Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
I remember him as if in a movie I saw long ago but can’t remember the plot or the ending. It had something to do with me, that is certain. Because I feel just as special now as I did then in the memory of him and me. It’s not the kind of thing that I can tell everyone about in great detail, the magic of it. First of all, this journey in Africa was mine that no one understood anyway. You quit your job, ended your awful relationship (well, this we can all understand), packed up your apartment, and you’re doing what? A one-way ticket, what? After I left Africa everyone was more overwhelmed with relief that I was now safe than inquisitive about what it all had meant or how I had really felt (other than the constant Weren’t you scared?).
Second of all, after a journey like that anything beyond casually sharing photos could have easily breached the socially acceptable threshold of bragging. So I kept to myself how I had somehow wound up alone in a safari truck in Ngorongoro Crater early one morning after climbing Mt. Kilmanjaro. However exhausted I was from the climb, I was more than reinvigorated by the cool morning breeze sitting in my own truck rumbling down the crater mountain excited to see some wildlife. The fog and mist were just rolling back over the mountains, revealing the crater into full view, like stage curtains opening for a crowded audience when in actuality I was the sole guest invited to see the show.
So when I spotted him, it really was just the two of us. I could take my time with him, having no one else’s agenda to be mindful of and no one to jostle out of the way. He was a young lion not as majestic as I had imagined lions to be in person. Yet when he got up on all fours, I stepped back. When he started walking towards me, I held my breath. But his stride was slow enough that I could exhale and his demeanor calm enough for me to trust him. As he brushed right up to the truck before he turned and ambled away I extended my arm down with my pocket camera to get a closer shot of his handsome face.
My memory of this moment reels in a slow motion silent movie ending with the last frame of his warm welcome telling me that I had arrived in Africa.