To Chinua

My friends don’t want to come because there is no bathroom here.»We climb the rocks, we find a place far away from the huts and it is a wonderful experience to shit feeling the breeze of the sea, feeeling that you can be surprised by somebody»

They don’t agree. At least some of them. It’s difficult to convince a group if not everybody likes the idea of spending the weekend without a bathroom. I always liked to spend the summer here. The day of my arrival, I used to leave the shoes somewhere around and do not get them until I left to the city.

I like to climb the rocks, to swim, and to feel the surface of the stones under the sea, under my toes. This must be happiness. I climb the big rock and jump into the water. No limits. This is America, Asia is somewhere across the ocean. Can you feel it? This is freedom.

At night, just the stars. I didn’t like to sleep in the huts, I preferred to get a mattress outside, at the plaza. There were some trucks parked in the main plaza. My cousin brought some tapes. It was a comedian. Full of bad words, full of nice jokes. Everybody laughs. Everybody goes to sleep early, there were not too many things to do after dusk. Maybe to play cards. Maybe. We used to play cards in the morning, over the mattress in front of one of the huts. We were five or maybe six cousins. The youngest was the wisest, nobody could beat her. Perhaps she always tricked us, perhaps. I preferred to go to the sea. To help my uncles to get urchins, lapas or barquillos. I loved to eat the orange meat of the barquillos. Juicy! To feel the salt in my mouth. I could be here for months, just swimming and eating sea food.

When I was 16 I met this girl. I saw her during many summers but she was just a little girl with big black eyes. That summer she was bigger. And her long black hair was beautiful. The summer before she asked me what I was reading and I showed her my hulky book: The War of the End of the World. She smiled. I think there were those teeth which trapped me. Next day we went to catch some bait to the sandy beach next to ours. I was driving and she jumped into the car, to sit next to me, to show me that she could be funny. On the beach we walked on the sand next to each other. She was wearing these fantastic tanga as a leopard skin. I was instantly attracted. We men are so simple. I liked her and she liked me.

She taught me the next morning how to whistle with two fingers. I kissed her over a stone, on our way to fish. None of us were wearing shoes. You don’t need to wear shoes to meet the woman of your dreams. Was she? She waked me up every morning with her wet kisses. Her tongue was alive, toyful, full of tricks. It was a gift. I learned many things with her. I played cards and next to the light of the candles we kissed each other bodies in silence. She sent her sisters-she was the oldest of four daughters-to the beach, just to let me weight her breasts in her bedroom. I can remember the smell of the earth, the breeze of the dawn when she came to tell me hi. To embrace me, to smile together. That lasted the whole summer.

A year after that I met her on the street of the town. I haven’t see her since the summer and I knew she was pregnant. I knew also that the policeman that she loved was married and had run away. She became heavy, round, beautiful. I missed her black eyes and our whistle lessons. I missed our summer. The winter is a horrible place to be, at least in these small towns of the Coast. There is nothing intelligent to say during the winter. There are no reasons to explain. That’s why I looked at her and said nothing. That’s why I’m telling you this story. Winter is for discontent.

When we were watching each other and I was trying to avoid the sight of her round belly, a woman clad in purple walked in front of us. «Where there once was a fire, ashes remain,» she said, and kept walking on the sand towards who knows where. I could not recognize her. Perhaps I did not know her. In the town people look to me as if they knew me. I just see them during my summers, sometimes I never see anybody but the sea. I am a city boy. I heard the voice of this strange woman, mixed with the sound of the breeze and the olive leaves. The wind whistles stronger that her during the winter. My woman looked at me, she said bye and that was it. Could we had a better end?

There is always difficult to find among my friends a group to come here. Not too many people like to spend the weekend in a place with no bathrooms. I would like to meet her again, but I’m afraid that everything is different now. But maybe one day, hidden among the stones, feeling the breeze, she will surprise me.