Sunday, July 19, 2015

41. On to Capetown

All storms pass: later in the day, Alan passed this dancer near Oxbay.
Wind-driven rain was splatting on the window in Alan’s room when he woke up the next morning. Not a good day for walking, so he rolled over and slept another hour. Finally, bored with laying in bed, he climbed out, got dressed, and searched for some coffee and breakfast.

The Poppy Blossom's CafĂ© was deserted when Alan walked in.  He sat at a table by the window, looked at the menu, told the waitress what he wanted, then nodded thanks to her. He stared out the window at the rain. For the first time on this island, Alan felt that old melancholy coming on. He still felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere, that he won't finish the drawings, or they won't be any good, and that he’ll disappoint his bosses. This assignment seems like it will take forever. He was also feeling lonely; it would be nice to have a companion on a trip like this.

Then his coffee arrived, and while stirring in his cream and sugar, an elegant, delicate insect landed on the window glass and slowly walked upward, probably looking for a way out. It’s purple body and huge lacy wings (a big lacewing?) reminded Alan how far he was from anywhere he’d known before. From what Adrian had said, this whole island may or may not even exist, and likewise everything on it!

What is real here?
Why was I invited here?

He nudged at the bug with his finger, and it arched its abdomen before moving further up the glass. It seems real enough, he thought. Maybe that’s all that’s necessary, that all this seems real. But he still felt lonely.

Then his breakfast arrived and he realized how hungry he was.


In the afternoon, the rain let up enough to allow Alan to start off for Capetown. He went into the Pangaea Grocery and Etc. and bought some more camp food, some "Paleo Vanilla"- flavored energy bars, and, on a whim, a paperback titled The Naked Husband by an Australian author. He figured it will be quiet the next few days and he'll want something to read. 

Toward suppertime, the clouds were breaking up, promising a gorgeous sunset. The beaches were interrupted by low grassy headlands that ended at rocky points. He soon could see Vanessa Island to the south, sitting only about four miles offshore, looking close enough to swim to it. It is apparently New island's westernmost point. Along the way, He passed the settlement of Oxbay, a cluster of houses adjoining a large community garden. And near there, on a bluff, a woman in a red dress was having a great time dancing and twirling to her own rhythm. She was by herself, and seemingly unconcerned about being observed. He admired her free spirit, and found his own spirit lifted as well! It was a treat to walk along this coast... 

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