I got off the bus an hour to midnight. Waving goodbye to Bapsi through the glass, a chapter felt finished. Cycling into town the moonlight shone over a sign that read “Zadar”. The temperature was perfect, a warm summers day had left a heat in the air.
I peddled around for an hour or so, looking for Charlie, but enjoying the friday’s festive atmosphere too. Meandering down the coastal boulevard, I could hear the sea organs, a musical sculpture which hums and bellows as the waves lap at the land. Past the streams of tourists, up against the park wall, lay two loaded tourers, asleep. Still no Charlie and ready for some slumber myself, I join the line and lean my bicycle beside theirs.
At 3 am the sprinklers wake us with a cold wet welcome, but allow me the chance to meet these two wanderers. We spend the early hours swapping maps and stories in excitement. They had travelled from Barcelona to Croatia then onto Athens and I was about to set off on the same journey, in reverse. We whispered until 6, the darkness hushing our voices. At dawn the two left on a ferry, and I finally got some shut-eye, a couple of friends richer.
By 5 that afternoon I had met up with Charlie. A sparkling smile under his still rough beard, but a shorter haircut… he looked more beautiful than ever. We shakely held eachother under the clock tower in the mainsquare. His smell the same, his hug the same, his voice a well-known tune. A close heart, on a long road, home felt nearer just by his presence. Two months of history untold, we set straight to story-telling, our adventures recounted over beer at a local cafe. A swim in the sun, a dry in the shade, our eyes continued their discourse as we cycled on towards our host Iva’s house.
No one around, we nestled into the couch and carried on our tales, the beer adding to our giddyness. We remembered. How close we could be, how much love there was, how fun flowed when together. It’s a hard thing to say no to, and indeed, we couldn’t. Our bikes would find company in eachother on the road to Barcelona.