“THE NIGHT THAT OPENED ME UP”

That had been one hell of a getaway.

No wonder they call it The Island of Gods. It did feel like a paradise to me, eventhough temporary. It was the place where you could relax for a while, forgetting about reality behind you.

Once in a while, you feel like doing something different. You know, like breaking the rules or going off your principles. Well, just a bit.

It was a breezy late afternoon. My best friend Hazel Eyes and I were meeting up with his friend and former roommate – who always refers to herself as Lady Phoenix, which suits her perfectly.

We were hanging out at La Planca by Kuta Beach when Lady Phoenix wanted to order something for dinner later on. Sitting on one of the colourful beanbags, she turned to us and offered:

“Would you guys like to order anything?”

“Hmm, let’s see.” Hazel Eyes studied the menu. “What are you going to have?”

“I want Corona,” Lady Phoenix said and shrugged. “You?”

“Ah, I think I’ll have that too. It’s been a while.” Then my best friend turned to me. “You?”

I had no idea what had possessed me, but I hardly recognized my own voice when I finally blurted out:

“Oh, what the hell – I’ll have that too!”

Hazel Eyes gaped, but Lady Phoenix just ordered that for me. Next, we clinked our bottles for a toast and sipped it. We even ordered finger foods after that.

We stayed there until sundown. It wasn’t the kind of sunset that we’d expected it to be like, but it was okay.

We took a walk along the beach after that. Too bad Lady Phoenix had to leave early. It was Sunday and she had to work the next day.

It was already past eight.

“So, are you ready for your next challenge?” asked Hazel Eyes with a wink. I smiled coyly at him.

“Game on!”

So we headed back into town. He picked one of his favourite clubs there and I simply tagged along, a curious cat on his trail.

It was crowded. We took a table at the corner of the room. I made a quick scan on the menu before asking – or I should say, yelling at – the waiter:

“Which one’s better – Kahlua or Illusion?”

“Kahlua,” he suggested, so that’s what I’d ordered that night. Kahlua with milk. Not only that, but I’d had the second glass while I was dancing with Hazel Eyes.

It was a pleasant night, but it had felt sort of…blurry to me. My senses were open and closed at the same time. Everything had come in fragments. Loud music. People dancing. Athletic, muscular, and bare-chested hunks dancing on the table. Trannies in pretty outrageous dresses. (Wait, was that Rihanna? Oh, wait. That was a dude!)

The rest of the night, I felt lighter and lighter. My conscience was open to nothing else but joy and laughter…

— // —

“Hey.”

I opened my eyes, looking at my grinning best friend Hazel Eyes.

“Hi.” Okay, that was quick. How did we get back into this hotel room? I slowly sat, holding my head. No dizziness, thank God.

Hazel Eyes sat on the bedside, still grinning with amusement.

“I wish I’d had a camera to record you last night.” He started giggling. “You couldn’t stop cackling – all the way from Seminyak to Sanur – and thank God I was driving. You’d almost tripped at the lobby, and I had to shush you because you were so loud you might have woken up the other guests!”

“Really?” I was horrified.

“Don’t worry,” Hazel Eyes assured me, still giggling. “We managed to return to this room safely.”

“Thank God.” I may not have remembered that night very well, but his giggling was infectious – so I started giggling too…

 

R.

            (Jakarta, 16/4/2015 – from The Couchsurfing Writers’ Club at Kopi Oey, Jalan Sabang – Jakarta, starting at 8:00 pm. The topic: “drinks”.)

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