This is an evening for a song, thought Snufkin. For a new song, which will be composed of one part of hope, in two of the spring longing and which the rest will be inexpressible delight that I can wander, I can be alone and that I am pleased with myself. Tove Jansson
I was cycling uphill at night (the next day it will turn out that, actually, the uphill hadn’t really started yet) when on the other side of the road I saw a man waving to me. I do not know who or what placed him there, perhaps it was a sheer coincidence, but even if it was, this undoubtedly pleasant coincidence helped me finally to stop that day.
The man turned out to be the owner of a roadside restaurant. When I asked him where I could put up my tent, he offered a room in his premises. Before I was ready to go to bed, I got a delicious, thick bean soup (almost as good as my mom does), out of which, what else, a big bone was sticking out. Then I met four, wild children, unanimously determined to sleep with me on a huge mattress they had brought from the attic. The girls, literally, got on my head and pacified me, deciding at the outset that they will be sleeping on the both sides of the mattress, and I will stay in the middle, because I’m a gringo (and I’m a gringo, because I’ve got a face of tomato colour, which distinguishes me from no-gringos, for example Argentinians, who, according to girls, lisp terribly and do not speak good Spanish). Perhaps I should have been more assertive and just should have thrown all the kids away. True to say, nevertheless, in any confrontation with little girls I’m bloody helpless and I deal with them far worse than with any teens, not to mention adults.
In the morning I met the rest of the family, and in the meantime, neighbors, friends and acquaintances who were passing by and stopped for a brief chat. I sat in a corner, sipping Ecuadorian specialty called colada morada and I was wondering why all these people are so warm, so open and hospitable. Do they always behave like that or they only played role of a good host in front of a Polish gringo with his tomato face? If there was a play, it was far more than just a dress rehearsal, and all of them performed splendidly, as if everything they did and said was the most natural expression of their hospitality.
Two kids went to see me off and we were walking at least for a mile. We dropped into a grocery store for an ice cream. And then we sat on a sandy road and were licking up the melting vanilla-chocolate delicacy. We sat closely, huddled together, though there was a lot of space around. Nobody was saying a word, we squinted in the sunlight, smiling from time to time to each other. I could not escape a strange impression that again, I was between two friends, again, I was seven years old, sitting on the same sandy, hard ground, rather than on warm laps and was greedily licking up melting vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
We got up finally, shook hands, then I quickly got on a bike and not looking back behind me, I went away. That day, I slept at a very high altitude. It was terribly quiet. In silence, I usually can not fall asleep for a long time. Thoughts then frisk, make noise, tease. Perhaps because of that long, exhausting day, this time I fell asleep in an instant. “I dreamed a dream of return. It was joyful. I was full of colours. I could fly”