“Welcome to Earth” the sidewalk greeted me. It was written with green and blue chalk, imitating the hues of the world from far away. The world from a perspective of an outsider. My running shoes contrasted with the Earthy tones. Their florescent colors can only be seen in nature in the deep parts of the oceans that not many frequent. My body ached, but my brain was filled with endorphins, feeling excited by the welcoming the Earthy chalk gave, rather than daunted. Exercise can be wonderful.
I met a man while traveling whose confidence in life was constant. Exercise seemed to be unnecessary. He was in love.
I walked in to the apartment of a friend. When you walked into the room you could tell it was temporary. Scattered photos on the wall making an attempt to be home. To be comfortable, but my friend would only be there for half a year. So would all of us. We were a nomadic grouping. We were all excited but Luke was different. He made it seem so easy. Energetic and unapologetic about his opinion he picked the music.
I didn’t knock, there was no need. The door opened and immediately he put down the iPod he was DJing from and grabbed my body close to his and we danced. Our arms were straight as our hands grasped each other tightly. Both our heads facing the direction our hands were leading in. It was a version of a Tango. It was our version of the Tango. He let me free once the song was over. I had a chance to see the man who had taken me captive for that spontaneous moment. I had a feeling those moments were more frequent in his life than mine.
He stood tall. Tall and skinny with limbs that were awkward and sporadic and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loved to make people smile, and those limbs did just that. His left eye was lazy. You could see every emotion in his right, but his left had gotten tired long ago and was left behind when he was elated about a picture he saw forming in front of him or when he looked at his girlfriend and remembered all the reasons he had followed her to Thailand or when he laughed hard.
He’s an artist. A photographer with talent and passion. While his girlfriend taught English he took pictures and created pieces people thought were worth purchasing.
He has red hair and freckles lying across his nose and cheeks. He was boyish, but more of a man than any other I have met. He had the courage to stand out. To feel every emotion and more than that, show every emotion when the fad was apathy. He wore suspenders and khakis and a Hawaiian button up shirt with dress shoes and a fedora. His sweat drenched his dated outfit that became modern when he wore it.
When he spoke, you heard English as his heritage. He shared an apartment with his girlfriend in Brighton, England, a delightful small town, that was just as quirky as he was, on the coast of the gray country.
That night after my dance with Luke, our nomadic group drank beers and went to a futbol game. We laughed hard and ate spicy food and drank more Chang served on ice. Slightly tipsy I went to Luke and Wenna, his girlfriend, as they staggered towards their hotel. “It was lovely… I mean you are lovely… I mean don’t ever change.” I felt proud even if I was not eloquent. Those were my last words with the man who doesn’t need exercise to have confidence in life. Luke and Wenna giggled. I giggled. We parted. I wouldn’t see him again, but that was ok.