Arlo and I spent a cozy night up in the strawberry capital, Badugl with my friend Ann and her daughter. It’s only a 2hr drive from the hot sunny beaches of Canggu, but we felt like we’d traveled to a different country. A cool rainy mist clung to the mountains. The air was like early spring back home in NC. I happily wrapped a sweater around me. The kids ran through the botanical gardens bundled up in their long sleeves. The misty fog floating in the tree tops gave the forest an enchanted feel.
We stayed at a funky little hotel with shag carpets, pink walls and a fire place! After the cold rainy end to our day in the woods the fire was a real treat!
After dinner we played board games by the fire. The next morning brought clear skies for the drive back. We had a great time. It was nice to get a break from the heat and spend some time with new friends.
On the ride home we came upon a very sad accident that had only happened 10 or 15 minutes before. A teenage boy about Silas’ age or maybe a little older was laying motionless on the pavement. The traffic moved slowly as we made our way up to the scene and rolled inches away from his lifeless body. Arlo and Anouck pressed their noses to the window. I couldn’t stop them from looking, I couldn’t stop from looking. In slow motion we all took in the details of this tragedy. A helmet laying haphazardly on the ground, flip flops tossed a few yards from his body, the blood flowing from his head made a winding river down the white line on the cement. His face and body had been lovingly covered with a banana leaf, just the soft brown flesh of his bare feet stuck out towards the sky. A woman sat beside him beating her legs, shaking her fists, wailing into the growing crowd. I wanted to look away, I wanted everyone to look away. It wasn’t fair for us to witness her pain, so raw and open- spilling out onto the streets like her sons blood. But of course I couldn’t, no one could. We were all mesmerized by the reality of life and death, the pain and suffering unfolding before us. When I close my eyes I can still see the deep lines of sorrow etched into her face, her faded pink skirt and head wrap. I can feel her desperate, crazy need to pull back time…only a few minutes before her child had been brimming with life, full of possibilities. It had to seem impossible to her that it’s all over now. A man is standing near the boy, he is gripping a police officer’s vest with both hands.He is tan and strong, a man who has worked hard in his life.His expression is one of confusion, he shakes his head as if he’s trying to convince himself it hasn’t happened. His hands drop to his sides; he is defeated. He is saying something…I don’t know what, I’m not sure who he is…the father I think but, maybe the bus drive that hit him…I’m just not sure.
We finally pass. Ann and I are crying. Arlo is quiet. Anouck speaks worried words rapidly in french…the drive home is a blur….it seems like the veil between life and death on this side of the world is very thin…… This is the third life I’ve seen float away into he wind since we left home a year and half ago.