She points to one spot “Please, set it here”. The boy does what he is asked and sets the huge parasol right there. After she has paid him, she quickly installs herself under the parasol, spreading the mat on the sand, taking the Walkman and the book out of her bag. Then she lies on the mat and starts to read.
The sun shines so brightly this afternoon. She is reading under the parasol until a Mediterranean looking guy approaches her. He asks “What are you reading?”. She shows him the book’s cover, not wanting to start a conversation. He is persistent though. He asks her other questions. To be polite she answers him but somehow she feels like he is checking her out. And she does not feel comfortable with it.
On the corner of her eye she sees a Japanese looking guy with his two friends. He is eating a whole Pineapple on a stick. He nods politely, she nods back. Then she carries on reading again. The Mediterranean who appears to be Italian mumbles something like “Can I see you tonight?” She acts like she does not hear him. Not interested. She sets the volume of her Walkman higher, it is Chet Baker’s Almost Blue. She continues to read.
At that time her friends have arrived. They are her travel mates, 4 girls. They talk to the Japanese looking guy. One of her friends shouts to her “Would you believe him if he tells us he comes from The Netherlands?”. She shrugs her shoulders. All she wants to do is enjoying her time on a beach, getting a nice tan and finishing the book. Apparently it is not possible.
She asks the guy “Is it true that you are from The Netherlands?”. He answers “Yes but my dad is born in Atambua, Timor”. “Oops, I mistook you as a Japanese, sorry” she says. “No problem, you are not the first. My mother is a Chinese descent, I inherited this Oriental look from her. It is quite difficult to understand but I’m an Eurasian, an Indo. My dad is a mix of Swiss, Italy, German, Chinese and Indonesian” he explains. She adds “Oh, I know who Indos from The Netherlands are, mixed races from your ancestors, right?”. He stands up and says “I am coming your way if you don’t mind. I want to talk in a normal volume instead of screaming”. Walking towards her she now realizes he is tall, about 6 feet.
He comes to sit next to her and sees the cassettes she has in her open beach bag. “Oh, I see we both like the same music, GRP, Grover Washington, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Sergio Mendes, if you don’t mind me peeking in your bag. It is open you know. Nice collection for a young girl like you”. He gets her attention now. He offers her his hand “What is your name?”. She also gives him a hand by saying her name. So the conversation starts and continues from music to movies, book, history and lifestyle.
After 2 hours the Italian guy waves to her and whispers something which sounds like “I need to get back to my room, bella”. She just smiles at him. The parasol boy also comes and take the parasol away with him. Her rent hours have passed.
Meanwhile the sun sets beautifully, coloring the sky with its orangey tones. She and the Indo Dutchie both grasp their breath to the last minutes before the sun actually sinks behind the horizon. Other people start to clap, so do they. They look at each other and right there, they share a moment. Before it gets awkward she breaks the ice by saying “Aren’t you going back to your hotel?”. He says “Nah, my buddies are ok without me. We haven’t finished talking yet, have we?”. “Nope, we have not. Ok, I stay here too” she confirms.
It is getting dark now and all of the sudden he says “May I ask how old you are?”. She gives him a confused look “Why do you want to know?”. “You look young but you carry yourself maturely”. She laughs “Really?” without telling him her age. He does not repeat the question either. So they pick up the conversation and keep on talking. They appear to have many more in common than music and movies. During this conversation he never tries to woo her so she genuinely feels at ease with him.
After a while it gets really dark. The sea breeze turns chilly. She needs to go back to her hotel now before her friends start to worry. He helps her with collecting her stuffs and putting them in her bag. Spontaneously she says “The day after tomorrow is my 20th birthday. I will celebrate it at a beach club not far from here. Are you coming? You can take your two buddies with you”. He answers “Ok. I’ll be there. What time, around 9 pm?”. “Yes, I’ll see you then”. She gives him the club’s name on a small note and waves him good-bye.
To be continued
Sunset pic is from Wikimedia Commons