The humid but cool morning breeze, tanned people walking their dogs on the beach, surf rescue, cone pines along the highway, no footpath. Instantly I feel at home, at a place I don’t think I’ve ever felt at home in. Surfers seem to have grown quite a bit. Far too many extremely tall high-rising buildings along the strip lined a mile of the area when my plane flew along the coast in descent.
Suddenly the emotions flood through me. It is not flashbacks of scenes. My memory is too poor for that sort of details. But the feelings that I did not even realise I had in me came back through, and they make me feel nostalgic. How did she smile? How did I make her cry? How kind was she, and impossibly stubborn I was.
A girl in jogging outfit passes a well-tanned man with only surf shorts and a board under his arm. Breeze pushes up my shirt. My body relax.
I was so young. So impossibly young to be in that place. Too young to know what I wanted in my life. Still I do not know, perhaps.
A girl comes to take my order at the cafe by the road, just inside from the beach. I’m shocked, how the girl reminded me of her. She has a handsome face. She stands there and looks straight at me. And I cannot shake off that uneasiness that is somewhere just at the top of my stomach. She couldn’t be here. I know she’s not her. But I cannot stop the flood.
I put my sunnies back on. It’s a bit cloudy this morning. The air is cool. The cafe gets busy. Not many other places around. People tell me supermarket is ‘just there’ which is a good 10-minute walk.
What would she, her from all these years ago, say to me if she saw me now? How would I feel about her? Would I fall in love again? Would I break her heart again?
San Juan, New York, changing plans to fly to Melbourne and not quite making it to my friend’s wedding there, Sydney where all the hell broke loose, I got stressed, I got upset, I pissed off a few people, no, more than a few probably, and here. It was supposed to be just a boring couple of hours at the tiny airport. But suddenly, it is shaking my presence.
What am I doing here? Why am I doing it?
We were so busy living just that moment. So much that we did not count the hours, not the minutes, and we watched the sun slowly add the colours to the sky. We checked mailbox every day. Twice a day, though the mail man came only once a day. We wrote while in lectures, on the trains and buses… Then we talked about the future, and I started asking questions, unspoken questions I felt I needed the answer had to come from within me.
I don’t have the answers. I’m emotional as the girl passes in front of my table again, carrying coffees for another table. Not sure what this emotion is called. Am I afraid? Am I just shaken? Should I just walk back to the airport, and forget about all this? Is this even real? Where is my real life, if such a thing exists? Will I be happy if I just kept showing up at the cafe, order a cup of long black, and make photographs that reflect my emotions? Is that what I am looking for?