Even though I made it sound like it was all freedom and fun in Goa, it was not. The first time I went for a dip in the ocean middle of the night, I stood there for a long time analysing my environment.
Is it safe? Am I putting myself at risk? Am I in danger of attack from man, animal, or mineral? Scanned the horizons to see if there was anyone around, what would be the shortest distance from point A to point B if something happened and I had to run?
Scanned the waters - what can be in the water that might possibly harm me? Ruled out jellyfishes and sharks and Puffer fishes (we don't have them in this part of the world I think?). Weirdly, I never think about snakes, I know there are lots of venomous water snakes even in our Indian waters. But I always skip over them.
I have an extreme fear of the Stonefish, and no matter where, as long as I'm in the ocean, there's always a vague fear that I might step on one. But because it's a constant fear, I'm used to it and therefore always dismiss it. If I don't, I would never know the pleasure of being in the water.
After such intense scrutiny, what initially was just the moonlight on the water took on the form of florescent plankton in my mind. I ran back and told my friend. She tsked and shook her head disapprovingly. "Jerusha, that's called a moonlit beach and shimmering waters. Go and put plankton out of your mind and enjoy it" she said.
Our first day there over breakfast, I suggested going home a day early. She asked me why. I told her I was worried Daniel would call.
"Who in the world is Daniel??"
"A client." I saw the look on her face and quickly added "A very important client, BIG agency!" It didn't save me.
This one was an explosion :-) I felt she was really losing her temper. She told me to stop thinking about Daniel or Shadrak or Mishak or Abednego. Drawing my attention to a fisherman nearby who had been unfruitfully casting his net again and again in the low tide, she said "Don't you wish you can walk up to him and tell him to cast his net to the right, and see him haul up so much fish that his net breaks?"
But yeah, I finally let myself go. And went walking for hours on the dark empty beach, went for a swim in the middle of the night. This is a little embarrassing but I'll say it anyway. It was so beautiful I cried endlessly - standing there in the water, and the moon and the stars above you. And the foam shining white under the moonlight . I don't even know what I cried about, I wasn't sad, I wasn't unhappy or depressed. But the feeling of it all was so intense the tears came and came and refused to stop.
Being back is good. Here where the bathroom is spotless and sparkling and smells beautiful. But last night, there was a pretty moon out, and I looked out at it through the bars in my window. I walked out to the balcony and looked at it from through the bars. Bars and walls and locked doors. Safe and clean.
I felt like a prisoner.