My dear friend
I’m on the plane back home and I realize that only a week ago I was arriving, tears of emotion and excitement blurring my vision of your island, my favorite place in the world. And time went by so fast, so damn fast, slipping through my fingers like grains of sand, that I could no more hold in my hands than all those years ago when my holidays in Madeira were a month long, and even so I wanted them to go on forever.
But, as you said, this is never a goodbye, rather a “See you soon”.
What a week! After two long years without seeing each other, without seeing “my island”, I really wanted to come back. More – almost two years of pandemic have kept us all pretty much limited regarding getting away from where we live, so I was really looking forward to this week far from it all, seeing different people, having different conversations. In a different landscape. A much needed change of scenery.
The stars above were kind, because this week was definitely special.
Beginning with us. No matter how long we have been apart, or the fact that since our childhood in Mozambique we have never lived in the same place, we have the same tastes, share ideals and opinions, and even if we’re not so young anymore we feel young, act young and I believe we look younger; we have that spark of joy, that light in our eyes, because we haven’t stopped dreaming and we still enjoy doing the same things, such as chatting for hours, going for a swim, lying in the sun, going for a walk in downtown Funchal or simply sitting down together for an espresso or a good meal.
From the first day’s leisurely stroll along the sea before sitting down to enjoy a Passion fruit drink during on a terrace overlooking the sea, to the day when your car broke and we had to be rescued by your mechanic… To our meetings downtown Funchal to deliver my book to regional government culture and external communities’ departments for marketing, walking up the city’s cobbled streets in the stifling heat and finally sitting in the shade with our mission accomplished, to the inevitable brochette dinner at Santo Antonio, the traditional restaurant we have been going to for more than forty years, and last night’s poncha at a bar outside under the airport’s pillars, on a night so warm and peaceful you never wanted to leave.
And now the plane is taking off and I’m saying goodbye to the green hills and the bluest of seas, where even this morning we were swimming , and where you are probably now doing the same, as you do every early evening. And I know you’llbe looking at the plane up in the air and missing me already.
As I do you, my friend. My dear, lifelong friend. What fun we had this week. The weather was so hot, the sun shining all the time in the blue sky, and you took me places, to all those places I wanted to go to, some new ones like the Mozambican restaurant we had lunch at yesterday, and some places of the past I wanted to revisit, laughing like mad as we recalled past adventures and the crazy risks we took because there was no other way to live those days of our youth…
I loved being with your children, now adults like mine. But I always see in them the babies of my dear friend, no matter how old and professional they are. I loved being with your husband of almost 35 years, this solid, serene man I know loves you deeply and who has made you so happy, and I would love him just for that, because when I see you both sitting on the couch watching TV, holding hands and leaning against each other like new lovers, just like your parents used to, I know you are part of the lucky few who have found love, true love for life.
I loved spending time with your Mom, my dear Auntie who inspired the Auntie Sara of my book, and see her booming at eighty two, looking beautiful and full of plans and joy. I so admire her courage to overcome the loss of your dad, her great love, and I’m sure that, whatever dimension he’s looking down on us from, he must be happy to see us all together like this, enjoying life as he would have wanted us to.
I could go on and on, my friend, but you already know it all. Your holidays will continue, and so will mine, but this week was so special we will keep it among our prized memories, one more adding to the many we have built over almost fifty years of friendship.
As your – and mine – beautiful island fades in the distance, I blow you a kiss. Who knows, I may come back before next summer, for New Year’ s Eve. As you say, with us, it’s never goodbye, only a “See you soon”. The sooner, the better.