The row boat was a brilliant white, with teak wood gunwales, and shining brass holders for the oars. The man rowing the boat had a medium brown complexion, short coarse black hair, a broad smiling face, and was wearing an expansive white banded collar shirt with pants of the same color that were equally baggy. Whether he spoke no English or was just politely mute he just smiled and rowed and said nothing to us.
We are sitting on the stern seat of the little boat. You have on an off white sundress, with inch wide straps that offset your brown shoulders beautifully. The dress is a study in simplicity, flowing and light but with a high waist and a scoop neck that showed off your figure deliciously. If you looked closely you can see the fabric is richly embroidered with flowers with thread that matched the whiteness of the dress perfectly. In your hand is a broad rimmed straw hat, the breeze a too strong for you to wear it. You gaze out on the world through th Oakley Sunglasses I bought you. You like a queen upon her throne; serene.
I am wearing an un-tucked, generously cut white linen shirt with a soft collar and naturally colored linen pants. I wear a Panama Hat along with Maui Jim aviator sunglasses to protect me from the sun.
Neither of us are wearing shoes.
On the seat between us and our pilot is a basket of fruit full of mangos, papayas, oranges, star fruit, bananas and kiwis. Next to it, a tulip shaped terra cotta container holding crushed ice, a bottle of Veuve Clicot, and two flutes buried to their stems.
We hold hands, content not to speak although I can tell you are itching to say something about my hat. Instead we take stock of our surroundings. Our little boat is traveling through a half moon shaped lagoon, bordered by a narrow strip of very white fine sand, and beyond that a jungle of palm, mangrove and banyan trees. The water of this little bay is crystal clear and the sandy bottom reflects the light back up and gives the sea an exquisite hue of pale turquoise. You can see small schools of fish darting across the bottom.
Several hundred yards in front of us is a structure built on thin stilts, standing two meters above the sea. The construction looks primitive with a thatched roof, bamboo walls and wood decking. The type of structure that has been dotting places like this for thousands of years. You lean over to ask me a question but I gently put a finger to your lips. I thought I knew the questions you wanted to ask and I wanted to answer them in private. You understand and for the rest of our boat journey we enjoy the serenity that the sea often provides. .
We pull alongside a beautifully maintained dark wood dock that is connected to the bungalow. Our guide expertly ties off the boat and with a gesture of his hand asked us to disembark. He follows, with skill born of repetition, with both the basket of fruit and the champagne. We are led up a narrow ramp with a rope rail to a semi circular deck that had a small round table, 4 chairs and a couple of chez lounges. The champagne is ensconced on the table and as the deck had a beautiful view of the ocean, backlit with the late afternoon sun, I thought this a beautiful place to toast our arrival.
However, before we can enjoy the Champagne our guide provides a tour of our bungalow. He walks to a pair of sliding glass doors and opens and with a borad them, sweep of his arm invites us in. We walked in and reminded at once of the axiom “Never judge a book by its cover. From the outside this place looks like it was designed for those living a subsistence life. The interior is anything but that. Instead, it is modern and would look comfortable in any 5+ star hotel. The beams of the ceilings as well as the floor were polished teak. The king size bed was tucked into the corner of the room. Its frame made of some exotic wood that I could not identify and above it a gauze like mosquito netting that I was quite sure was more for show than real use. There is a small sitting area for indoor meals, a couch that looked suitable for napping, a desk overlooking the sea, and a full range of stereo equipment but, happily, no television. Ceiling fans move in unison off a single motor and a belt drive.
The bathroom is a marvel. Even though it was open air, with just a roof and no walls. It is completely modern with granite tops, a glassed-in shower, and a tub that resembles a diagonally cut egg.
Our guide shows us how to use the telephone to call for room service, …apparently they would row it out to us… how to use the stereo , and where the light switches are. Bowing and without ever saying a word he leaves and rows off into the and then bowed, walked out to the boat and began rowing in the direction in which we had come from bathed in the deep yellow light of late afternoon.
You walk across the room putting your hat on the table, shoot me a devilish grin and run across the room and dive onto the bed. I follow with less grace landing with a bump that nearly knocks you to the floor. Giggling like school children you snuggle in, resting your head against my chest you ask “Where are we?”
“We are in the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean.”
“It is que linda. Like you would read about in a magazine or a travel show. One of those places that you read about maybe even ear mark the page but that you never think you will ever get to…..
I am laughing. “Its just that is exactly how I found this place. A while ago, maybe five or six years ago, I was on airplane, on some endless business trip and someone had left a copy of one of those magazines in the seat back. I didn’t feel like reading my book so I began to read the magazine. When I got to the article about this placed in literally looked like heaven on earth so I tore it out of the magazine and put it in a file I keep of places that I want to go. I promised myself I would take you here someday….
“I am incredibly grateful for that magazine. I feel like I could stay here forever.”
I replied. “ I am grateful for you….but for right now why don’t we go out onto the deck and open the bottle of champagne. The sun is about to set and the clouds are pink and orange and the sea is changing colors right before our eyes
We walk onto to the deck and I open the bottle of Champagne. Pouring us both glasses I hand you yours and say “Here is to the providence that brought us together and the providence that has brought us here. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t thank the all mighty for bringing you into my life nor a morning I wake up without realizing the blessing of your love. Thank you for being here…thank you for your heart.” We clink glasses and kiss.
The sky is growing dark and just above the eastern horizon a star appeared and I ask “Do you have a poem in Brazil that you say when you see the first star of the evening…I wish I may I wish I might first star I see tonight…”
Instead of answering your say “What are you wishing for tonight.”
I closed my eyes and wished my best wish.
When I opened my eyes you were staring at me as if to ask me what I wished for but I just smiled and I am sure you knew what I was thinking. Not only what my wish was but that there was no way that I would tell you. I said “Hold on” and walked back into the dwelling when I came out I asked “Would you like to dance.”
You stand up and move into my arms just as the first notes of the song I had chosen began to play ….
“Dance with me, I want to be your partner
Can’t you see the music is just starting.
And night is falling and I am calling
Dance with me….”
You kissed me and whispered “Good choice and “ your voice trailing
“And you still smell great.”
And then you kiss me again and we became lost in our embrace. Our bodies touching but more importantly something deeper and when I could resist it no longer I picked you up and carried you across the threshold.
Afterwards we cling to each other in the dark room neither wanting the closeness to end. Neither wanting to forget the sensations, the emotions and the intimacies we had just felt. I kissed you and began to speak “I…”
“I know…you don’t have to say it.”
“But I want to shout it.”
“You already have!” I smiled knowing you were right.
Then you say “Our time is growing very short…I am happy to spend the rest of our time here but you said there was one more place that you wanted to show me.”
I say “Have you looked over there!” You turned you head and looked out through the doors. Coming up over the horizon was a super moon so large it rivaled children’s fairy tales.
We are silent for a few moments. And I reluctantly utter, “We need to leave soon but would you mind if we had one last dance together?”
We slip off the bed and walk onto to the moonlight drenched deck. Taking you in my arms, Tony Bennet began to sing.
Fly me to the moon
Let me sing among those stars
Let me see what spring is like
On jupiter and mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby kiss me
Fill my heart with song
Let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you
Kissing we fell into the moon.