We had too much time on our hands, after lunch and light shopping. Every languid step we took declared "No hurry in Africa at all, none whatsoever!" We talked as we walked, too close for far too many passers-by who stared at us. "This town," I joked, "is so conservative that our chemistry is setting off alarm bells." She was surprised we had chemistry.
By this time we were inching our way back to her place. At least that was the general idea. But as we passed by a public park, its open entrance seemed to invite us. Shady trees swayed in the afternoon breeze as if they were beckoning "Come!". We took a detour, walking off the pavement and onto the grass. Indecision briefly reigned as we were faced with a range of trees under which to sit. Finally we settled under one where we could talk privately, just the two of us.
Not that I expected much heavy talk at first. My mind was loitering back and forth between a football tournament I would be missing, and a project I was to begin working on. But, once seated, the quaintness of the scene awed me. There we were, passing time in a park, enjoying the breeze, the grass, the sunset, one another's company, the sounds of our voices, while all around us the world was hastening on to urgent work. Might as well enjoy it, after all, it couldn't last.
We talked about ourselves, our people, our fragments of shared past. Hours went by in this easy way. But all too soon it was time to leave, work called her away.
(It seems like parks agreed with Pearl and I. The only other time we disclosed ourselves to each other so liberally was at a park. I don't know too many people who could sit at a park and actually enjoy it.)