A girl with a smile to beat the sun and a figure that screams sex gets off the plane in Sri Lanka. Its 530am December 20th, 2012. A day before the world ends.
She walks down the long terminal to immigration, charms the officer with her childlike excitement. She goes through duty free and gets fridges and washers for her family; fascinating more people who are left wondering what typhoon has been through. After clearing her bags she walks out into the hot, humid, over-crowded airport arrivals. Colombo is unbearably humid, and within minutes drops of sweat run down her back and her hair is wet and sticks to her skull.
She sees the jeep pull up and a familiar face jumps out of the driver seat.
“Ah Pavi Madam!”
She helps him load all the bags and boxes into the vehicle.
“I’ll show you where to drop me,” She says as she slides into the front seat and turns all the air conditioner vents toward her.
“ahhhh….” A sigh of relief.
As the jeep speeds out of the airport premises, the sun is beginning its unforgiving rise. After a few minutes, she opens the window and breaths in the smells of home. Warm air fills her lungs, along with dust, fumes, and a particular smell that is just Sri Lanka. As they approach a busy intersection horns are blaring, buses the size of dinosaurs roar down the road at unbelievable speeds, and an untrained person might cower in fear. But she smiles. She shrugs off the cardigan and raises her somewhat damp cami to let the air cool her warm skin. She clips the sim card the driver hands her into the blackberry and calls home. After talking to her exuberant parents and sisters, she informs them of her plans.
“I love you. See you tomorrow night!!”
Ten Sri Lankan minutes of rush hour traffic later…
“Ara Singer Mega eka langin dakunak ganna,” directing the driver down a small road by a mega store in Wattala. Several speed bumps later, they are in a residential neighbourhood.
As they approach the house with a high white wall her smile widens, her heart begins to quicken; the anticipation is limitless. She can’t believe it’s been an entire year. She grabs her hand luggage and asks the driver if he wants some tea before he hits the road.
“Nah madam. Mama yannam.”
As he drives off in a cloud of dust she approaches the black iron gate and rings the bell. 723am.
“Coming coming!” She hears aunty yelling from just out of view. “Eshaaaan!!! She’s here!!!!” Aunty yells as she catches sight of the girl.
The girl can barely contain herself. She charges forth and grabs Aunty in a bear hug exclaiming all the while how wonderful it is to see her. She barely catches a breath from her mile a minute banter as they walk into the house when she sees Eshan descending the stairs.
“Eshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she screeches as she runs into his outstretched arms and warm loving smile. Of course she nearly knocks him over the power of her love and physical strength. Eshan is a couple of inches taller, proportionally built and dark like her. His best feature is his slightly crooked face that most often bears the most endearing smile that comes straight from the heart.
They embrace for several minutes, and she refuses to let go for an additional few minutes. There aren’t many arms that can make her feel this safe and loved. As she takes off again a mile a minute, never letting go of Eshan she finally notices someone on the couch.
Not just someone; the other piece of her puzzle.
He gives her the goofy smile that always makes her heart skip. An inch shorter than Eshi, an inch taller than her. Strong shoulders and muscular arms, narrow down at the hips and are carried by somewhat chicken legs. He is fairer than both his friends, with big brown eyes and a set of crooked teeth. Classically “cute.” The trio is complete with B.
She approaches him tentatively but only for a second before she surrenders to her heart and impulse and dives into his outstretched arms.
Her heart pounds. She had not expected to see him. Not just here, she didn’t expect to see him at all. So much had happened in the months leading up to this visit. That second’s pause she took was to gage her reaction. She couldn’t see anything in her heart but pure happiness. Tears wet her eyes, and try as she may to hold them in they spill over. She buries her face in his neck and breaths for a second. Then she starts laughing and she steps back swatting his arm “See you’re making me cry and I just got here!” Then she starts laughing.
“OH MY GOD I’M SO HAPPY!!!”
“OK so what’s the plan? What time are we leaving? You guys are coming right? Are we meeting Sankhi? I can’t wait to show you what I’m wearing tonight. I have to call the hotel. If there isn’t alcohol we can get sloshed…. Oops Sorry Aunty!”
Aunty smiles over her shoulder. “Come eat something!”
“Ooh… I’m always ready to eat.”
“I can see that!” says one of the boys.
“Thalmaha!” says the other one.
“Shut up! I hate you!” she says to both of them smiling so wide she feels like her face might split.
They spend the next several hours filling the house with laughter and secrets. As comfortable as only best friends can be with each other; saying whatever they want, doing whatever they want. Around 10am they pack up the car and head toward Kandy.
She calls the hotel to confirm the rooms, and as they drive into the mountains she smiles. Happiness is here in this car with her best friends. They blare some Godsmack, some Shinedown and scream the lyrics at the top of their lungs. E is behind the wheel and B sits in the front seat. She spreads herself out over the back seat and lets the air and sun sting her eyes.
She takes a minute to look at B. He used to be the love of her life. She still loves him, unconditionally so. She has accepted society and family- but being as stubborn and strong, she has not forsaken her heart. If anyone can love- it is her. She stifles the urge to ask him where “the nemesis” is, but why ruin this perfect moment. There is nothing more perfect than this.
They stop in Ambepussa and of course the boys indulge in that malodorous monstrosity of a fruit- Dooriyan. The happy high starts to fade and jet lag starts to get to her. She nods off as the boys continue the drive.
She is rudely shaken awake by B who pokes and pinches in amusement. She swats him off and looks around dazed. Kandy.
They step into the hotel. While She checks into the hotel E heads toward the restroom. B takes the chance to be a little naughty, relaxing the tension between them. She was afraid to step out of line, but once he has broken the ice they fall into an easy familiarity circling and reading each other; at time predators, at times prey.
They spend a minute giggling and catching up. Who knows what’s in store for them for the rest of the night… The Wedding begins in a few hours. There is talk of taking a dip in the pool. Grabbing some lunch, may be a walk. As they settle in she promises the excited bride she’ll be there in time for the photo shoot.
E reads his friends well. She had spoken to him about crossing lines. Although he had cautioned against it, he knows they are willful and impulsive. He smiles. They try hard to hide their thoughts and intentions- even from themselves. A brief frown darkens his face as he starts sliding into that shadow which has plagued all 3 of them for the better part of a year. But a giggle and a nudge he is back in the light. All he has to do is be happy. And he is.
The boys sit on the bed browsing through the Telly as she slowly unpacks and prepares for the night- pulling out her war paints, and clothes. All the while yacking away about nothing in particular and an occasional skip of excitement.
“I can’t believe I’m here right now. With you both.” She suddenly feels like she may explode! Happiness and love bubble up from the depths of her soul and she jumps on the bed tackling them both.
“I love you so much.”
Laughter. Laughter. Laughter.
Love. Love. Love.