I left my house this evening, towards sunset, holding my husband's hand and hoping to catch the perfume of a ylang-ylang in bloom. Instead, I smelled someone smoking weed. We strolled past the lively square, where music was already blaring, and through the twisting streets to the sea wall, thinking to pass a quiet moment in contemplation of the colors of a sunset spilling across lagoon and sky. Instead, we were mobbed by Mahorais children, who sawmana_trini with his camera.
The glouping spray of breaking waves suddenly had to compete with:
"Monsieur, une photo!" (Mister, a picture!)
"De moi toute seule!" (Of me alone!)
"Et moi aussi!" (and me, too)
"Et moi aussi!"
While he was busy with the children, I jotted a few words to capture the unexpected, transformed moment.
~ moored pirrogue bobbing on the rising tide;
~ angling waves crashing and running along the wall, spuming fountains;
~ kids rafting on a square of Styrofoam, "Faïz" black-markered in block letters on the side;
~ wave-wet pages, hard to write;
~ the rusted-out, empty carcass of a washing machine, riding the waves, headed Dzaoudzi way, completely ignored
by the children swimming within a few strokes and kicks from it;
~ young girls passing, out to fetch errant brothers home, wishing me, "Bonjour."
~ pinkness--azaleas and frangipani--and coconuts trees with yellow, smooth-husked coconuts rustling in the
~ giant fruit bats gliding above;
~ the first star shining down, and then two, three, four, five, six, eight, ten pricks of light throughout the lilac sky;
~ Mamoudzou's lights glimmering golden and orange across the steely-glass waters;
...and then children scale the sea wall and swarm J, barefoot and uncaring of the pebble-strewn asphalt, wanting to see the photos he's taken. "You're going to give them to us," they demand in the direct Mahorais way. One girl pushes a boy to the ground because he gets between her and the lens while J is taking a picture. The boy scrambles to his feet and holds back his tears until the flash goes off. The picture taken, he tearfully accuses the girl of meanness, and then the chorus begins again: