I looked out the window as the plane began it’s descent. Below me, the city sprawled for miles, clinging to a winding river as it snaked to the sea. There’d be many girls in that city. Many hot girls.
Oh yes, I wanted my share, and would fight to have it, but there was more than the girls… there was the getting of the girls; there was the smooth glide of the air-plane as it approached the landing strip and then the bump and rattle as the landing gear hit tarmac; there was the lap of river water against the waterfront lined with bars, restaurants and a pedestrian promenade… there were bird sounds, the water sounds… the distant hubbub of a group of students laughing and drinking… these things that no man can buy; these things that get in the blood; these things that build the memories of tomorrow; the hours to look back upon.
I wanted these more than notches. There is a time for adventure when the body is young and the mind alert and all the world seems there for one’s hands to use, to hold, to take. And this was my New World, this world of the Former Soviet Union, these lands where long ago the Tartars, and Cossacks, and Bolsheviks came, and which now were teeming with hot young women. Where waterfront bars buzz with accordions and song, where hard-working men throw shots of raikya down their necks and tell tales of war.
What is any man but the total of what he has seen? The sum of what he has done? The strange foods, the women whose bodies have merged with his, the smells, the tastes, the longings, the dreams, the haunted nights? The dive bars of Kiev, the plazas of Moscow, the clubs of Minsk… the worst of it, and the best… the grand arches and monuments built by lost, dead hands, the nights on an isolated hill staring at stars, the splendour of a storm, the tumultuous power of winds whipping through streets. These are a man.. and the solid thrill of a punch landed, the faint smell of whiskey, spice, a girls perfume…. the taste of blood from a split lip.
Oh yes, I had come for things other than women but that evening, for the first time, I was sleepless. Tomorrow there would be, with luck, a throng of beautiful women… and with four of my friends, many ways to tackle them. Many things to be done and memories to be formed.
Life can be carved into two halves: the anticipation, and the memory. And if we remember richly, we must have lived richly.
This fragment was inspired by Louis L’Amour and an adventure story of his I read today, Off The Mangrove Coast.