He was watching a magnificently clear starry sky, in the pitch dark of a hill at the end of the road from the village, lying on those tiny particles of sand which get into everything. He would find them later in his underwear, taking clothes off and dumping them on the bathroom floor, making a desert mood out of his own apartment, wishing she was with him. Sometimes he couldn’t get them, boys were waiting for them back home, or they were just being too shy. This one had something holding her back, he could feel it. Right now, trying to embrace her, getting her to lie down in his lap, caressing her hair, she was still tight, only slightly. Her tired muscles, her skin glowing from the entire day in the strong sunlight, her whole body was slowly and willingly adapting to his moves and fell right down into the comfortable position, enchanted by the view above. Yet, he could feel her twitching inwardly, it was like something pinched her in the stomach, making her uneasy every few minutes. She was an anxious type, if not neurotic. It was the warmth in her that attracted him first, though, that radiant smile and sparkling eyes. He knew by now they are so often connected, a big heart and a strong soul walking hand in hand with a tormented mind.
Seeing her sitting there in the courtyard when he opened the door, waiting in the early morning light, sleepy but smiling, unhurriedly getting up and telling him her unordinary origins, he could already imagine the following evening. He asked her to sit beside him in the van for practical reasons and she obliged, not regretting at all the front seat and the proximity to the speakers, instantly appreciating his music choices. It was only later he understood why she did not talk much. It was not for lack of interest, it was just not in her nature. He thought he sensed a flow of exchange of their bodies’ instant approval, her thigh right next to his, all the while a mental wall still persisted in-between. She brought out memories in him, all those adventures he left behind for a year, to stay here, at home for once, letting vagabonds come to his town and sharing moments with them without leaving again. He liked it, or didn’t mind it, his tour guide job being an easy one, despite the early alarm clocks and nagging bosses, tourists being so distant to what he understood as exploring. There were exceptions, of course, there was still something magical about this desert place that attracted even the truest nomads to come and stay.
So, another day went by, cruising on the roadless slops, fast and careless. Maybe he smoked too much, maybe it was the excuse of trying not to get stuck in the sand. Another day of breath-taking views he got used to many years ago, the grand distance of nothing, the stories of the bare rocks, the pure clarity, radiating from the Earth. Telling the same stories every day. I didn’t bore him as much as he had imagined, still there was no excitement, no dynamics he needed, the landscape by itself could not do the trick. Luckily, he knew inventions, he had ways, having learnt much during his young life. How much younger was she, though? He suspected it was less than it seemed.
During a home-cooked dinner, served by one of his guests, in-between glasses of cheap Chilean red wine, his friend suggested by a subtle remark she could mean more than a bare acquaintance from the road, sensing perhaps their similarities, their common affinities, knowing how much her own home town had meant to him in the past. He knew he was wrong. She would go, as soon as tomorrow, leave the country in a couple of weeks, return to her day job and her evening hobbies, forgetting his existence.
Maybe, she would remember this night, though, the sky being so unforgettably clear and full of shining dots, him showing her the constellations, his warm embrace when the cold of the desert started kicking in. Maybe, the sand got into her insides, too. Maybe, she would sometimes think about him, during boring hours of nothing happening, during minutes when time stops in a rushing city, freezes for a particular someone, stuck, seeking, forever seeking, remembering a moment something was found. No, the intimacy they found was the love their souls shared, the too-much-ness of a love, the abundance of feelings, of life, of fire, of something scratching, something itching, something beating perpetually, the evidence of life and joy and impersonal love that when so deeply exposed transforms romance. Of course, he kissed her and she stopped him before getting further, but he felt she would take something with her, and he would forget her name in a few days, her face in a few weeks. Still, they would remember there was a moment on a certain hill, on a certain night, with a certain view, they opened up and let the world get to them. Or so she said to herself, traveling onwards, heading South on a midday bus.