I am sitting in the car and watching her talk to her sister. And my heart skips a beat - not because of the topic or because of the approaching train that I need to take. But because I get that feeling of familiarity, the feeling of knowing what's coming, the feeling of verbal recognition - the déjà-vu. Because I've been there before - in that car, with those people, and in that conversation - but not in reality (or at least not in the conscious reality).
I arrived late after train-station hopping with a suitcase and a camera in hand. Checking at the arrival schedule, I wonder how long it takes to get out of the gate with a suitcase that she can't carry (and I wonder - what if there is no one to help with it). Of course, the idea is ridiculous (although the guys at customs might be more helpful than they should with other motivations). And she is there and she sees me first - and I am a tad confused (seems to be the norm of late) and we walk through the airport to the train station in a daze - perhaps it is the image of the bandade and the scar below, or the image of the flying byke (and worse - the flying E.). In the train, I rest my shoulder on hers and I feel her strength - way beyond my own - but that's again the titanium bone-support.
We walk to the hotel - and it is charming - with stairs shaped like a heart, escalator with a carpet on the wall, and a welcoming receptionist like in a movie - he explains how to get around the city, and so we do, leaving behind our baggage (and the metaphorical) and enjoying our conversation (in the midst of the football game - how dare we?!). And who would have known that she has hatched a cunning plan - and I would be her partner in crime (then again, when one brings a smile and tears and a smile again, one feels no remorse).
Day 2 starts with rain - as it should always do - because rain keeps the streets envigorated - people rushing to get away from the rain, people opening colourful umbrellas hoping for protection, people cuddling closer together under the same umbrella. And then there are the people like us who couldn't care less for an umbrella. And we walk looking for old books, new fashion cuts, and discourses on life (we are such cliches!). But then comes our chance to hatch the plan - to surprise our hosts with an arrival - and surprise we do - as they have just relaxed on the massage table, we barge in to their amazement - and they don't know if the massage oil fumes have not messed up with their eyes.
And that's when I see the tears, mixed with joy, and smiles - when salt becomes elixir that heals wounds and scars.