Posts Tagged With: Luce

Loving Luce

Luce parked the moped in front of a resort called Ubud Green. She led me through a maze of pathways to different villas. We entered through a door,  walked through a hallway and lounge to a patio and swimming pool where several other people chatted on a Bali lounge.

The patio overlooked the rice paddies. It was silent out there but for the night time insects and amphibians. The unspoiled and hard workers would wake soon.  But in the villa it was filled with talking, the clack of wine bottles, and the doomed voice of Amy Winehouse. Crime writer Joey shared the villa next door with a few other writers, so he kindly went to get me some surf shorts to wear.

We stripped to our swim wear and were in the pool in minutes. Luce and I broke from the others. She swam to the edge of the patio, and I swam casually in her direction. I was her satellite now. Joey sat on the pool stairs and talked with the others, and though he settled on a frizzy haired blonde beauty to talk to during the 3am blues; still he frowned as he watched us both.

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Luce and I talked. There is much to it when you love the sound the words come from, the lips the sounds escape. She told me why she left modelling, and why she liked photography so much. She was reluctant at first, but she spoke faster and her hands would jump animatedly from the surface of the water, often splashing me in the eyes.

“They used my image to represent other products,” she said, sometime during the early hours, when we were the only two left on the patio. “Sure, I felt beautiful when I saw the finished photos. But I suppose I always wanted to record other images to represent how I felt. Guess after a lot of crap that happened, I gave up the fashion. Put on too much weight anyway.”

I wanted to tell her she wasn’t fat, that she was beautiful, amazing, gorgeous. I am glad I didn’t get the chance to reveal my infatuation. She ducked under the water. Resurfaced and spat the water in my face. “Argh!” I groaned dramatically and wrestled her back under the water. She slid away like an eel, poked me in the ribs and swam to the other side for another Bintang.

We sat on the pool stair, she comfortably between my legs, as we watched the sky lighten over the rice paddies. The palms that marked a ravine in the distance began to colour from dark blues to orange and greens. The air warmed. Once we left the pool we would sweat.

“What about you, Chris?” Luce asked as she stroked my tanned, hairy thigh. “We’ve talked about me all night. I’m so sorry.”

Only now did I start thinking of the degree I had left behind. The assignments that were due. I knew I would have to turn on my phone and answer the many messages from concerned family members. I felt tense now, and perhaps she felt that. She spun around and kissed me.

“Do you write much poetry?” she asked. I knew then she believed I was entirely different to what I was. She thought I was a wandering bohemian writing love poetry and down to earth travel fiction as a way to make a living.

“I never wrote poetry before,” I said, “I never performed. I never wrote any stories. I’m not that creative.”

“Everyone is creative,” Luce said. “You just need inspiration. You need a muse.” She grinned. “Write about tonight, where we were, what we did, what we’re going to do.”

It was now hot above the surface of the water. She slowly got out and held my hand. “I’m tired,” she yawned, and took me into the villa, kept on walking till she opened a glass sliding door into her bedroom. The king sized bed was made; ready; prepared on both sides. Her body was still damp as she lay next to me on the bed.

An air-conditioner hummed somewhere above us. I kissed her, and she kissed me harder. Her facial expression seemed angry in the room’s vague lighting, even when she closed her eyes.

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Categories: How I Met a Woman, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hobnobbing with Paul Kelly and Luce

The festival’s closing ceremony was amazing. I will remember it for the rest of my life.

It was held beside a resort on the top of a hill. 500 locals and westerners (perhaps more) danced  to bass, acoustic and Balinese rhythms, as large exotic birds – like cockatoos, parrots and horn-bills – all gathered on artificial branches by the back wall, watching us with disdain.

An experimental acoustic guitarist from Jordan opened the night – he crooned out songs as the crowd got loose. A girl danced with me for a little while, and I made the mistake of dancing too. The surrounding backpackers booed at my moves.

Embarrassed, I slunk away, as men wearing masks and stilts twirled with fire. They co-ordinated their somersaults and twirls in traditional dress, blasting fire over the audience like dragon fire. Instead of terrified cries, there was applause, and another song began.

Someone took my arm, while I was still blushing. “Did you see that?” Luce said (the girl I met in the Bali Buddha the day before). “Wasn’t it incredible?” She let go of my arm. “I love Bali.”

“Me too,” I said, and I just stood, not sure how to keep up the conversation while we had to shout in each other’s ears to be heard. I watched her out of the corner of my eye for a little bit, loved how she had curled her red hair, how the colour suited the low cut black dress. Once again – I kept my eyes from slinking down her body.

“I’m Luce,” she said, offering a hand. I shook it.

“Nice to meet you.”

She smiled. “This is the part where you say your name, isn’t it?”

“Chris.”

“You’re from Australia,” she said, guessing from my accent. “I love Australia.”

“Seems like you love everywhere you go,” I said, and she laughed and pushed her hair behind an ear and said “not quite. I’ve been to a lot of places, and some of them have been hellish.”

Her mouth was dry, so I offered to get us both a bottle of flavoured water (no alcohol at the actual ceremony, that was reserved for the after-party) and when I came back she spoke about her photography, and where she had been this year alone (Iceland, India, Nepal) and that she was going to America in a few days’ time.

A few minuters later there was a loud applause later and the crowd scattered. The 2011 Ubud Writers Festival had closed. Before Luce went to join a small group of writers, she said,“If you’re going to the after party at Bridges soon, I’ll see you there?”

I told her I would.

Twenty minutes later and I was at the Bridges Restaurant. It was unclear at first how large the building was. It was set on a ravine – and by the main street bridge which was obviously it’s namesake. There was a spiral staircase set over three floors but the main entrance was on the second. There were bright lights, light brown polished wood and candles everywhere. Bar keeps and waitresses strode calmly but hurriedly to serve the increasing number of customers. I walked downstairs but a blond Dutch man guarded a doorway which was signed “Writers and VIP guests only” and asked me politely if I was anyone special.

Photograph taken from julieinbali.wordpress.com

A photograph of where the writers after party was. I presume the photo was snapped from the bridge. Taken from julieinbali.wordpress.com

So I sat out the front, sharing a bowl of chips with a few other friends I made throughout the festival. They were nice, welcoming, friendly. But I kept thinking of Luce. I was crushing on her, bad.  I thought our conversation could have meant something. But as I write this I realise that the polite conversation she initiated was a lovely reflection on herself, and not on me.

“Chris!” Luce waved at me as she passed by with her writer mates – who were beginning to walk in improvised swirls that only intoxication can bring with such nonchalant lack of elegance. I recognised the poet who inspired me a few nights before into writing poetry. “Come on! We’re going downstairs! Join us!”

I followed her without thinking as I followed the troupe down the stairs – hoping to pass unnoticed by the bouncer. They all showed badges to the Dutch bouncer and were in the party on the other side.

“Who is this?” the Dutch man eyed me down.

“My plus one!” Luce said, and when he looked sceptical, she held my hand. The skin on her hand felt tough and bony, certainly not soft like the powdered cheeks on her face. He waved us through and we stood on a balcony over the river; surrounded by talented musicians and writers I recognised,  but without PR or security blocking them. I recognised Selina Godden, Geoff Lemon, the guitarist from Jordan, Morris Gleitzman, I even brushed arms with Paul Kelly.

“So how do you make gravy anyway?” I asked the famous Australian musician, who was reaching for chocolate mousse. He smiled at me quizzically.

“Stay cool, Chris! Stay cool,” Luce said.

“Give my love to Angus!” I shouted back, as she led me to a corner to sit under a frangipani tree. And still she did not let go of my hand.

“Thank you,” I said as a waiter offered martinis, and as Luce passed me one, she smiled and said, “you’re absolutely welcome.”

Categories: How I Met a Woman, Ubud Writers Festival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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