I was still feeling a little groggy from the bustle of activities out of the previous day, travelling and spending the rest of the evening hopping from one beach to the next, but I could hear the sound of the ocean waves hitting the reef. What a way to be woken up! Or so I thought until I rudely got startled by Joe’s phone alarm.
He is a heavy sleeper, and when I turned to interrupt his sleep as his morning alarm had done mine, he wasn’t there. I threw on my cover up and stepped out of the villa in a desperate bid to get him to turn his alarm off. Contrary to popular belief, mornings by the beach are cold, and breezy, so you can imagine my dismay when I saw Joe taking a dip in the infinity pool that so graciously sat on the villa front side.
“Someone calling?” He asked in that husky morning voice that drives me insane. “Who sets an alarm while on holiday? “I hastily teased, expecting him to reel in laughter like he often did when I asked rhetorical questions such as that. Instead, his face was overcast with a pensive look. The sun was just beginning to rise, and I didn’t have my glasses on, so I inched a little bit closer to him to be sure if I was reading him correct.
“You okay? ” I asked
“Yea, yea… yes, uuuhm, the alarm is for my meds”, he stammered, “I came out here this early to appreciate life, to watch one more sunrise…I mean, I love sunsets, but I love watching the sun rise even more because it’s a constant reminder that life goes on, whether you’re part of it or not.” He was being philosophical and that only meant one thing, he was damn serious about what he was saying.
“What meds?” I continued to ask
“I’ve been meaning to… “
“Okay could you come out of the pool first, before you catch a cold “, I interrupted him, while handing him my lesso which was the most functional piece of clothing that I had on me on this trip.
“I came out here before you woke up so that I could watch how beautifully the sun hits your face when you open that door to come look for me”, he continued. I was baffled and I felt a sudden gush of mixed emotions rush through my stomach, I mean we had been having a very sombre conversation about Joe’s health, or so I thought and for some reason he thought this was the perfect time to throw in a compliment.
Joe is not the guy you bulldoze into doing anything. He’s not slow either, he just loves to make well calculated moves, and to only talk about things when he’s ready to and to have conversations that are meaningful Knowing him so well, I didn’t bother to steer the conversation towards the alarm clock and his health story. We’d both worked so hard during the year and I wasn’t going to ruin this vacation with “unnecessary” questions. So instead, we sat by the pool and watched the sun come out of its sheath, in silence.
8 am. The weather was becoming a bit more humid, you could taste salt in the air, but that was nothing compared to the joy of being ushered in to a beautiful breakfast spread. When you’ve been with someone for a bit, each of you become infused into the other, you pick bits of the other person as you move along. You actually begin to have similar interests, tastes and all that. Joe and I both love good food and breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, especially when it’s proper and abundant. This particular morning though, I noticed with a lot of concern that Joe was avoiding all the juicy meaty parts of the meal. Again, I was prompted to ask, but then… well you know. So we spent the rest of the morning chewing and sipping away. All the while several things were running through my mind, but no one wants to ruin a great breakfast meal.
The morning swimming pool dip
Sunrise hits your beautiful face
It’s slightly past 2pm and we’re lazily lying on adjacent sunny beds by the beach. There’s a lot of stillness and other than the ocean trying to get back home from wherever it goes in the morning, the calm is beautiful.
There are two Maasai guys trying to sell sandals to a very old white couple. The couple looks like they have attained self actualization according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Perhaps they are retired, and all of their kids have left the nest, probably have one or two grand children, or ten. They’re prolly travelling the world, and ready to die, and perhaps they want to die in Africa. Or they’re running from something, maybe they’re running from the ghosts of all the bad decisions they made in their younger years.
“Joe, could we finish off that conversation we were having yester morning by the pool? “
” I don’t want to talk about it “
“I’m worried “
“You…your alarm clock…sorry, the meds… I mean your health.”
He jerked up from the sunny bed, like someone who works in Nairobi CBD and has suddenly remembered that he left the kitchen tap open with dishes in it and jolted into motion towards our villa. I get to the door in time, and he’s briskly pacing up and down the room, car keys in one hand and a bunch of clothes on the other.