One Night in Ubud

I’m bored in Bali.

I don’t wanna to be sitting here in this smoky bar, talking to these drunk people. It’s not like I’ll remember anything tomorrow. It’s my last night in Ubud. A bunch of Westerners and locals I met convinced me to go out for drinks. It’s already past midnight. I’m going to tell them I’m going to bed.

Then I look up and see him.

He’s sitting right at the next table, serene by himself in a sea of all white furniture. I am drawn towards him with a magnetic pull. My legs are not mine. I spring up and cut my surprised friend off mid-sentence. I wonder if he remembers me. Ok maybe I’m stupid for going to say hi, am I being too forward? I can’t tell with the club lights dancing under the naked night sky.

He smiles as I approach, mirroring my grin that suddenly has it’s own agenda. Of course he recognizes me. We talked for hours in this exact same bar just a few nights ago. I perch on the bench opposite him and we immediately enfold into easy conversation. I ramble about the eco bike ride in the rice fields earlier today, how I’ve come from outdoor yoga at an ashram where I was basically dinner for the resident bugs, the driving tour of the beautiful temples and mountains yesterday, the spa and restaurant hopping the day before that.

But I’m leaving tomorrow.

His face falls.

I’ve already spent a week in the hustle of Ubud. I only have another week to see the rest of the island, and honestly, I just want to relax on the beach. So I’m heading down south to the white sands of surfing mecca Uluwatu in the morning. My plan had been to retreat to the remoteness of the Gili Islands, but there are no boats the next day. It’s Christmas.

We continue to divulge under the veil of palm trees. He tells me about his business in France and how he lives in Bali for several months of the year. His English is pretty good, but his accent is even better. We gaze at each other as though we are in the aura of a mythical creature. I can see in his glazed eyes he is enamoured with a side of intoxication. He looks at my lips as I try to form French words with a North American accent. I stare at his lips as I don’t really listen or care about what he’s saying.

All I can think is:

I want you.

I wonder if he hears, my desires singing, louder than the live band.

I want you.

I wonder if he feels, the currents of tension, tangoing between us.

I want you.

I wonder if he sees, the vibrating sensations, electrifying through my body.

I want you.

The drummer bangs!

I have a husband back home. I shouldn’t be doing this. My worries evaporate into the humidity of the tropical air.

His friends come over to join the conversation and are completely ignored by him. It’s now 2 AM and I’ve already said goodnight to my friends. He offers me a drink. I decline. I have to wake up in a few hours to pack.

He drops into silence for a moment. His eyes pop back to mine. “I can come with you for your vacation for ze week.”

My own eyes enlarge.

“I can take you on my motorbike. Show you Bali. I can take you to Amed, for ze beach and for snorkelling. After, we take a boat to Gili, or we go to Uluwatu. As you want. I show you to my favourite places!”

Is he for real? Was some guy I barely knew offering to be my personal tour guide around this exotic island for the rest of my holiday? Part of me wants to explode into laughter. Another voice whines that the point of coming to the source of Eat, Pray, Love is to spend time alone to figure my shit out. I haven’t stopped meeting people from the moment I boarded the plane. But something is telling me that a gift is being given in the form of a really cute French dude in harem pants.

Since I’ve come to Bali, every day I wake up having no idea of what will happen in the next twenty-four hours. All I know is that what’s happening now feels right. He’s like a road sign gently steering me towards the next direction.

“Ok. Let’s do it.”

He smiles again. “Do you have a phone number in Bali?”

“No. But I can call you.”

He pulls out a business card from his wallet. It’s orange with the symbol Om in Sanskrit. A single Hotmail address is the contact. He scribbles his phone number on the back and hands it to me. “Call me tomorrow when you want to leave, I come to pick you up.”

I look at his writing on the card. Johann. Ahhh, so that’s his name.

Next Chapter: The Motorbike