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EXCERPT FROM THE REMEMBERED SELF
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The sleek jet descended through the clouds and Lily saw the sea below. Shades of aquamarine looped through the Caribbean making it a streaked jewel snaked with variations of cerulean color. She grabbed Tarek’s hand. He watched her as the crystal cove of the resort drew near and through her blue eyes he saw the familiar scene and smiled. The plane skimmed over the water like an arrow and as it reached land it overflew a jungle of foliage flowered with orange and pink splashes. Lily flashed glittering tear filled eyes briefly at Tarek as the tarmac rushed beneath, shimmering in the blinding sun. She felt the wheels bump gently and they pulled up to a terminal that was a big brown hut. They were soon sitting in soft leather seats in a limousine that silently eased them along to their hotel.
She watched the flower laden trees pass and saw spikey plants with blooms like tropical birds poised for flight. She looked at Tarek with big eyes. He laughed.
“Yes. It really does look this way,” he said.
Her eyes glittered with a sheen of tears.
“Come on. This is for fun. I brought you here to show you a different side
of life. “
They deplaned and stood in front of a mahogany desk. Lily looked at her sandaled feet. She stood on intricately patterned tiles. The workmanship drew her artist’s gaze and held it. The floor looked like a museum piece from an opulent era. Tarek’s eye followed her gaze, keys dangling from his hand.
Lily nodded and followed Tarek out of the hotel lounge and up an earthen path surrounded with thick plants that grew tangled into an overhead canopy like a wedding bower. The emerald foliage was entwined with flowers and she smelled gardenias. Steel drums accentuated sensual island music. Shadows and sunlight dappled the trail.
Their villa was not far. Tarek stopped at the door of a white stucco bungalow. He opened it and they walked into a room with heavy white cotton drapes, furniture and table coverings. The bedroom was white and the bedspread had a raised tapestry design. An enormous terra cotta pot held a thick, shiny leafed gardenia plant covered with the waxy blossoms. Their luggage had been sent before them and was unpacked and put into a closet. A shaft of sunlight split the room in shadow.
“Pinch me” said Lily.
“It’s real. I can do better than that.”
Lily turned toward Tarek and put her arms around him He pulled her to him and hugged her until she squealed. She looked up into his face at his eyes.
Tarek wrapped her thick blond hair around and around his fist and bent down and brushed her lips with his.


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