I woke up this morning thinking about Harold. No, not Harry, the guy who messed with my head from 14-20, Harold was a seemingly random meeting with a guy in the Bahamas.
I was a little afraid to go to the Bahamas because whatever pigment exists in my bloodline, I didn't get any of it. While my peers baked on the beach in the noon sun, I took my floppy sun hat and walked in my long-sleeved dress under a line of trees along the beach. After a couple miles I looked back for signs of civilization and wondered if this was a really stupid thing to do, but I was committed to my stupidity by then, so I kept walking.
I was absorbed in whatever monumental thoughts I might've been having when a miniature crab skittled in front of me. I shrieked and jumped back. My natural agility barely saved me from landing on my ass, and I heard a snicker coming from the trees. I looked around, but saw nothing unusual until a white smile appeared like a Cheshire Cat amongst the shadows. My surprise only made Harold laugh harder.
He stepped forward and his enormously fit, enormously tall body separated itself from the trees like an African god. To say he was black is to say he had color. He was blacker than that. He absorbed light like a black hole, a vacuum of anti-color -- except for his blazing school bus yellow swimsuit. His very, very tiny swimsuit that looked like it was going to burst open with more astonishing blackness. Harold really laughed when he watched the direction of my eyes and expression of shock. He invited me to join him, and I looked helplessly up the beach for some sign of others. No one. Harold could rape and kill me, and nobody would know where to look for my body, which would no doubt be washed away in the ocean anyway. I sat down under the trees at a "safe" distance that only made Harold laugh more. Obviously, Harold laughed a lot.
It turned out to be a perfect, memorable day. He was a chemist taking a day off from work. He proudly told me about the Bahamas, and said not to hang glide because there's too many injuries. He foretold my future. He was kind, funny, intelligent, and so memorable I dreamt of him 20 years later. Maybe there are no "accidental" meetings?
My last trip to New York City was a work trip, and even though my boss was supposed to come, it ended up just my coworker and me. Tina is usually the friendly, talkative one. In NY, we switched roles. I talked to everyone. Everything was an experience. I made pals with everyone in the airport bar. I bonded with the guy who owns Diebold. I got a marriage proposal from a Turkish cab driver. I adopted a girl visiting from Florida and we saw "Spamalot". I got a reading from a gypsy fortune teller at 1 in the morning. Everything was happy. Everything was fun. Oh yeah, I suppose we went to the trade show and did actual work too, but nothing was going to spoil my enthusiasm for everything.
If you've read my previous posts, you'll know I'm a country girl. I like trees and the quiet to hear birds singing. NY sounds like the antithesis of everything that would make me happy, and while I would never live there, the freedom of being one of millions is something I don't often feel. Yeah, here's where we come to the point of "bottled". I feel bottled up. I need trips and new experiences and new people. I need the happy accidental meetings of memorable people like Harold, the Diebold owner, and the Turkish cab driver.
Tina came back from the NY trip and told our coworkers about the "NY Linda". They laughed and couldn't imagine my wedding plans with the cab driver and how I took note about how to impress his Muslim mother. I suppose they wouldn't understand my day with Harold either. Or that English guy at the South Carolina plantation... I know every quality I have and show when I'm away from home are qualities I have all the time if I can just find them in myself. I need to remember the path to my own happinesses. I need another trip! I need to break free!!!
The art is a print from a little linoleum cut I did a while ago. I really felt like painting something different, but this piece just insists on being posted today.