It was the first holiday Rahda had taken since the funeral one year before. Numbed and hollowed out, she had buried herself in work.
She was on an island in the Whitsundays. Her hut on the beach was thin-walled but cosy, with rattan furniture and a lazily-spinning fan. There was a sunlounge on a small porch and the susurration of palm fronds overhead. At dawn, the birds chorused high and low, and waves licked the shore in a slow rhythm. The sea was mirrored cerulean, darkened at the horizon.
Rahda wondered what Yan would have made of it—his running critique of the menu, the other guests and the service. In the privacy of her hut she spoke to him about the curious looks she received being on her own and how she missed his body curved to hers at night.
Love and its absence. This preoccupied her. Was she diminished without Yan knowing her movements each day, her current state of mind? She wondered if it showed on her face, a hungry emaciated look. A slight panic around the eyes. A stoop as she tried to hide her new, lonely self. At night she keened into the sheets, twisted them in her hands.
On the third day, she walked along a pebbled path, past rainbow lorikeets and frangipani trees, to the spa. She held her sarong tight against her chest and sat in the waiting room, sipping lemongrass tea. Bell-like music filtered into the room and the couches were dotted with silk cushions in pink and grey.
A thin man padded in with the serene manner of a sequestered monk. His white linen shirt hung loose on his frame. He greeted her and motioned to the treatment room.
The reiki healing began at her feet, with a rush of warmth. Rahda had experienced healings before and was prepared for the wave of emotion, the tightness in her throat, the tears that leaked from the corners of her eyes. She surrendered to it, her palms facing up. As he worked on her sides, her clavicle and her head she saw images—multi-coloured crystals and a universe of stars connected by lines, like a childrens’ climbing frame. She saw a blue lotus unfold and she felt love. Not the love of someone else, but love that was in everything, in herself.
A great calm fell, like a blanket with holes to breathe through. She didn’t need external love. She could find it whenever she wanted—it was right there in the trees, the sky, the water. In her own heart and mind.