After an early night, I got up for an early start on the day. I walked down to the beach to take in Copacabana in its morning glory. On the way, I stopped for café com leite and bread with butter. I left half my pão for a sleeping Cairoca to give her breakfast in bed.
At a little tienda, I spied a pocketwatch for sale. As a collector of pocketwatches and time, I stopped to look at it. This one was special. Relógio Espinoza. A blue watchface with gold Hebrew letters as numbers. It reminded me of another pocketwatch I bought in Alexandria with hindi numerals on the face- yes, the Arabic world doesn’t use Arabic numerals. But this one was truly special. As Hebrew is right to left, the watch hands run counterclockwise. Spinoza’s watch indeed. A clock that ticks backward, if ever there was a more apt Quijotean contraption.
As an itinerant wanderer, I look for things that let me know I am on the right path. Little markers to know my direction is correct. Things like Cervantes and Quixote. Windmills. Arco irises. Gandhi. Pocketwatches. Spinoza. Little things that let me know I am on the path trod by many itinerant wanderers before me. Forever as a driven leaf.
I walked down to the empty beach. Clouds were swirling above the majestic Pao de Azucar as the sun cast golden cracks through the morning mist. I was walking slowly on the beach, when I noticed her.
Walking in a slinky red cocktail dress that hugged her brown skin. Highheels in hand, purse under the arm. All of the trappings of a good night unended. The contours of the beach brought us close, and as the swell rolled up to our feet, I wished her a good night. She wished me a good morning.
We continued down the beach, chatting as the cold waves tickled our bare feet. Her name was Melanie, she was from the Amazon. She had lived in Rio for three years. I told her of my work in Brazil- she wanted to learn to hula.
A big wave crashed and sent water high up our legs- getting the fringes of my shorts wet. I offered my hand to steady her, and as the waves receded we continued to walk hand-in-hand down the beach. Her warm hand offset the cold water at my feet. We made plans for a midnight drink and date, as she bade me goodbye with two soft kisses from her red lips on either side of my bearded face. She headed off the beach as I headed on to Ipanema.
We are young,
so tonight let’s set the world on fire,
we can burn brighter than the sun.