I know I have taken a while to get to telling you (the patient reader) about the beautiful woman who changed my life. The woman who made me realise I was but a scared little boy surrounded by sex-crazed men in a materialistic world where everything – including the warmth of another– has currency.
Her name is Luce. And she is a former Lacoste model turned internationally renowned photographer.
Two years ago I was in the Bali Buddha – relaxing with a book and eating fish and chips. A woman clutching a motorbike helmet walked up the stairs and joined a couple at the table beside me. I had gathered by their conversation that they were writers and photographers who were speaking at the festival.
“Excuse me,” she said, after noticing their table was one seat short. She had red hair cut to just above her shoulders, a nose ring, and despite the heat wore a khaki military style sort of jacket, and ragged jeans. I remember thinking this was strange. And a little bad-ass.
I ignored her, until I learnt she was speaking to me. She waved. I smiled back. “You want the seat? It’s all yours!” I said.
My eagerness must have been taken the wrong way. I was just happy to talk to another person. I was lonely.
“You were at the bar last night, performing that poem,” She said. I stared up at her eyes, trying not to check her breasts, which stuck out under the low cut top between the unbuttoned jacket. They were perky. Ripe for attention. But when I weakened, and I glimpsed down, I saw she had a tag given to all the workers at the festival.
“Writer”, it said.
“Yeah, that’s me,” I said, laughing with embarrassment. “I wrote it yesterday afternoon. I know it was a bit crap, but…”
“I thought it was beautiful,” she said. The other two behind her smiled at me as well, but their lips were shaped differently. I assumed they were pretentious, fake, and forcing themselves to engage with me.
I was not one of them.
“Thank you,” I said, as she dragged the seat across to the other two. I disguised my eavesdropping by staring down at my book. But really I was hoping to break into that conversation, to listen to her speak to me in that French accent.
But the truth is sometimes you cannot force something to happen no matter how much you want it to. But though we kissed the next night on a balcony underneath a frangipani tree, surrounded by the most respected writers and artists for thousands of kilometres (and much more!) I tried to shrug her memory away when I saw her follow the couple down the stairs.
She didn’t glance back at the awkward, shaggy haired (it wasn’t as long then) loner finishing his crumbed fish.