It's been a year now since Herr Marlboro left me at Uganda's Entebbe airport. I'd lived in Uganda for three months, partially in Murchison Falls with him, and partially in Kampala, sometimes with him and sometimes by myself. I'd moved to Namibia for a few months fter we had some problems, and was only back in Uganda for a week.
I was full of hope for redemption then. We seemed perfectly matched. Things had a way of working out, a perfect serendipity in which life handed over nice surprises on a regular basis. I'd been lucky so far.
Also, a good man—a taxi driver I'd met—had prayed for me after asking about my estrangement. I was a bit superstitious about this, the last time anyone having prayed for me having been when I walked out of a terrible accident in Ethiopia. I'd been in a great mood after H.M. and I had met earlier that day at the new coffee spot in Garden City shopping mall. I was as enthralled as the first time we'd met in Sudan, immortalized in Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik. He'd nearly—but not quite—apologized for one of two incidents of appalling behavior.
But the only redemption that was attempted was in my sagging fantasies. The good-bye at the airport was good-bye forever. Hope is what keeps us going but it also blinds us to reality.
I've been blinded plenty of times by hope. Roberta tells me that it's okay to hope but not to expect. I've never managed to find a balance. I'm not even sure I can isolate the distinction between the two.
So today is the anniversary of when I still had faith in serendipity. There's been no evidence that it's returning. Since the alternative is bitterness, I'm hoping it grows back. Which means that it will, in time.