Behind him he could hear to teenagers talking about apples.
⌠I don▓t know aye, like, an apple is an apple aye, like, they always saying weird things, like, how do you know its and apple, like, how do I know its an apple, like, because it is one.■ ⌠I know┘■ ⌠And all that shit, like, about earth and fire and water and stuff, like, she is soooo┘■ ⌠Yeah, she┘■ ⌠And that silly waist coat, like, what is she? A waiter?■ The other girl laughs weakly and they fall silent.
Devon sighs, he hates driving buses, they are fall of bored people talking. Why cant they all just sit in a nice comfortable silence. He sighs again and changes gears for the hill. He loves this hill, it means they are ten minutes away from the Blue Water CafИ.
Blue Water CafИ is the centre of Devon▓s world. His whole morning is spent in apprehension of it and his whole afternoon is spent reliving that sweet thirty minutes. It is a plain square mustard colored brick nestled in to a shallow valley. Its surrounded by a rusty wire fence, keeping the sheep at bay. There is no attempt at gardening other than the overgrown agnipanthus▓s against the walls. In this ugly place is Rebecca. Rebecca is the center of Devon▓s life. That doesn▓t mean he has no life.
Devon was born 38 years ago in Auckland, his parent owned a dairy. He was chubby as a kid and was bad at sport. So he made up by trying to be smart. He made it through school just above average the whole way. All his mate were ⌠academic■ as well. One of them was almost a genius, at least Devon thought he was. George was tall as well and he had broad swimmers shoulders and a strong mans chin before he had even gone through puberty. George was one of those guys that we all wished we were, but never hated him for it. George always had girlfriends and by association Devon was cool. If it hadn▓t been for George he would have never done anything interesting.
When they were 18 George wanted to go to England for the big OE. Devon always said he was going to go but he deep down knew it was just boasting. But George insisted that they start saving. After 3 months of saving Devon had enough to get there and maybe buy a car. George said that would be enough, he said he knew some people there who could set them up with jobs. When Devon asked he just said ⌠Oh this and that, we would be like gardeners┘■
Ten months later Devon came home on his own with a thorough grounding in the illegal drug industry. He also had a few more scars, a few less pounds and some expensive habits. George came home in the same plane, down in the cargo hold. After Devon had been checked into a rehab place by his bewildered parents he started to plan the next trip. He had met a few Brazilian Surfers in southern France and had managed to keep in touch with them. As soon as he got himself straight and sold the Coke stashed under Georges body, he got on a plane to south America and didn▓t emerge for five years.
When he got back he had enough money to buy a few buses and started a business with a mate from school. Most of his friend were out of Uni now and starting their lives. Most of them had huge students loans and no idea where to start. His old mate Sal did business and tourism, he had all the ideas and no money. He didn▓t want to know where the money came from. He had a girlfriend and new baby to support.
In a couple of years Devon got married to a girl he met at a tourism conference. He thought he was happy until one day eight months ago, when he was driving a bus because of a staff shortage. Just as he was driving down into a shallow valley somewhere in-between Gisborne and Napier, the bus stopped. Or at least the motor stopped, he managed to coste the bus down the hill to a little cafИ on the side of the road. He had never stopped there before and now he believes it was fate. It took six hours to get the bus back on the road. The CafИ got its most business in months and Devon fell in love.
He had always though love was something that happened over time, something that came and went eventually. He had never really seen himself staying with Gwen for the rest of his life. He just pretended that he did. In Blue Water CafИ he fell in true love for the first time in his life. He can pinpoint the exact moment he fell in love. For the rest of his life he will remember that moment with a sharp ache in his chest.
Devon isn▓t a remarkable man. As a child he was chubby and pale. He had thick light brown hair that had been short and stuck straight out stubbornly. As a teenager he was a more awkward version with pimples. After his first overseas sojourn he lost most of the weight, after his second he gained a solid layer of muscle trying to keep up with Brazilian surfies. Over the years he has thickened at the waist, but he still surfs so his body is in pretty good shape for his age. His thick hair has grown out to his shoulders. He has watery light blue eyes under long feminine eyelashes. His chin is square and his lips are full, they turn down at the corners as if he were always frowning.
It was a hot day, Devon had his hair in a pony tail, he walked into the cafИ with his hand on his brow. He was trying to squeeze out a head ache that had started when he realized he would have to do a few runs because of staff shortages. It was just before Christmas, he had to. Gwen didn▓t seem to mind, she was busy with organizing everything, they had her sister and her kids up from the south island for a week, they were flat out keeping children entertained. William, Devon▓s son, was ten and he was beginning to spend more time with other kids and didn▓t care that much either. So with a scowl on his face he walked into the cafИ, glaring at the carpet. He grabbed a juice and stumped up to the counter.
⌠That will be two fifty,■ the voice was quiet and low. He looked up, his eyes glowing in the heat with irritation. She smiled back, her green eyes full of forests and dark things. Time died and he watched a black bird against grey skies. He felt sharp rocks under his feet, bare feet. Slowly he came back, time crept at first gaining acceleration he slammed back. He was still looking at her eyes, but now they held only shades of green.
⌠Two fifty,■ she said again. Devon paid silently and walked back to the bus.
In a daze he worked on autopilot. Calling a mechanic, organizing another bus. He could see her eyes superimposed over his view. After a while he realized he didn▓t even know what she looked like. All he could remember was her eyes. He went back in, this time tensely, cautiously, he walked through the door looking to the counter. She was serving an old lady from the bus, her eyes were hidden, but he knew it was her. He had known her his whole life. She was taller than him, her body moved slowly as if she was sleep walking. Her long black hair was plaited down her back. Her skin was silky tan, it seemed almost translucent. She smiled always, a relaxed quiet smile. Everything about her was quiet and calm.
Devon stood at the door and watched her as she finished serving all the custumers. They were all people from the bus. He was still standing there when she served the last person. Her eyes met his, he felt a rush of delight and like a teenager he found himself wondering. Her face was familier, exotically wide, like Native Americans. He knew that look from south america. He walked over the the food cases and slowly watched her through the glass, in pretense of choosing something. Eventually he chose a sandwich; he never took his eyes off her. He sat in the corner and put on a pair of shades. In an hour another bus came along to pick up the other passengers, the mechanic would be another two hours away. The time went by in a flash. The mechanic took a look at the bus and got back into his truck. He had to go get parts.