‘Hey, don’t you want to come in the water?’ he asked me. I didn’t want to go. Maybe he felt that I was a little ashamed of my body. But the weather was also not inviting. ‘I’ll go in later. We wanted to check out Playa Punta Carola. It’s meant to have the best view of the sunset. Join us if you like.’ He looked at me with a gentle smile and said ‘This could be your last chance to swim in the sea’ ‘No, no, I’ll go in tonight.’ I replied. I paused while he repeated:’no, I mean it can always be your last time’. I looked at him and I smiled. I had known that but it seemed that I had forgotten and I had to be reminded. I shook my head. ‘Alright, as you wish’ and off he went.
That evening we decided to go to Playa Mann instead. David, my sister and I. I was wearing a bikini underneath but I hadn’t expected to actually expose it when I put it on in the afternoon. See the sun was so strong that it was common to wear UV shirts and trousers on top. We were at the equator after all. But the sun was less strong nearing sunset and the whole taxi ride I was thinking ‘damn, how can get out of this. I wish I had worn the damn swimsuit instead. Maybe we can stop by the hostel’ ‘hey, maybe the taxi driver can drop us straight at the beach, makes sense right?’ David suggested. ‘Hmm, sure. ‘ Damn it. There was no good reason to veto. And there we were. The three of us. My sister who uses every opportunity to remind me of my flaws, David and I. I remembered his words from earlier that afternoon and took off my shirt and trousers and stripped off my fears. With a sceptical look from my sister I walked towards the sea. David didn’t even look.
‘So what are you doing tomorrow?’ he asked. I had wanted to spend the day alone. It had been nearly two weeks of powering through my sister’s strict holiday plan and I was in desperate need of a slow day for and by myself. ‘Well, my sister is doing another snorkeling tour. I’m not sure what I’m doing. Probably spending a quite day by the beach.’ He looked at me expectingly. ‘Join, if you like?’ People pleaser. ‘Yes, I would like that. Maybe we could go to that beach you recommended.’ ‘Sure, why not.’
The next morning, I had left the door open, so he’d know I was awake. My sister had already left for the day trip. Just as I had finished getting ready, his door opened and I turned to him. ‘Morning’ I smiled with my wet afro mane. I could see he was bewildered, the way that guys are when they like someone. ‘Good morning. Had any breakfast yet?’ ‘No, just coffee.’ ‘Perfect!’ ‘I’m just going to fill up my bottle of water’ ‘Sure’. With his back towards the door, he stood outside at the top of the stairway and waited for me. As I passed the door I caught a glimpse of him. He stood there like someone with a mission, like a statue. There was something in him that felt gentle and supple, but moreover strong and powerful.
We had breakfast at one of the cafes by the pier, talked about holistic medicine and the Ethiopian alphabet, we booked his speed boat ticket for the next day and started our 45 minutes walk to the beach. About ten minutes in we reached a lookout and saw a bird with a white underbelly circling the skies. He recognised the frigatebird. ‘Was it you or your sister who really wanted to see one?’ ‘Oh, the ones with the red collar? My sister’ I replied. ‘It’s a male’ he said. ‘The male’s collar is red. This one is a female. The male’s collar is red because he wants to impress the female. You know, it’s always like that in nature. Males always have bigger or more colourful features or they do something in order to impress the female and win her over.’ He fed me with truths of how things were, of nature, of simplicity, of the things that I had been craving.
For a while we were joined by a very loyal golden retriever. He’d sometimes wander off hunting something in the bush. I had wanted to call him so we could continue our journey, David had the same in mind. I remained still and let him call the dog and simply enjoyed his return. This holiday had been all about letting go of control for me. I wanted to let things happen again, I didn’t want to push for things and let God’s work happen. And it felt good to watch him. It started to feel good to be with David, too. I made space for David to pass me so he could walk in front. Both him and the dog passed me. David walked fast and I couldn’t keep up. Unlike the dog, he didn’t turn around and wait when I was further behind. I was a little disappointed, but glad and grateful for the dog keeping me company. Soon we parted ways with him and it was just David and I again.
We finally reached the beach and there was no one else there. I had been to this beach before, however at high tide. With all the volcanic rocks exposed at low tide I didn’t recognise the beach. We decided to sit underneath a tree and wait for the high tide.
After a quick snorkel in the water, we went and sat back under the tree. We hadn’t discovered anything and I was still a little shook from a recent encounter with a tiger shark, so I was happy to leave the waters again. ‘So, didn’t you want to show me Jim Morrison’ s music?’ The evening before, we had asked David about his tattoos. Besides his art, they were his passion, he wanted to work as a tattoo artist. He had a tattoo of Morrison’s face on the inside of his left forearm. ‘Yes, sure’. He took out his phone and played some of The doors’ songs. ‘The End’ was one of his favourite ones. I took his phone and held it close to my ear and listened to it in its entirety, while watching each wave break at the shore. The water was as clear as the sky. The unforgiving heat and bright light of the sun together with the song moved me into their spell. God, I had missed music so much, I had had no idea. Everything was so perfect. The music, the sun, the beach, the occasional iguana and the company. What a perfect moment. I was mesmerised for a moment and didn’t speak until the very last sound of the song, so as to hold on to the feeling. At that moment, I was so grateful that he had asked me to spend the day together. I would have never experienced this otherwise. ‘Perfect. What a perfect moment.’ I said while giving him his phone back. I didn’t think he understood how I felt and how special listening to music by the beach had felt to me.
He told me about Jim Morrison, about his life and career. He knew his story in such great detail. I could tell, he was a source of inspiration for David. I could have listened for days. He then played me some more music, reggae, then proudly showed off some hip hop by his friends’ band. I was impressed.
‘What kind of music do you listen to?’ he wanted to know. ‘Anything really.’ I named some genres: pop, soul, world, classical, electronic.. ‘Mostly, I like songs though, not genres. But in terms of artists, hmm let’s see. Do you know India Arie?’ He didn’t. ‘Do you want me to sing you a song?’ ‘Yes, if you like.’ So I lay down on my back, closed my eyes and sang him a song. ‘You should start singing again’ ‘Thanks’ I had told him that I used to sing, but had suddenly lost the urge to do so a few years back. But with that one comment, the topic changed again. There was no questioning about what I had done in music, what genres I sang, what bands I had played in. It wasn’t about achievements, in fact it wasn’t about me. And that felt good. It helped me to just be. Even though I wasn’t there by myself.
As I was laying on the side facing him, I took a peak at his other tattoo across his left flank. I was curious about what it represented. A man with a mask of a lion head covering his. He noticed I was looking and I felt caught. ‘So, when did you decide to try and stay longer on the islands? Was it yesterday?’ he asked me with a smile. We had met yesterday. But I spoke the truth. I had originally wanted to stay in Ecuador for up to a week longer, but my Ecuadorian friend Erich couldn’t join me and I didn’t want to travel by myself. I decided to book the early return ticket but instantly regretted it when I clicked on the buy button. I didn’t know why then, but I knew it was wrong. He questioned me on why I hadn’t wanted to travel by myself. I said I had traveled by myself before and didn’t meet many people. I felt it was boring. ‘It’s not because you were scared?’ he asked. ‘No, mainly because it’s boring.’ I was about to say what I really felt, but something stopped me. I felt that it’s nicer to share moments with someone than to experience them alone. I never felt strongly about experiencing them with my Ecuadorian friend. But now I had the urge to experience them with him. He wanted me to stay but I had a feeling that he doubted my motivation. He thought it was out of fear, and that I would use him just so that I would not have to travel alone. But that wasn’t the case.
‘Shall we go in the water again before we head back? I’m starting to get hungry.’ the water had come closer. It must have been midday by now, I had no clue though. I had lost all sense of time and there was only the present moment. ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ Once again, I took off my shirt and we headed towards the water. I stayed close to the shore, but he kept calling me in. ‘Come, here are those fish you kept seeing from the beach’. I hesitated. He swam towards me. ‘If you’re uncomfortable, swim closer to the reef and then when you’re more confident you can swim further out.’ ‘It’s not that. I’m scared of the sharks.’ He laughed. ‘They don’t come this close to the shore.’ I gathered my courage and followed him as he chased the huge flock of rainbow fish. We stopped and held on to some rocks and while David was fixing his goggles, I kept looking down and right next to me there was a huge flock of black fish passing us by. It seemed endless, whenever I looked down, they were still there. I was mesmerised by the sea. It was alive and put us in our place. We were nature.
I was happy and proud and grateful for overcoming my fear a bit and for the rewarding sights. I went out towards the tree and noticed an iguana had had the same idea. It was sat in front of our bags, seemingly staring into nothingness. I watched it for a while, before it quickly moved away.
We started our journey back. The heat was getting stronger, just as I had said out loud that it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I watched his back as he was walking in front of me. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of just wanting to follow him where ever he would lead me to. I asked his soul to let me. ‘Will you let me join you through this world for a bit?’ I stopped in between to enjoy the views. He was ahead but came back as soon as he noticed that I was further behind. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t notice. It’s because I’m used to walking alone’ I smiled. ‘It’s ok’.
I had boarded the airplane in Quito. Everything felt wrong. I wanted to cry. Changing my flight ticket would have been too expensive and I simply hadn’t had the money. The plane took off. My fear of flying threatened to creep up on me, but this time I was determined to fight it. I remembered his words ‘It could always be the last time you go in the water’ It had helped me realise that there is no point in being scared for when your time comes it comes. I searched the on flight entertainment system for some music. ‘I wonder if they have The doors’ and to my surprise they did. As I listened to ‘The end’ on repeat, my fears floated away and I was reminded again of the power of music. He is a healer, I know it. I don’t think he does yet. I don’t know how, perhaps through his art, perhaps through his tattoos, but he will heal. He had healed me. Music had healed me.
Life is a gift. Enjoy it.
Who was I before this journey? I don’t remember. Who will I become? I don’t know yet.
This life is but a journey and I am immensely grateful for being allowed to experience it.
I have been extremely privileged in the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to go to both law (4 years) and medical school (6 years). And what a journey it has been.
So what have I learnt?
I believe law school was a preparation for what I was to experience in medical school.
I’ve learnt that ~isms are real. I’ve learnt that they often hold back excellence and that they will hinder a group, a society as a whole from excelling because talents, gifts remain suppressed or overshadowed. I’ve learnt that fear is often the cause and the driver of bullies. I’ve learnt that what happens in politics on the big screens, the things that we watch and complain about are a mere reflection of what happens in our daily lives and day to day interactions.
I have learnt never to doubt yourself or to allow others to make you doubt yourself. There will be plenty who will try and they will all have their own motives for doing so. Some may be weak themselves, some may be fearful. I’ve learnt not to succumb to their needs in frustration by litteling myself but to demand excellence and respect instead as I would wish others would demand of me.
I’ve learnt to forgive. But I have also learned to accept and to see people for how they present themselves to you.
I’ve learnt to do what you love. To accept and to receive your blessings, even if sometimes they come in disguise. To read the signs of life carefully and to accept them. To fight for the things that you are convinced of but to let go of things that aren’t meant for you. Your blessing is already in the making. To trust in the way. To have faith in God.
To work hard. To find your own methods and strategies in life and to believe in them. To let yourself be inspired by others but not intimidated. To know and to admit when you are in the wrong. To learn. To grow.
To believe in yourself, no matter what no matter who. To demand respect and excellence, it won’t be given to you. To know your worth. Never to settle for less. To respect your work and to understand its possible impact on the world. To give it the time and effort and energy that it deserves. To ask for help, you’re just a part of it and it’s not about you. I‘ve learnt about the importance of communication and I’ve learnt about the hard consequences a lack thereof can have.
Life is beautiful. I’m excited about all that is to come and all that I will become.
PS.: And of course a I learnt a whole lot about laws and healing, too! 🙂
This is beautiful world
Oh, flowers that grow and rivers that flow
Angels have put me here on earth
so I can enjoy, enjoy the fruits of life
This is a beautiful world
Oh, lovers hold hands and children that dance
Flying birds up in the sky
Reach high, reach high
But be satisfied
Oh, I love you world
I love you world..
You put me on a high
I love you world,
I love you world…
I fly so high
Oh, what a magical world
Oh, shimmering seas and nurturing trees
Discover it while you can
Open your eyes to the adventure
Oh, what a magical world
we come and we go
it’s the natural flow
so while you have the time
Open your hearts and appreciate
Oh, I love you world
I love you world..
You put me on a high
I love you world,
I love you world…
I fly so high,
Year by year, day by day (gone)..
Please, check out my music on YouTube:
This is my first track. More to come 🙂 Please, comment, share, like and subscribe, if you like the song. I would really appreciate your support ❤