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Going North

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 26 August 2011 | Views [327]

I swipe lazily at the ever present beads of sweat clinging to my brow. The air around me offers no relief from the harsh Broome sun beating down on my exposed shoulders. The humidity carries with it the smell of frangipanis and salt – thick and sweet and damp. Men lurch by in the heat, glancing at their watches, trying to time their arrival at the pub with the opening of the tavern doors. The sounds of their thirst mix with the ever present hum of cicadas and the buzz of flies zipping past my ears. As I count down the 14 minutes until the rickety town bus trundles back past the sweltering metal bench I’m perched on, I let my mind wander.

And there she is. She bursts through the humidity, through the dust and the heat like a shower of rain.

She rolls by in her air-conditioned car and invites me back to her air-conditioned home to share in the chicken and salad sandwiches I have left to welt in the shopping bags slumped at my feet. An ice cold beer opened expertly in the crook of her elbow. A glowing sunset dipping low into the calm ocean as the day ends. As the clouds crack open and the warm, sweet rain pelts down upon us, a wave of relief sweeps over our faces. We rush out onto the balcony and dance, arms outstretched, mouths open at the ready, laughter in our throats.

It only took a phone call. The rumors, all true. ‘Anything for a fan!” she beams: her hair left wild and free, not bothering to fight the harsh climate.

I ease my eyes open, wondering if the power of my mind has been strong enough to transport me into that world. Into the world of a musical darling. Still the empty road with its waves of heat shimmering from the tarmac as far as the eye can see. The unrelenting blanket of humidity still crushing down on me from all sides. As I let out a disappointed sigh, my ears catch the hint of a sound in the distance. Almost like a guitar. A guitar mixed with the whirring of an engine. The sound of an acoustic guitar drifting gently from the speaker of her car as she cruises down the highway toward the bus stop. Toward me.

My pulse quickens as the sound grows louder and the shape of her car edges over the horizon, like a mirage. I scoop up my shopping bags, savoring the rush of adrenaline in my veins, the anticipation of her arrival. Then, just as the clouds roll in, preparing for their role in tonight’s perfect dance, she arrives.

The bus: with her fan belt strumming steadily and motor growling heartily.

I am left standing at the bus stop, thumb still hovering over the call button of my phone. The illusion shattered.

Just like all mirages, this one has faded away into to thick tropical air almost as fast as it appeared.




Tags: broome, bus, tropics

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