We were adopted.
Friendship was assumed.
There were no extensive conversations about where we were from or who our families were.
After 2 days we would part.
However this knowledge of our short friendship triggered passion rather than indifference
I sat between Liz and Augustine. Augustine was traveling with his Laura. When he said her name his eyes lit up. His Spanish accent made the letters curl and twist in a way that the American accent does not allow. After being around so many inquisitive, naïve, unsettled, unrestrained young adults, these two were a breath of fresh air. They were content.
I felt a hand on my shoulder as I walked up to my hostel. I reveled in the touch, not knowing who it was, but loving every second. I turned and saw Augustine. He simply smiled, as though to say I am here, and kept walking.
“I only travel based off of recommendation.” Lucas told me, in his strong Swiss accent, when I asked where he was going next. This traveling technique created a random, intense, hilarious adventure for Lucas matching his personality exactly. He wore his long blond hair in a bun in the middle of his head. His eyes were a striking blue and his lips never stopped moving. I was envious of his ability to express his opinion without any embarrassment or hesitation.
There was silence. Mt. Bromo was ours for these moments. We took a minute to soak it in. After a few seconds there was a strumming of what sounded like a ukulele. All of our heads turned to the back of our group. All I could see were Lucas’s red Converse hanging over the edge. His fingers strumming his guitarlele. We all laughed. Of course it was Lucas who broke the silence.
In between Augustine and Lucas sat Augustine’s Laura. Her English was not abundant. But you did not need language to communicate with Laura. You could read her face like an open book. It was not a boring story either. She expressed every emotion she felt on that face of olive tone skin and deep brown eyes, with bangs that hit the middle of her forehead. Her expressions told her feelings perfectly. She did not find frustration, or anger, or disgust shameful or embarrassing. She was not afraid of her emotions but commanded them with grace.
On the other side of Lucas sat Giode. Half German, half Indian, he is the definition of beauty as his face has sharp features but soft, flawless dark skin. His words were only ever kind and amusing and intelligent. He had a beauty inside that matched his exterior. Creating a self that people were drawn to as opposed to repelled from or intimidated by.
Giode was the glue of our new family.
After Giode came Jean. Jean’s face was rugged. He had a history in those sun tanned pores and his untamed blond curly locks. His French accent created confusion when he spoke. I do know that he spoke with passion and thought.
Nico, Jean’s companion sat next to Liz. Nico was an incredibly quiet man. He did not see much point in talking if he had nothing to say. I respected this and followed suit, observing more at this dinner table than participating. Nico’s face was covered with a full dark beard and his light eyes hid behind a pair of thick rimmed glasses creating a very mysterious person.
“I am sorry, but I don’t even know your name” Nico said to me on our hike back to town. At this point names were unnecessary. I would be described as the quiet, giggly, American. But I told him anyway. “Taylor,” I said. “Like Taylor Swift,” I continued. Both he and Jean laughed and I felt a sense of accomplishment. This seemed to create a bond and we continued talking with ease until we came to the road.
That night as we ate our dinners, ranging from spaghetti to pineapple curry, the conversation never ran dry. We talked about politics and religion and cheese with a passion I hadn’t experienced in a great deal of time. The aspiration in their voices made me smile. It gave me a sense of hope.
We found ourselves far past the fence built for tourists. My entire body was shaking from fear and excitement. The smell of sulfur filled the air as the wind changed direction. There was nothing keeping me from tumbling to the center of Mt. Bromo except my own trust in my legs and stability. Facing this fall forced me to feel more alive than any other moment. I felt a great deal of gratitude for my new friends as I sat on the edge of that volcano. They did not look at me as fragile. They assumed I was ready to fly. For that I thank them.
She was not tired. She was waiting.
She was waiting for something brilliant, and passionate, and exhilarating and enormous.
She had no idea she was waiting for herself.
Photo Credit: Liz Meyer