White Frangipani flowers fall silently from the tall branches where their upturned faces have been absorbing the sun
Hey Beautiful Girl, you will already know of course - for news among the gods travels faster even than it does on the earth plane - that in these final days of the year I can be found traipsing the scorched dusty roads among the cows and stray dogs and bathing in the warm seas of the country of your namesake.
As I make my way along the, oddly sweet-smelling, cow dung paths that take me from my tent to the Shala I feel even more ethereal, more connected to you. White Frangipani flowers fall silently from the tall branches where their upturned faces have been absorbing the sun while offering their nectar to the birds and many insects. They fall around me like rare confetti from the heavens and I can not walk by a single flower without plunging my nose into each yellow core to inhale the deliriously sweet scent. A fragrance of such purity that even the most dedicated of perfumer will fail to replicate.
We awaken early in the morning for meditation which is billed so perfectly, so simply and so correctly as Silent Sitting. When I read it on arrival last week it made me laugh - for that is what meditation really is.
Sitting still, in silence.
I knew then I had happened upon a magical place.
Of course I don’t believe anything just happens, not anymore as since you left I have wandered this earth retracing your steps with the help of your glorious, gap-year journals and have come to understand so much more of our destinies, so much more of the remarkable tale of our lives.
Here in the land of gods, superstitions, mystics and storytelling so much is unravelling, in my heart, in my soul - aided in no small part by the painstaking task of regaining the use of my badly-broken limb.
In between the deeply nourishing yoga classes I am never far from a wonderful book, placed in my hands by your beloved Hayley. It is the epic tale of the Mahabharata rewritten from a woman’s perspective and again today as I sprawled on the adust earth by the pool, baking my skin in the midday sun I couldn’t tear myself away. There are warriors blessed and cursed, there are slayings, appalling acts of vengeance and great feats of valour and there is a queen whose experiences harden her heart - it is a tale of life and death of destiny, lineage and karma. I plunge into this book at every opportunity and my days and dreamings are beginning to merge into one.
From atop the coconut trees, birds of many colours serenade, giant butterflies flit playfully around my head, crows - messengers from the spirit world - entertain with their clumsy landings and loud chatter. Feathers fall at my feet, peacocks preen and fuss around the bush encircling the perimeter, herons float gracefully along the swampy remains of the Baga River and eagles soar overhead and in all these things I find you My Beautiful Girl.
Yes my heart lurches with every question levied by strangers: Do you have children Kimm? “No” I have answered too many times - your life and death too sacred for flippant, breakfast conversation.
On Christmas Eve Alina and I walked for hours along the hot sand, the sun was falling and the light was moving from the brightness of the sunny day to the golden spectacle of the closing moments and at one point I was struck by a powerful knowing that I was walking where you once walked. My legs buckled and emotion rose into my throat, I reached for your journal furious with myself that I didn’t know exactly where you had been in Goa when you were travelling on your year away - 18 years old. There it is; August 23rd, Arambol Beach which you described as “busy with women selling things” but also as a little piece of paradise, you found a cheap room at the 21 Coconuts Inn.
We quickened our pace, a race to see if the place you had stayed was still there and if so, could we make it before dark?
The gods were kind to us and just as the sun slipped from sight we found ourselves outside the shabby inn. Beautiful Girl these moments are as devastating as they are exhilarating. The thrill of finding a gem such as this, collides with the brutal truth of your passing and shatter my heart once more, grief and longing silently quake deep in my belly and I fear I will fall right where I stand.
I stare at the sign, at the balconies of the rooms above the inn, at the half-clean, travel-weary washing hanging on frayed blue plastic lines.
The waiter stares at me.
I stare back.
We walk slowly up the narrow street in search of a Tuk Tuk and I wonder in which shop you bought the anklet that you refer to on the next pages and which now jangles around my foot, and was it right here that you chose the green Alibaba pants that you loved so much? They draw compliments still - except this time it is me who is wearing them.
My Beautiful Girl I am beginning to accept the extraordinariness of our life, how my cry to the Gods to help me so many years ago was answered with what then seemed more like a curse than a blessing. I wanted help, to be taken care of, loved and supported and the Gods answered me with a swollen belly - irrefutable proof the doctors had been wrong when they said I would never conceive.
I was homeless, jobless and alone.
But my darling, like a goddess you came to save me, to guide and to teach me and once you knew I was ready you returned home.
In the unstable Tuk Tuk I am reminded of what you told me when you left for these shores as a girl straight from school: “Mum you filled my head with tales of travel and adventure and the time has come for me to go away to learn and to grow and you have to also learn to live without me - at least for a year.”
Were you training me for what lay ahead?
I never really worried about you the year you were away my darling, I simply missed you. . .
Now, in the stillness of this magical land I am visited in my dreams by an ancient guru who laughs and gazes deep into my soul with his exquisite eyes. I know these dreams are really visions just like the one that warned me of your death years before it came to pass.
I later learn that the beautiful man who steals like a thief into my soul and teases me in my sleep is no figment of my imaginings - he is Shirdi Sai Baba a most humble guru and reincarnation of Shiva who died 100 years ago.,
I don’t know yet what message he has for me but I feel it’s gravitas and know when it is revealed it will carry me forward further to achieve my destiny and when that is done Beautiful Girl I will return home to you.
I feel strong my darling, in body and in mind but mostly in my soul - I am wiser, more grounded and I am ready.