‘What are you doing?’ Günter hovered over me.
‘Kissing the sand.’ I stood up and wiped perspiration from my brow.
He stepped toward me.
Not so fast. I leapt out of his way and then raced to the shore to soak my feet.
Günter followed a few paces behind. ‘Wait, for me.’
‘I just have to cool down, I am not used to this tropical climate,’ I explained as I lifted my skirt and paddled.
‘You’re not going to swim in all that gear, are you, Holly?’
I turned around. ‘What?’
Günter tore off his shirt revealing his tanned and toned torso.
I stood as still as a statue. I pictured my bikini all wrapped up in the plastic bag back in my room in the convent. ‘Oh, no! I left my bathers behind.’
‘Take your clothes off, then,’ he said. ‘Come on, no one is watching.’
‘Me? I thought you were up for it, Holly.’
Too fast. Way too fast. I had an uneasy sense—all was not as it appeared to be. He was the Captain. I was his subordinate and trapped in this cove. ‘I’m not so sure, anymore.’
I began to walk away from him.
He padded after me. ‘I’m sorry, did I come across too strong. I just thought—you—and me…’
‘It’s just happening all too fast,’ I said. ‘And I don’t know what to make of you. One minute, you’re keen and the next minute you’re mean. What am I to make of that?’
Günter took my hand. ‘Come, let’s sit awhile.’
He guided me up the cove to dry sand. We sat side by side gazing at the view of the ocean. ‘This place—the village, the mountains, and the Convent, raises all sorts of emotions for me—you understand?’
I nodded. ‘I know, Minna. She messed you up. What happened? Did she betray you? Did she go to the Boris side? You don’t mind me asking, but did she have an affair and bear a child to another man? I heard rumours she had something going with the son of Boris? Is that true?’
‘Holly, would you be quiet for once and listen?’
‘Yes, well, I’m waiting.’ I stared at the sand between my feet, embarrassed that I had once again put my foot where my mouth should be.
‘You have no idea who I really am,’ he said.
‘But I would like to know. I want to know. What point is there in a relationship, if we hide our true selves? We need to be real, transparent,’ I said with conviction. In the back of my mind was the niggling thought that these words would come back to bite me.
Günter drew his knees up and hugged them. ‘You know, I wish I had met you first—before…’
‘Has this got anything to do with the “me driving you crazy” thing you mentioned before?’
‘Strahan? And Fox?’
A smile flickered at the edges of his lips. ‘Perhaps, but not all.’
He looked away.
The waves lapped the shore, eating up sand and shells.
‘Minna?’ I asked.
Gunter slowly nodded.
‘Me too,’ I timidly whispered. I was by this time reclining on my side, with my head propped up on one hand. ‘I wish I’d known the real you before Johann.’
‘If I hadn’t rushed into—if I had only waited, been patient—I wouldn’t have messed my life up.’ Günter hurled a clod of sand into the water. ‘Minna—I was fooled by her. I loved her…There was a part of her so walled up and protected—I could never reach her. And there I was thinking that she needed to loosen up, find her inner child and have some fun. She was so serious, you know. And I was afraid if she knew me, everything about me, she would not accept me. That she would disapprove.’ Günter turned to me and touched my arm. ‘You, Holly are completely different. You are so full of life. You know how to have fun. Okay, you talk a lot, but that fits to you. I like that.’
‘You mean, you don’t mind?’ I was surprised. Before Günter seemed so grumpy and did not enjoy my company on the LSS. What’s the deal with the change of attitude?
‘No, on the contrary, you make me happy. I like the way you’re so honest.’ His hand rested on my arm as his gaze rested on me.
‘To tell the truth, I’m still getting accustomed to this new Günter who is not so grumpy. If I made you so happy, why were you so difficult before now, on the LSS?’ That situation I had to clarify.
Günter frowned and looked down. ‘I-it’s not that I didn’t like you. I was still attracted to you. From the moment we met, there was a—I felt a connection. I was afraid. I-I didn’t think it would be right to get involved.’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature painting: Sand dunes of Waitpinga © L.M. Kling 2017
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