Despite, how slow, I thought my two weeks of R and R would pass at the beginning,
my time in Napier, raced past, out and about exploring the surroundings in different directions every day. In love with the dolphins, I was a regular at ‘Marineland’, never missing a show or training. After a couple of days of slipping in through their open side door, the dolphins seemed to notice my arrival poolside by swimming over and letting me touch them. I felt an uncanny connection with them, as if they knew how sad, I felt inside.
On a few very sunny afternoons, I puffed my way up a long windy road to the top of the Bluff hill, to sit on the grass and enjoy the panoramic view in all directions. Directly below me, Napier’s wharves were a hive of activity, people and machinery buzzing around loading and unloading the big ships. Out across the sea, in the far distance of the bay, the white glistening cliffs of, the Gannets’ colony at Cape Kidnappers, shining in the sunlight.
Another fun sitting and thinking spot, was a little bus-stop type shelter, on the beach across the road from my boarding house. Facing straight out to sea, I was left in no doubt that the way the wild, wind whipped waves, came crashing in like giant sea monsters, spitting their sea-spray all over me, they would drag me off, if they could.
I enjoyed having my after lunch cuppa, in the lounge, looking out at the sea through the boarding house’s large front window. While pondering my afternoon activities, I noticed a car pull up out front and a young male driver get out and come into the foyer. Sticking his head through the lounge door, I was expecting him to ask me for some directions or information. Guests seeking information were coming and going all the time. Instead, right out of the blue, he asked me if I wanted to go out for a coffee that night. Flabbergasted by this complete stranger’s audacity, and taken completely off guard, I went a bit mad and said yes.
In the evening after my meal, by the time he returned, I was getting cold feet wondering what I had got myself into, but agreed to go to a nearby local cafe. Sipping coffees, which I hated, we talked about our lives, but I realized, as soon as he, hilariously, started trotting out corny lines, comparing my eyes to rock pools, this might be his regular pick-up routine.
On the drive back to the boarding house, he parked the car up wanting me to do ‘it’. When I said no, he fished out a large, neatly ironed men’s white hanky from his pocket, draped it over his thing and started rubbing away. When he was done, it was a big relief for the both of us, as he returned me to the boarding house. In the safety of my room, re-winding my lucky escape from going a bit crazy, it occurred to me to wonder, who washed and ironed his hankies.