When you look for yourself & find something else (Paihia, NZ)

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It was warm but breezy and judging by the way the world was movin’, I was anticipating one hell of a sunset. I had planned to sit on a patio by the water at noon, order one beer, write a bit and then head to the beach. But Lauren came along and one beer turned into four, and no writing had happened and no swim had happened but it was so beautiful and so fun and that’s what this was all about anyway. To let myself be free.

As it was now much later in the day and Lauren had left to catch her cruise, I had the idea to rent a kayak and paddle out to an island to watch the sunset. Unfortunately no one was renting after 5, so the next best option was to leisurely hike the lookout on the other side of the island. I hit the trail with nothing but my journal and some H20, figuring I’d find inspiration in the sunset rather than the patio today.

I was not anticipating how challenging this journey would be, nor was I dressed for the occasion. Half an hour in my birks were blistering and my sundress was a sweaty sack on my body. But I was determined (and tipsy) so I powered on. The sun was setting dammit, and I was going to find that inspo.

The path was long. I kept passing people and sharing enthusiastic hellos, but I was dying, and they could tell. I poured half my water bottle on my head and sipped the rest. I moaned out loud because I could and wished I had a band-aid.

And suddenly, I saw a flash of colour poking through the trees. I was almost at the top. I literally started to run because I just wanted the walk to be over and was so genuinely stoked to sit atop this lookout point and bask in the peace and glory of our beautiful planet.

I ran and hobbled and ran and hobbled, and as I burst out of the trees and into the light there it was! Two skinny teenagers having sex.

They scrambled up and fumbled at zippers and I, having no idea how to handle this situation, simply walked past them and sat down on a bench. Was I supposed to acknowledge this? Was I supposed to leave? I needed a couple seconds to catch my breath, people. I just climbed Everest in a fucking DRESS and I wasn’t physically capable of climbing down yet. So I just sat there. After a minute or two I slowly swivelled my head to see if they had left to scout out a new location – but there they were, just sitting there, arms linked, giggling and watching me out of the corner of their eye.

They were waiting for me to leave.

I thought that was bold and weird, and I was also confused as to why no one else was up here. I mean, was I the only person in this beach town this impressed with Mother Nature’s baller capabilities?

As I struggled with my natural awkwardness and debated between playing stupid and camping out, but also wanting to feed into social norms and support their teenage summer love, I heard footsteps. Another man had entered the scene, and I saw the two whisper to each other. This was their cue, and they peaced out.  

I was so relieved.

He sat down beside me.

“I’m so glad you came here!” I exclaimed to him. “I walked in on them doing it and had no idea how to handle the situation!”

He smiled at me and said nothing, because he didn’t speak English. So I simply smiled back until we both got uncomfortable and ignored each other, focusing our attention on the setting sun.

And so I suppose this hike proved to be a success. I found the inspiration I needed to write something in a very unexpected form. I learned the challenge of hiking post-beer, and I understood how unwise it is to walk that far in Birkenstocks.

So, here’s to day drinks, to sunsets, to young love. To broken zippers and broken spirits and sweaty ugly people ruining what could have been some crazy summer sex. MA BAD!