Standing in the foyer, suitcase in one hand with plane ticket in the other, all I wanted to do was get on my way; yet I came to quickly realize that leaving wasn’t going to be as easy as I had hoped. Was I nervous? You could say I was although I was trying to convince myself my anxiety was truly a sense of anticipation for what was to come. I would have left fifteen mins ago, but it wasn’t my sense of excitement or anxiety that was keeping me from leaving. No, no the answer to that came in just one word-Mother.
I could tell she was desperately trying to be brave and not cry while she stood there nitpicking away at my clothing choices in my suitcase and all the last minute instructions about life beyond the island. No amount of telling her I would be fine, seemed to make her feel more at ease, so I stood there waiting for the right moment to leave and begin this long awaited adventure. In the background, I could see my father just shake his head and smile in amusement at his wife’s overly maternal behaviour, yet I knew he too was concerned.
When my mother took a moment to pause in her instructions, my father placed his hand on her shoulder and simply said “Leave him be now. He was born with a tongue and you taught him how to use it. If he gets into trouble, I’m sure he will just ask for help.” Then he gave me a nudge with his free hand and I was suddenly out the door.
With each step away from my sheltered safe home, I felt this new found feeling grow within me. I thought perhaps freedom would be a way to describe it, but then I discerned it was the first time I truly felt grown up. Out in the world on my own with no one to hold my hand, or direct me in what to do. The feeling was liberating and any sense of anxiety just washed away, replaced with a great overwhelming sense of excitement for all things to come. This experience would be all my own, something I didn’t share with anyone else, and it was magical, just for that one undeniable fact.
The plane ride over was nothing to report on and I arrived at the boarding house exactly on time. My parents had many offers from friends to have me stay with them, but they felt I should have the full experience of staying on my own for the very first time. Yet, I was under strict instructions to meet up with all those whom my parents held dear. It was the polite thing to do, they told me. I also had a list of things to purchase or scavenge for in the hills, some my father was desperate to have for his art creations. I unpacked my bags and headed out, hopeful to complete that list before the day was done. My first stop was the general store to pick up supplies, then as it was still very early, I headed out into the hills.
The scenery was breathtaking and reminded me of my mother’s many paintings she had done while studying under Megan.
She spent hours staring at these hills, memorizing every detail and then transferring it onto canvas. I remember her saying to my dad, that she never wanted to forget how she felt with the breeze flowing through her long hair. She said the sight was humbling and it reminded her what honestly was important in the world. Seeing it for the first time, not on a canvas but with my own eyes, I knew she was right.
By lunch time, I was quiet tired from all the trekking up and down hills and decided to head into town for a break from the hot sun. My first stop was the cafe run by Berthe Girard, a dear friend of my father’s as we spent many a meal eating at her tables while my mother painted or was off to some event with Megan.
I didn’t even need to introduce myself, as she recognized me right away and threw her arms around me for a hug and kisses to the cheeks. She told me that it didn’t matter what age I was, she would always know me and that it was a privilege to see me so grown up and close to being a man. “Vous etes si beau!” she told me and made me blush. I sat to eat in her cafe and we caught up on each other’s news. She was very thankful to hear that my parents were doing so well and wished my mother better health.
I left her cafe happy, as I mentally crossed one name off my mother’s list of people to see.
I was just trying to decide what to do next, when I rounded the fountain in the centre of the square and stopped dead in my tracks.
She was so beautiful!
I just stood there staring at her, until I came to my senses and realized just how creepy that may seem to people near by. I needed to decide if I was just going to walk away, or get up the courage to go and meet her. How does one approach a girl? What do you say? I turned and began to walk away and stopped. I’ll just make a fool of myself, keep walking I ordered. So I started walking away again, and stopped. Here goes nothing, I thought.
Do I sit, then speak? Or do I speak and wait for her to invite me to sit? I decided just to start with hello.
“Bonjour,” she said without looking up from her book.
“Puis-je vous asseoir?” (Can I sit down)
“Oui,” she replied.
I waited for her to finish her book and look up, but she never did. Hmmm, now what?
“Ah, il fait beau aujourd ‘hui.” (The weather is good today) But unfortunately I didn’t pull off the pronunciation very well and felt foolish. She did however finally look up from her book.
“English, no?” Which I translated to mean that I spoke English so I nodded my head.
“The weather is always beautiful here. Are you visiting us from far away?” she asked.
“Oh you speak English. Good. Yes I do come from quite a distance.”
“My name is Sun. You are?”
“Jin. Jin Bell.”
“What brings you to our lovely land Jin? Are you staying long?”
“Well actually, my parents sent me here to see Paris. I was here for a year as a baby, but then we moved far away. Ive been sent to gather supplies and to meet with some of their old friends.”
“What kind of supplies? Perhaps I can help?”
“Art supplies actually. My parents are both artists and-”
“Wait! Did you say Bell, as in Maya Bell? Ian Bell?”
I hesitated in answering, as my parents warnings about paparazzi filled my mind. “Perhaps,” I replied carefully.
“I know your parents. Well, I know of them. Sometimes you see them in magazines featured for their accomplishments. So you’re the son! There was a big thing some time back about how you have never been seen or even photographed. The elusive son of Ian and Maya Bell. A picture of you would be worth thousands of dollars!”
Warnings bells started loudly going off in my head the more she spoke. She must have seen in on my face because the next thing she said was,
“Your secret is safe with me. Perhaps while you are here, you shouldn’t tell people your last name. Just introduce yourself as Jin. That way you won’t have your trip ruined by the paparazzi, because trust me, there are plenty around!”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Stick with me for I know everything there is to know. Now, did you find those supplies you were looking for?”
“Ah, mostly yes. But I need to visit the art gallery to study the exhibits. Its for my schooling. Would you care to show me around?”
“Jin, for you I would be very glad to. Come, it’s this way.”
Sun led me to two scooters waiting by the side of a building and together we rode off towards the Gallery. Since I had never ridden a scooter before, I was a little unsure about the whole thing, but once we got going, the feeling was awesome.
“Wooooo!” I yelled as I raced past her. It didn’t take her long to catch up and before I knew it we were at the Gallery.
The Gallery was completely empty when we went in. Not another person in sight, not even a security guard, which I found really odd. Sun grabbed my and we raced up to the second floor.
“Here, this should be of some interest to you she said. I come to see them often and they are my favourite exhibit.”
“Wow!” I replied.
“Hmmm, man of few words arent ya! Okay stand next to them, I want to get a pic.”
“A pic for what?” I asked suddenly suspicious.
“Oh, cmon. Seriously? Fine. Give me your camera and I will use it.”
I stood in front of the exhibit, but Sun urged me to get behind the ropes.
So I stood next to the guy while she snapped a picture.
“Here. Now do me!”
We spent the rest of the time running from exhibit to exhibit snapping photos and just having the best time.
On the main floor, there was an exhibit of a bedroom from India, and Sun flopped down on the bed exhausted from all the running we had done. I joined her there, thankful myself for some place to rest.
“That was so much fun!” I told her.
She looked into my eyes and next thing I knew she was leaning in for a kiss.
I panicked. I’m such an idiot. I jerked back and got up off the bed.
“C’mon, rest time over. Lets do it again,” I said trying to cover my embarrassment.
We continued on with our hijinks until we reached the sitting area on the main floor.
“Whew, I need a break,” she said.
“Man this place is awesome. I thought I would see some of Megan’s or my mother’s art work here. I wonder why-”
“Jin, don’t you want to kiss me?”
I sighed and said “Yes. I do. Its just that I’ve never kissed a girl before.”
“Okay, not funny! I’m embarrassed enough about it.”
“Hey Jin, guess what,” she whispered.
“I don’t bite. Just try.”
Once I caught on to how the whole kissing thing worked, I found I was actually quite good at it. If you think about it, watching my parents this whole time, I really should be, in theory. We were at it for half an hour when we heard the front door of the gallery open.
Sun went to take a peek at who was coming in and turned with an annoyed look on her face.
“Shoot! Its the paparazzi! We need to get out of here before you are seen. Back door, hurry.”
Once we emerged from the door, we raced across the grass until we made it to a grouping of trees up the hill. There we stopped to catch our breath, laughing at the near miss we just had.
“That was close!” Sun said.
“Where should we go now?” I asked her. “I don’t want this date to end.”
“Date? We’re on a date?” she asked.
Panic stricken I frantically searched my brain for a way to get out of my fumble, when she looked at me and started laughing.
“I’m just kidding! Oh you should see your face!” which sent her into more hysterics.
I laughed along with her but not as happily as she was.
“Follow me, I know just where to go.”
“What about the scooters?” I asked.
“Oh, we don’t need them. Its just over the hill.”
She led me to a camp site that was located behind the local cemetery, which had a fire pit and washrooms.
“Why don’t you light the fire while I head to the ladies room. You do know how to start a fire don’t you?” she asked, obviously teasing me.
“Yes I know how to start a fire. Now leave me alone while I do man’s work!” I said and just to emphasize my authority, I thumped my chest with my fist. Which by the way, hurt like a son of a gun.
When she returned we sat to grill some vegetables over the fire pit. I however was much better at it than she was,
which gave me the upper hand, if only just this once.
I laughed my head off watching her grimace as she struggled to eat the charred food, which I know is not very gentlemanly.
I have to give her credit though, because she did eat the whole thing. After, we brought out the marshmallows.
By the time we finished eating, darkness had set in and the only light was illuminated by the fire. Looking at her was like seeing someone by candle light. The fire gave her skin a soft glow and made her all the more beautiful than she had seemed before. I never wanted this night to end, but eventually she stood up and said “I should get home before my moms start freaking out.”
“Moms? As in plural?”
“Stop it, it’s not what you’re thinking. I was raised by two sisters. I call both of them mom.”
Can’t you stay, just stay with me! We could watch the stars together. Please?? Just a little longer.”
“Jin I really must go!”
“Can I see you tomorrow?”
“I don’t know. I may be busy,” she replied in her teasing way.
“Perhaps these will persuade you.”
“Oh, Jin. I love them!”
“Can I see you tomorrow?”
Then she gave me a quick kiss and began running down the hill.
She turned back and yelled “Bon nuit, mon amour!”
The minute she was out of site, I missed her and wished for her to come back to me.
I crawled into the tent I had set up earlier and went to sleep dreaming of her and only her.
I couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
The next morning I woke with such anticipation for my day! I still had plenty of hills to scour for supplies, so after a quick breakfast, I headed out hoping to be done all I needed to do by dinner time. It was a struggle trying to stay focused on the task at hand, and I kept looking up to the sun trying to determine the time by the sun’s position in the sky. If I called too early, I would seem too eager, but if I waited too long, she could make plans with someone else. A girl as beautiful and wonderful as she was, probably didn’t spend a lot of nights at home!
I continued on picking supplies and even dug up some treasure,
but once it became noon I couldn’t wait any longer. So I pulled out my phone and gave her a call.
“Jin! Bonjour! Comment allez-vous?” (How are you?)
“I’m good. Ah, es- tu bien?” (are you well?)
“I am thank you! What have you been up this morning?”
“Just collecting more supplies for my parents. It’s taking longer than I thought it would. Paris is bigger than I thought it was by looking on a map.”
Sun giggled “Hmmm, that it is.”
“I was wondering if you were busy tonight? We can go anywhere you want to go. Your choice.”
“My choice? Oooh, that is intriguing. Okay. You’re on! But wear something you don’t mind getting dirty and meet me at the cemetery at eight.”
“The cemetery? Why?”
“I’m going to show you how we kids from Paris have a good time. See you then!”
Then she was gone. I stared at the phone thinking, what fun can you have at a cemetery?
Since I was close to the camp, I headed back, had a bite to eat and took a shower. What to wear was the question. It was a date after all and I didn’t want to dress down too much, but yet she had said clothes I could get dirty in. I decided to dress in regular clothes, still skeptical of the mischief one could get in at a cemetery. I looked at the time and realised I still had four hours to go till our date. I tried chilling in the tent, but the silence had my mind going to all differing kinds of thoughts that only made me more and more anxious. I needed to work off some of the nervous energy and to do that, I headed back out into the hills to do more supply hunting.
By the time eight was rolling around I was close enough to the cemetery to see Sun come walking up and realized I was definitely overdressed for whatever she had in mind. I quickly changed into my work out clothes and met her by the building. She greeted me with a kiss to the cheeks.
“So, what are we doing here?” I asked her.
“This is where we teens come to test our whit and bravery.”
“In a cemetery? C’mon Sun, I’m not afraid of ghosts. I don’t even believe in ghosts.”
“Who said anything about ghosts?” she said then laughed. “Behind me is the catacombs and anyone who wants to hang with us, has to take up the challenge of touring them all the way through.”
“Really? So what is down there then? A bunch of your friends ready to jump out and say boo?”
“Just you and me tonight mon amour. But if you are too scared, you don’t have to do it……”
I stared at Sun for a moment and studied her face looking for any sign of deception or hint as to what I may be walking in to. Looking at the tall wooden door, I took a big breath, nudged Sun aside and walked in.
Sun saluted me just as the door closed behind me.
It was dark and the noises coming from down below were definitely eerie, but I was determined to show her that I was no coward. Pffft, let’s face it, I was trying to show myself too.
Over the loud noises I could hear Sun laughing her head off as she reported what I was doing to all her friends over texting.
The deeper I went, the darker it became which meant in some places the only way through was to walk by holding onto the outer walls. In other places I went on a leap of faith, walking through with arms extended and completely blind to what was in front of me. I was determined to make it all the way through.
A thought crossed my mind, how would she know that I had actually toured them all the way through. But, just as I was thinking it, there was a large explosion and a bright burst of light. I walked out then, clothes shredded from the explosion, with dirt and ash covering my body.
As I retold the story of my tour to Sun, she began to laugh heartily
“Hey c’mon that is not funny!”
“Let’s go to the camp so you can get cleaned up. Follow me.”
Back at the camp, I headed for a shower while she lit the fire.
Clean once again, we shared another meal of roast veggies, which I burned this time. Unlike Sun, I was not able to eat it, so I threw it out and stuffed my belly full of marshmallows.
Later, we laid under the stars telling each other our life stories and a few secrets. It was a magical night and I had never felt so close to anyone outside of my family as I did with her.
“Stay with me tonight,” I said to her.
“Stay,” I whispered to her.”I will,” she whispered back to me. “But sleep is all I will do.”
“Sleep is all I ask. I just want to hold you all night long.”
Sun sighed and looked at me lovingly while she stroked my cheek.
Lying there beside her, I tried to push aside all thoughts and feelings of how it would be leaving her and possibly never seeing her again. Never getting the chance to hold her like this. I leaned in to kiss her and she responded back to me. All I wanted was to show her was how much she meant to me.
Now, I know what you are thinking. But we kept it PG and it was one great make out session!! Hey, what do you expect? I am a guy after all! We fell asleep in each others arms. When I woke up in the morning, she was gone.
Custom Content Used In This Chapter
Sgi-Bed Couple Poses by Prettysgi
Couples Couch Poses by Chibikinesis
Sun’s Hair (braid) by Alesso