I can’t remember wakening to the sound of birds before, ever. It was a minor surprise that the already warm tropical sun hadn’t done it earlier, or, as I slowly focused my thoughts, the crashing waves on the nearby shoreline.
Those, I soon discovered, were infinitely unimportant observations compared to the ones my sand filled eyelashes revealed when I first looked around. It was a shock, enough to jerk me into full blown wakefulness.
I was only a few feet from a gently surging ocean, and evidently only recently having exited it. My hair was full of sand, as were my face, ears, even my teeth complained of the grit. Quickly standing up I began brushing it off of myself. Wonderful, I was naked as well.
The undulating sea ahead of me was offering little explanation other than it was a beautiful morning to wake up naked and confused on what appeared to be a deserted beach.
That was my first hope at any advantage, no people around. My problems were immediately only my own. Brushing off the sand was getting tiresome and a bit abrasive, especially where I had no tan. Slowly I walked into the water, hoping it wouldn’t try to take me back, hoping it would only lick me clean and let me alone.
Up in the bushes, where the sand began to disappear, I saw an abandoned towel. The blue and white stripes reminded me of something you might find in a resort. Wrapping it around my waist, I felt I was prepared to explore my situation better. Less vulnerable.
I couldn’t see any structures around, no homes, no boats offshore, no footprints in the sand. But, there was this towel. And, there was a pounding behind my eyes, a hangover reminder. Hangovers required alcohol, and alcohol required people. Therefore, I reasoned as I made my way toward the shade of a lone coconut tree, there must be people wherever there were hangovers. Brilliant.
The shade felt delicious and my towel cushioned my nakedness as I leaned back against the coconut palm. I dug my heels into the sand to brace my legs just right as I moved quickly into a restful sleep, a nap really. The bird songs came back, somehow merging into the gentle sliding of water against wet sand. Intoxicating. Dreamy.
Semi-consciousness is a gift of nature, where our dreams get direction from the events happening within reach of our senses. There I soon heard two young women speaking softly to each other.
“Well, he’s not dead, that’s for sure.”
“Seriously, cover the poor man up…”
I felt someone adjusting my towel, then leaning in close.
A soft feminine laugh danced across the air from the one not leaning in so close. They appeared, in my mind, to be quite attractive, surveying my awesomeness with genuine feminine appreciation.
“Bring him over, when he wakes up.”
Soft bare feet moved away from me. It was soon quiet again, except for the birds and in the distance now, drums. Drums? Having watched far too many jungle movies as a kid, drums only meant one thing on deserted islands: cannibals!
I quickly opened my eyes.
“Whoa!” I yelped. “Who are you?”
I scooted back up against the coconut tree, still only inches away from her. She was kneeling in the sand immediately next to where she had apparently again adjusted my towel.
Semi-consciousness. I was quite familiar with it, having pursued it religiously, on so many fronts. This was, I figured, a fragment of my dream I had simply not discarded quite yet.
“Rainbow,” she said between a broadening smile.
I frowned and glanced around a perfectly blue sky.
“Where?” I asked, scooting another few inches away from her invasion of my very personal space.
“Right here,” she said without taking insult and reaching into her unbuttoned shirt to touch her bare chest. “I’m Rainbow. I feel we’ve met before, yes?” Her light laughter complemented an intoxicating sparkle in her lively eyes. My dream dissolved softly, as I began to realize she was astoundingly beautiful.
She glanced quickly over to where I saw her friend, and several others were walking, to the end of the beach, into a cove, an enclave from the sea. Looking back to me, she showed the slightest glimmer of impatience and stood, holding her hand out for me.
“You owe me a dance,” she said, reaching for my hand and pulling me up and toward her.
My towel quickly fell away followed just as quickly by her eyes. In a moment I had it wrapped around me again. She knowingly reached for my waist and tucked it in a little better, letting her fingers slip behind the knot.
“Hotel towel? Really?” she laughed, taking my hand and leading me toward the cove.
“It’s all I could find,” I stammered. Up ahead I saw dozens of more people, several dozens actually, descending into the cove. Some came from the short cliffs above, others swimming around the cove’s point and even more behind us.
Rainbow was beginning to sing softly, looking over at me, smiling and quickening our pace. “Drum party,” she began chanting over and over. “Drum party!”
I soon began a light jog to keep up with her skipping, checking my towel as I did. In a moment we were in amongst a hundred others, nestled in a perfectly serene sandy cove. Ten or more heavily bearded, long haired young men were beating handheld drums to a rhythm that simply insisted you follow along with your feet, your hips and your bobbing head.
Rainbow held both of my hands as we quickly melded into the mass of revelers. Eventually, she leaned in to kiss me, quite deeply. It was refreshing and, I remembered suddenly, familiar.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed hotly into my ear. “I’m sorry I pushed you off the whale watching boat last night.”