The wind shifts on the balcony, carrying whispers of arrogance and playfulness and spontaneity toward me, washing over my face, cooling my skin.
I study the image in the looking-glass, bemused by the foreigner I see.
She is a tourist. She is a wanderer.
She is human.
The scathings of travel shows clear upon her face, like a soldier weathered to the bone from war. Skin bronzed by the sun. Hair lightened and whipped by the wind, salted by the sea. Body washed over with the scent of a thousand cliffs, deserts, flowers, beaches.
I am lost. I am fragrant.
She remembers home. Casts a longing backward glance at the trail left behind her, littered with images, with memories. We were warm, inviting faces huddled around a crackling fire. We were intimate conversation dissolving into the silence and darkness of a room. We played artist and philosopher on pleasant, sun-kissed days on patchwork blankets on grass and colorful and vibrant markets. We bathed carelessly in both sun and cold and sparkling water of springs and parks. We were sweaty and exuberant in our dancing and singing until 2 a.m., the hour when all our voices became hoarse with joy.
By 4 a.m. we still found strength, made room for more.
Swinging her gaze forward to her surroundings, she realizes that joy has persisted, but transformed, becoming more unrecognizable. It is wider, more expansive. It has blossomed. It has shriveled. It has hardened. It has softened.
Of course, the view has changed. The looking-glass tells all, her ailment lashed clearly upon her face, her eye. Her vision is encased in a tangled, watery web, shrouded by an unseen, microscopic force. Blurred, reddened and sobbing, her eye casts a look backward at the trail behind her, full of doubt and uncertainty.
The other eye, clear and focused, perseveres to read these beautifully formed words, to unapologetically soak in the mountains and splendour of a magnificent reef, to dwell on the lovely, soulful, darkened shadows of her two ever-present, constant companions, to imagine a secret home and haven by a beach, lined with palm trees, a sailing opera house, a white-blue harbour. This eye dreams and streaks forward through imagination, like a meteorite brilliant over a desert night sky, and toward an ever-unfolding horizon before her.
Yet both eyes see that the risk has paid off thus far, both in the visible world and in the invisible soul.
And in both realms, she rejoices.
So she rests for now, offers up a breath of gratitude, of hope.