“That’s hibiscus! And that’s hibiscus! That’s hibiscus too,” I tell my husband. Pouring onto the skinny, two-lane highway are bushes bursting with these pink, yellow, red and white flowers. Amidst car exhaust and reckless pedestrians, hibiscus stays wide open and sturdy, begging the sun and the bees with their loveliness. The bright orange stigma among the petals seem phallic to me. I assure myself that they seem this way to the other honeymooners as well.
My husband manages our manual, French rental car around the island. In the rearview, I see a child’s face behind the steering column of a silver scooter. I am thankful to discover she is not the driver until I realize she is standing on a plastic stool and her only “seat belt” is the driver’s extended arms. In another instant, they swerve expertly—passing us—and a flowery wrap-around dress waves goodbye to our tiny Renault.
There is an ominous cloud lingering over an inlet and Eric fumbles for the windshield wipers. My voice is not fast enough for the things I see, “Goats on the hill! A mangy-looking dog! Chickens!” We have not showered in over 24 hours and our ankles and toes are fat with fluid from an eight-hour plane ride. We are searching for a grocery store to quench hunger and thirst. None of these factors trigger crankiness or discontent because we are still surfing the wave of love and attention that swept us up on our wedding day.
We sleep with rainstorms and wake up to the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster. Exotic plants line our path as we saunter to breakfast with sleepy eyes. A multitude of flowers lay softly, face up, perfectly intact, as if they were delicately placed in the grass by resort staff instead of violently torn away from their branch by a torrential downpour. Naturally, one ends up above my ear every once and awhile.
We pose for a picture with the island behind us. The water is so blue and the mountain is so green, it’s as if we are standing with a painted canvas. My dumb, floppy hat increases the fake factor twofold. In this prettiest place, the only thing we found to fight about was our strategy to terminate the hornets that kept buzzing into our bungalow. I ache for Moorea when logistics, planning or real-life responsibilities cloud over or interrupt our love for each other. Love comes easy in paradise.