"Don't rush me! But once you get there, don't stop!"
As I shift forward towards the edge of my seat, I let the sweat drip more gracefully down my thighs instead of pooling under my shorts. This is the perfect weather for really short, shorts and skimpy, spaghetti tank tops. Am I the only one wearing this? I wonder. It's the middle of the afternoon and the pub is rather empty, save for an older couple.
In Belgium, summer is when everything and everyone comes back to life. After roughly nine months of rain, cold and wind, the sunny months of June, July and August brings everyone out of social hibernation. People of all ages and walks of life can be seen on terraces, their bicycles and in their tight bikini's along the Belgian coast.
The festivals begin (Graspop, Alcatraz, et plein d'autres...).
The private parties begin (along the canal, on rooftops, beach clubs and underground).
Random BBQ's lure you with their divine smells from behind churches and in backyards. You may go for a ride and stumble upon a world traveller keen to tell you their whole life story as well as the entire history of their town. By chance, you follow some muffled beats and land in the middle of a techno festival at the sugar factory in Tienen. If you're bored and venture out of your comfort zone, you discover a citadel in Dinant, forest camping in Malmedy and the 6-hours Spa Francorchamps races with their deafening, motorcycle howls, handsome bikers and beautiful, oiled down ladies (were they there the last time? Hmmm...I can't remember...).
I love the Belgian summer the most when we hit 30 and I feel like I'm back in South Africa 😌.
I watch his lips move as he tells me about his love for luxury watches and fast cars. I tend to look at lips rather than eyes, when I'm face to face with someone. They are full lips with a brown tint. The glasses hide his boyish features somewhat, but otherwise an overall pleasant appearance. I observe the golden chain with the cross pendant around his neck and muse to myself about the fashion stereotypes of the South Americans. I have my doubts whether I can help him on his quest.
Or perhaps it's him who's helping me on mine 🤔.
We all go on "missions", as my dear friend, Jade, often says in her languorous voice from across continents.
"What is my mission this summer?" I ask myself as he takes my hand in his and admires my ring. His fingertips far exceeding the length of mine.
Some missions take place late at night, in the middle of the week, when the town is quiet and the kids are asleep.
"I wonder what she's doing there at this hour?" He asked more to himself. We take another sip of our homemade cocktail and stare at each other in silence. Suddenly we both burst into a controlled laughter. Can't wake up the kids right now, it would ruin the moment.
"Maybe she's out on a date?" I ventured, holding back a snigger.
"On a Wednesday, at eleven o' clock at night?" He asked with a grin.
"Well! You were also out there, otherwise you wouldn't have seen her!"
"I was searching for our cocktail mixer honeybun!" He smirked.
Seems even our little, sleepy Flemish town on the outskirts of Brussels has its spicy, midnight secrets.
Hmmm..this shall be the summer of love! I decided dreamily as I finished my beer. ☀️❤️
"Shall I walk you back?" He asked politely.
"If you want." I smiled. "I'm not in a rush..."
Not this afternoon anyway - I thought to myself 💭
"When you get your next girl, just keep this one phrase in mind:" I added as we walked out into the sun.
"Don't rush! But once you get there, don't stop!" 😁