The crowd parted as she made her way down the stairs. She wore a baseball cap to one side and a grey crop top and board shorts sandwiched her ample stomach. She strummed a guitar, tunelessly, while calling out ‘aloha, aloha, aloha’ – to us. We had no idea who she was or even where she’d come from. She just appeared at the top of the stairs in the middle of the Colo-i-Suva rainforest.
She walked straight towards us – we were sitting by the waterhole with the big rope swing – and she asked ‘where are you from?’.
We said: ‘Australia.’ And there was silence.
Another splash in the waterhole as someone let go of the rope.
‘Colorado,’ she said.
‘Didn’t ask,’ we thought.
After she briefly explained how she had lived in Hawaii and the States (still, we hadn’t asked) she put down the guitar and dived into the water. As though her presence needed no further explanation. She swam quickly to the other side and waved back at us.
It was the most random encounter I’ve ever had with a human being. We laughed out loud. ‘Colorado’, we thought. We didn’t ask.