The balance of the day is uneventful here at Noloholo. Dinner is delicious – lamb grilled over open coals, with the fluffiest mashed potatoes I’ve ever had, and caramelized carrots. Stuart did tell us we’d eat well here. When Buddy’s dad was visiting he actually brought us surf and turf (lobster tails and steak). It will be hard to forget that treat!
And while I roll on from day to day, my small days rolling forward, news comes to me of new engagements and most wonderfully: Anne Fish, who shared skinned knees and Girl Scout cookie routes and prom with me, gave birth to her first child, daughter Riley. I linger over the photos on Facebook, delighted by this little one’s perfect skin, tiny fingers, and the smiles on her proud parents’ faces. Anne and Marshall LeMoine have the kind of relationship that our little group from lil’ LA has cherished – if two people were ever perfect for each other, it is they. And now, a perfect little girl grows their family to three. Our whole group is thrilled. We take so much happiness in our friends’ children. Every time I watch Paul with his little girl, now old enough for preschool, I see his own curiosity and intelligence reflected in her. I see what a wonderful father he is, and parenthood brings forth a fresh and rich aspect of him that was never there when we were friends in high school.
When I was younger, I thought I’d get married at 27 and have kids by 28. Well, 28 is coming on me soon, and I have a dream yet unlived. The chasing of this dream guarantees that many more years will pass before marriage and children, and I embrace that, too. Plans are so often meaningless in the face of reality. Sometimes, in the villages here, I look at the Maasai women who are close to my age. Some have been married for a decade already, with three or five children running around them, another baby cradled on their hips or backs. They love their children; I wonder if they think I am poor for being 27 and having none to my name.
A white half-moon rises, glowing like a spotlight behind veils of scattered clouds. Ostriches call to each other in the thin light, a low song that is half of an owl’s hoot and half lion’s whuff. I am captured, in the mesh of my tent and the cocoon of my sleeping bag, and I want for nothing.