There are three broken coconuts on the side of the road. Their water seeps out in tiny puddles on the asphalt as an army of leaf cutter ants marches past me with their green flags waving overhead. The air is heavy with smoke. A farmer is burning banana leaves and plastic bottles in front of his hut which creates an odor that smells sweet and toxic. Smokey season makes the horizon beautiful and hazy in the vibrant orange and red sunset. It’s so hot that the white line of the pavement looks like it’s undulating. It reminds me of those old movies where someone is walking through the desert looking for water, or maybe they’re looking for a 7-Up, and this wasn’t a movie at all, but a Superbowl commercial I saw once. Sweat drips from my the tip of my nose and streaks down the center of my breasts to my belly button. I’m wearing my pink bikini. It’s too hot for clothes and besides, I left my clothes in a pile at the back of the party this morning anyway. I don’t want to go back there yet. It’s not as fun when I’m sober. I lose myself in drugs. I disappear. I don’t want people to see the real me. They might not like what they see. I don’t like it, and I know they won’t either. I’ll make it easy and reject them first.
There’s a thick layer of dried mud on the elephant’s back. I imagine she’s hiding years of painful memories tucked deep between wrinkles of her gray skin. She lifts her head and looks right at me. I always assumed elephants had black eyes, but hers are gold with a white ring around the iris. She is the most beautiful and terrifying creature I have ever seen. For a split second I try to calculate if I can rev my bike fast enough to zoom under her tall legs and be on my way. She looks at least 9 feet tall, but I must admit, I’ve never been that good at estimating anyone’s height, let alone a behemoth, so I decide not to take my chances. I don’t know if I’m still hallucinating a little bit, but I’m pretty certain we’ve synchronized our breathing and I can feel her. She is wise and sad. I have been sad for so long, I almost don’t notice it anymore. I’m just numb. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I never have been.
In an abrupt, unceremonious way, she exhales and turns away from me to walk up the hill. I guess she’s had enough freedom for one day. I have too, so I turn my bike around and drive back to the party.