The sun was setting while I was sipping my ice tea on that rooftop restaurant. My friend was taking pictures of the setting sun minutes before it disappeared and before we became the dark side of the earth. She turned her phone to me and said, “Smile.” And that’s what I did. She enjoyed taking pictures and freezing that moment, as she describes it. She’s not the best at it and she knows it, but Arya doesn’t care about that. All she cares about is keeping that moment alive.
Arya and I were finally able to go on the trip, we had planned for it since we were teenagers. “I’m happy we came here,” I told her.
“Yeah! We totally needed this. Not to mention deserved it after working our asses off all these years, ” she replied.
I laughed at her statement and asked her, “Hey, what are our plans for the rest of the night?”
“Bella, don’t be such a joy killer! No plans. We’ll go with the flow.”
“But if we plan, we’ll make the best out of it.”
She didn’t agree completely with me, “Okay, fine. But we’ll plan half of the day, and leave the other half to fate.”
And so we agreed on something that we’d both be okay with. We stayed for another hour or so and had dinner. After dinner, we decided to walk around some tourist areas and experience the atmosphere. While there, we had some local snacks and took some pictures.
Before heading back to the hotel, we went to a coffee shop. Once we stepped in, the smell of fresh coffee made its way through our nostrils and I was under its spell. We found a small table on the corner and sat there. The lights around the coffee place were dim, giving the place a peaceful vibe. The ceiling was very magical with lights hanging from it, making it seem like it was a sky full of stars. Even the people who were sitting there were talking quietly. As if upon entering the place, everyone knew that they needed to respect the tranquility of it. A soft song was playing in the background, making it more magical.
“I really like this place, but I can’t have coffee at this time,” I explained to her.
“Wow, you’re such a baby!” she rolled her eyes at me.
That was enough to push me to have a cup of coffee.
After some more exploring and walking the streets, we finally returned to the hotel. I had a quick shower and jumped to bed. My whole body was aching and I badly wanted to sleep, but Arya’s stupid motivational talk had me drink coffee and this made the sleeping go away. It was me and my insomnia. While I was laying in the bed wide awake, I thought about going through some work. But I couldn’t use my laptop while Arya was having the time of her life. Sleeping like snow white.
I pushed the sheets away off of my body and got up. My laptop was in my backpack. I walked there and grabbed it. To my luck, Arya spoke. My first thought was Oh shit.
“Where do you think you’re going with your laptop?” She was half awake.
My grip became stronger on the laptop. I had to find a lie real quick. I finally came up with, “I’m gonna watch something on Netflix.”
“Why don’t you watch it here?”
“Because I love you and I don’t wanna annoy you.”
Luckily, she was too sleepy to talk more and dozed off. I went to the lobby, and because it was late, it wasn’t crowded. I saw a beautiful plant in the right corner and there was an empty sofa nearby. I walked there and took a closer look at the big green leaves that were hanging. I reached one of the biggest leaves and it felt smooth under my fingers. I smiled as I did that, losing myself in the moment.
I sat on the sofa near the plant. After I put my glasses on I logged into my work email. Despite being on a vacation and having a great deal of time to finish my tasks, I started working on the designs for a campaign that my boss had assigned me to. Halfway through working, my laptop warned me of the low battery. With frustration I mumbled, “Oh no!”
I didn’t want to go back to the room and risk waking up snow white and facing her interrogations. Instead, I went to the reception desk and tried my luck. I asked the lady, “Hi, sorry for bothering you. I was wondering if you have a laptop charger here.”
The receptionist said, “I’m sorry, we do not.”
I thanked her and walked back to where I was sitting. Maybe that was my sign to go back to the room and stop working. That’s when a man in his 50s approached me and said, “I overheard your conversation with the receptionist. I have a charger if you need.”
I was hesitant and didn’t know if I should accept. Should I work or rest? I asked myself, in my head obviously.
“Thank you for the offer, but I decided to head back to my room and rest instead of work,” I told him.
“Yes, that is a better option. Your peace of mind is better than working, especially on a vacation. No matter how important the job is, it’s more important to take your breaks away from it more seriously.” He smiled and went back to where he was sitting. He seemed familiar, but I couldn’t tell where I’d seen him.
The next morning, Arya and I woke up a little bit later than we had planned. Again, thanks to her idea to have coffee late at night. We missed our bus. “It’s no biggie,” I told her.
“Yeah sure. We’ll just go exploring the city and can get on tomorrow’s bus. I already talked to the company.”
That day, we went to a museum, a park, and went shopping. We had ice cream, traditional foods, and snacks. We walked and talked. And decided to sleep a little earlier that night, so that we don’t miss our bus.
And so the next day started with a shower, a breakfast, and a picture taken by Arya. Freezing the moment for us to relive it again. Years later for us to look at our smiles and feel a little sad that those good days passed so quickly. And have nostalgia wash over us for a few minutes.
“I’ll take the window seat first, then it’ll be yours,” Arya announced.
We had this deal with seating, switching once every hour so we both get the window seat equally. While sitting, a man came on board and sat on the single seat opposite to us. When he settled down, he noticed me, so did I. He was the man who’d offered me a laptop charger. He smiled and said, “Good morning. It’s good to see you take a break from your work.” He looked like a nice guy and I know he meant well, but I wish Arya wasn’t there. After I finished greeting him, she gave me a dead look, “Bella, what work does he talk about?”
Continue reading the second part here.