America scared me far less now than it had done a year ago. I had persuaded myself that Andrew didn't love me, and that's why I wouldn't go with him. But the truth was I had been frightened. Andrew could have turned down his job and stayed with me in Opotane, but I knew this would be too much to ask of anyone. Part of what I loved about Andrew was his dedication to his cause. Demanding that he give up what he would see as a golden opportunity to spread enlightenment would be to emasculate him, and would destroy what I love.
I stood on the lookout platform, the waterfall roaring in my ears, the spray settling on me in fine mist. I on the other hand had no ties to New Zealand apart from my mother, who would encourage me to explore the world. No reason why I shouldn't move to Boston and study for my masters degree over there. I was realistic enough about my own shortcomings to know that Harvard or MIT would be beyond me, but there would be plenty of other places where I could fit in.
Suddenly I wanted Andrew. I wanted him in my body and I wanted him in my mind. I wanted him in bed with me at night, and as a companion by day. I climbed off the platform, jogged back to the road end, mounted my bicycle and peddled into town. Yes, there was more of me to love now. I felt whole again. As I coasted down the final hill I took my hands off the handlebars, lifted them into the air, and gave a full throated howl of triumph.
New England in autumn - or fall as they call it here. As the commuter train took me through the countryside and the Boston suburbs I soaked in the seasonal atmosphere. The golden leaves on the trees, the seasonal flowers in the gardens, the Halloween decorations in some of the shops identified the month and even the week, almost like a calendar. New England had definite four seasons. A pleasant variation that was lacking in New Zealand where the leaves are green all year round, a dreary rain replaces the snow, and extremes of heat and cold are rare.
As I took the escalator to the place I wanted to go, the droning whine of aircraft could be heard above the announcement; 'Air New Zealand flight one-four-seven from Auckland is now arriving at Gate seventeen.'
I waited outside the crowded gate, looking round at the various people waiting to greet incoming passengers. The same as in any airport anywhere in the world. White, black, brown and yellow skinned people all eagerly craning their necks, giving girly squeals or blokey yells as someone was recognised wheeling their luggage through the passenger gate. Then I saw her. Honey blonde hair slightly dishevelled from the flight, but still beautiful and wavy, her bright eyes staring straight at me as she gave a wave of recognition, and then I was in her arms, hugging her, gently brushing my lips on hers, my Maxine, as I breathed in her woman scent.
"Oh Maxine, my love, it is so great to see you." We disentangled and started the long commute back to my apartment and the rest of our lives.