Monday, June 8, 2009

Fatu Hiva Hug

The young woman emerged dripping wet and walked up the boat ramp. Brian and I were coming down the main street toward our dinghy and saw her. She wore nothing on the top, a pair of shorts, and the biggest smile I'd seen on her yet. Every time we tied up our dinghy at the cement landing we'd see her sitting under the closest street light or walking around looking at people and waving. She reminded me of my Aunt Ruthie, happy to interact with people but not socially skilled enough to maintain the interaction for very long. I had asked her her name in my pathetic French a couple of times but never understood her answer. She was tall and lurched around ungracefully with her torso leaning forward as if she was always about to break into a run, which she occasionally did when she got excited.

Today, she had been dog paddling around the protected water behind the break water with her mom standing on the cement landing in wrapped in a parau looking on with a smile. The daughter walked toward us and as I greeted her, she extended her dripping arms and came in for a hug. I impulsively gave her a kiss on her wet cheek and received one in return. Brian was behind me and she went to him next and gave him an equally cheerful hug. Mom was standing behind smiling at us. The dripping hugger waved and walked away with her up the hill.
The innocence and beauty of those two soggy gifts makes me smile whenever I think about them.

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