afraid to move and ruin the Moment. I’m a statue. Hypnotized. Stunned.
God, I wish you were here.
They fly off, one by one. The last flies right at me, skimming, and drinks just a foot from my knees with a gentle splash. It shoots straight up, mere inches from my face. I feel and hear the flutter of its wings.
It chirps as it passes. A blessing.
And then I finally get it: you were here all along.