Flavours to be tasted, aromas to be smelled, beauty to be seen
My name is Jeremy. I’m 25 years old, and I’ve just returned from a three-month trip to Great Britain. I finished university with a cultural anthropology/linguistics degree and after two years of looking for a job relevant to my training (who the hell hires cultural anthropologists, anyway?), I decided to see the world while I still had the time.
I flew into London/Gatwick with nothing but a backpack, a Eurail pass and a few hundred dollars in cash. I toured the country by train, bus, hitchhike and foot. I slept mostly in hostels, which were packed with kids like me trying to see the world on a dime. I think somebody stole my shampoo at the hostel in Bristol, but for the most part, it was lots of fun. We played cards late at night, passed around cheap bottles of wine, smoked some occasional pot, and pretended we were sleeping while horny young hippies fucked like rabbits in the bunks nearby.
I saw it all, Stonehenge, the Roman baths at Bath, the Cotswolds, Oxford, the beaches of Brighton, Shakespeare’s girlfriend’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon, lots of cathedrals including Canterbury, the castle at Leeds, the whole damn country. I’m sure I missed a lot, but I met some wonderful and crazy people, and for the first time I actually felt like I was utilizing my anthropological education, watching people interact and experience life around me. It was great.
Of course the bulk of my time was spent in London. How could I not? I did the “outstate” touring first so that I could pretty much spend the rest of my time in the big city. So I had about six weeks in London itself. It wasn’t enough. I walked all over that city. It’s enormous, stretching as far as your imagination in all directions. I saw every tourist location imaginable, and ate every type of food on earth. It was unreal, and I’ve never been happier.
About four weeks into my time in London I ate my 50th Indian meal at some little family-run Tandoori restaurant called “Natraj”. The place was tiny, with only about eight tables, but the food was incredible, easily the best I’ve ever had. The vindaloo was outstanding, and the chana masala was to die for. The goat curry wasn’t bad at all, but I had to drizzle a lot of yogurt on it to make it edible for my poor North American palate. The folks who ran it were a middle-aged Indian couple, the Rajputs, who were very sweet and very attentive. The lady hovered constantly over her few customers, practically pestering them for other things they might need.
I went back a few nights later, remembering the delicious exotic burn that warmed my mouth for hours previously. It was a Friday night, and all the tables were filled. I waited patiently, and Mrs. Rajput recognized me from my recent visit and carved out a small table for one near the kitchen door. Grateful, I sat down and was consumed by the overpowering smells emanating from the swinging kitchen doors. My mouth watered instantly and my nostrils were immediately open and almost burning from the rich fragrant aromas.
I told Mrs. Rajput to surprise me with her favorites, and she smiled warmly. She patted my head like an obedient son and scurried off into the kitchen. I could hear her clucking excitedly in Hindi at the cooks, presumably discussing my culinary fortunes. I sipped at my water, feeling rather conspicuous with this sudden hubbub surrounding my presence and menu choice. Mr. Rajput smiled at me from behind the register, his bright white teeth bursting from his dark brown face, while his graying moustache curled to match his beaming grin. I waved, slightly embarrassed and returned to my ice water.
After several minutes of clanging pots and banging pans, I heard Mrs. Rajput talking excitedly, and this time a woman’s voice answered. I heard footsteps approaching the swinging doors, which flung open wildly, nearly slamming into my sad little table for one in the corner. A huge plate appeared as if by magic in front of me, strewn with iridescent orange, spicy-looking brown and unnatural green. But the smells told me everything was going to be fantastic. I looked up to thank Mrs. Rajput and found myself looking at the most glorious face I’ve ever seen.
I stammered an awkward ‘thank you’, and her mouth opened in a wide, heart-melting smile. I stared for a moment. She stood about 5’ 5”, with a slender frame and perfect proportions. She had short-cropped black hair, high arching eyebrows and a gold nose ring. Her large bright eyes flashed like black obsidian, with long feminine eyelashes devoid of cosmetic embellishment. Her mouth was wide and opened in the sexiest smile I’ve ever seen. Her teeth were impossibly white, framed by full lips that curled into a sly grin not unlike Mr. Rajput’s. Her skin was a medium brown, almost ruddy, with a sheen that looked almost like she’d been lightly coated in baby oil. I was quite sure not, but it gave her a radiance and a vitality that stopped my breath and quickened my heart. She wore a long white sundress and simple black sandals.
Blessedly, she lingered a moment, perhaps fascinated by my uncouth staring. The result was nearly a whole minute in which I absorbed her beauty. Her eyes penetrated me. I felt foolish and young, but I could not stop staring. There was a lot happening in those deep black eyes, a shrewd intelligence and an irresistibly sexy self-confidence. I opened my mouth to speak again.
“Th-thank you. This smells fantastic. What is it?”
Her smile became a laugh. She pointed at each item on the plate, providing its name and basic ingredients in a soft, low voice that seemed equal parts Indian and British accents. I didn’t digest a single word long enough to recall what I ate, but I savored every syllable she issued, hoping she’d go on to describe some long process of preparation for each dish, just so I could keep listening.
Right as this glorious creature was winding up her quite complete description of my meal, Mrs. Rajput emerged with dishes for other patrons. She dropped them off quickly and then came right to my table.
“Ah! You have met my daughter, Ashna?” the adorable Mrs. Rajput said excitedly. “She is a doctor, you know! She is very smart.”
Ashna blushed and reprimanded her mother sweetly. “Medical school, Mother. I’m still in school.” Ashna turned back to me, her smile gleaming bright white. I continued to stare.
“Uh, Jeremy. My name is Jeremy. Pleased to meet you, Ashna.” I extended my hand, eagerly anticipating the chance to touch her skin.
She took it, her warm dry hand fitting smartly into mine. Her grip was surprisingly firm, and I marveled at her confidence. I had no notions that Indian women were meek or wildly oppressed, especially in this most modern of Western cities. But there was something exceptional about this girl, and I desperately wanted to know more.
“Very nice to meet you, Jeremy. Enjoy your dinner!” She turned and walked back through the swinging doors. My eyes followed her.
Mrs. Rajput seemed to notice my particular interest in her daughter, and she touched my arm gently.
“She’s a beautiful girl, isn’t she? We’re so proud of her. She helps us out sometimes when we’re busy. She’s so good to her parents.” I was trying to figure out if this was some kind of sales job or just the exuberant confessions of a proud parent.
“She certainly seems like a lovely person,” I offered weakly, not trying to sound too predatory in my appraisal of this woman’s own daughter.
Mrs. Rajput patted my head again and smiled. “I’ll make sure she knows that you think so!” Her eyes twinkled mischievously. Before I could speak in protest, she bounced giddily through the doors and disappeared into the noisy, spicy kitchen.
I turned to my food, breathing in the exotic spicy aromas. Between my fluttering heart and my watering mouth, life couldn’t get much better. I dug in, savoring the alternately delicate and overwhelming flavors of the various mystery dishes. I scolded myself for not having paid more attention to the contents of Ashna’s words, puzzling over the ingredients as I explored the culinary extravaganza that lie before me.
I drank water incessantly, trying to stave off the effects of the piquant spices long enough to eat as much as I could. I tried also to put Ashna out of my mind, as I found thoughts of her incredible face disrupting my meal. I was actually alarmed at my level of interest in this woman. I’d had my fair share of girlfriends, usually white girls of comparable upbringing, but the sheer beauty of this woman Ashna was driving me mad within the span of 30 minutes. I longed to see her reemerge from the kitchen, and when the doors would swing open, I was consistently disappointed to see only the aging Mrs. Rajput rushing out with brightly colored dishes for other hungry patrons.
I started wondering why the only time Ashna had appeared was to bring me my food. Was it some kind of fluke? Was she just passing through and was conscripted for one task? Was she prompted by her mother to check me out? The thought seemed incredible, and as I assailed against such a notion, my heart clung to the possibility with even greater fervor.
I was soon full beyond comfort, and I started to issue forth aromatic but blessedly silent belches that mirrored the rich tangy foods I’d so earnestly consumed. My mouth hummed with hot curry spices, and my face felt flushed. I waved at Mr. Rajput for the check, and he nodded in understanding and disappeared into the kitchen.
Seconds later, the doors swung open and Ashna stood above me with my bill. I smiled at her return, wishing I had some clever word or charming phrase that could get me closer to her. She smiled as warmly as before and held the ticket out. I took it slowly, not wanting her to leave. As I took it, she did exactly that.
Quickly I asked, “Can I pay YOU?”
Ashna turned back and gestured with her thumb over her shoulder. “You can pay him at the register. Thank you, Jeremy.” She flashed her white smile again and disappeared.
My heart felt like a heavy stone in my chest, both heaving with excitement and hardened by her hasty retreat. I got up slowly and stepped over to Mr. Rajput’s well-manned register. He gave me his warm smile and took my money. I left a healthy tip for Ashna, and begrudgingly made my way out of the restaurant. As I exited the front door, I looked back at Mr. Rajput. Suddenly next to him appeared Ashna. I’ve never been terribly forward with the ladies, but I could not let this woman out of my sight without the knowledge that I’d done all I could otherwise. I turned and walked back to the register.
Ashna seemed slightly embarrassed to have me standing in front of her. She almost turned to leave, but stopped. Mr. Rajput, in a true act of language-free intuition, slipped quietly from the register and into the kitchen. Ashna and I stood alone.
“Do you like coffee?” I asked, though in fact, I do not.
“Yes, I do. Why?”
“Well, I’m wondering if you’d like to have coffee with me.” It was a statement, but there was little about my tone that made anything other than a question.
Ashna smiled again, and her eyes flashed obsidian again. She looked down at the counter.
“Yes, I think I could do that.”
My heart nearly burst. “Great!”
“Where shall we go?” Ashna queried.
I hadn’t thought of that. “Well, I don’t know. I’m not from here, obviously. Do you know of any place? Nearby, I mean.”
She laughed. “Of course. There’s a small café round the corner. Shall I meet you there in, say, 20 minutes?”
“Excellent!” I said a little too enthusiastically. “See you then!” I smiled bravely and turned back towards the door.
I was halfway out when I realized I still didn’t know where this café was. I looked back at her in confusion. Reading my mind, she laughingly gestured to her left. I smiled sheepishly and closed the door.
The next eighteen minutes were an act of masochism. I tortured myself with all manner of rejection scenarios, scathing critiques of my appearance, pickup line auditions and other forms of self-induced misery. Finally the café door opened and Ashna appeared. She saw me immediately as I stood, and she walked towards me with a smile that could kill a grown man.
As she walked, time slowed to a near standstill. Her long white sundress was covered by a light stone overcoat, both of which spun gently around her as she stepped. She carried herself with remarkable grace and poise. I immediately thought back to watching Audrey Hepburn in ‘Roman Holiday’, with her long graceful neck and lovely round head. The string section in my mind stopped playing right as Ashna reached my table. I offered her my hand again, and she took it politely.
“Thank you so much for coming.” I couldn’t think of what else to say, so I stopped talking.
Ashna smiled. “Thank you for the invitation, Jeremy.” She paused a moment, clearly reading my errant mind. “I’ll have you know I never make plans with customers from the restaurant. Mum was particularly fond of you, I guess, so I figured it would be alright.”
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing at least I had an ally in the ebullient Mrs. Rajput. “Well, thank you for breaking your rules and joining me. The food was fantastic. I can’t say I remember what any of it was, but tonight’s meal was particularly special.”
Ashna grinned with pride. “Yes, we’re quite proud of our food, and I’m thrilled you like it. Mum made quite a big deal out of your order. I think she was quite excited when you left it her hands.”
“Well, thank her for me personally, if you would. She’s a darling, and I can’t wait for my next meal.”
Ashna nodded, then looked down at the table. The dreaded awkward silence kicked in. I started to panic. Finally she spoke. “So, shall we get some coffee, then?”
“Certainly!” I agreed convivially.
We sat and flagged a waiter. He lumbered over and produced a small menu. Ashna took it, deliberated for a moment, then ordered some coffee drink or other. She passed me the menu, and I searched for a non-coffee item, finally spotting hot cocoa near the bottom. The waiter took the menu and left us.
Ashna and I chatted casually at first, discussing London, restauranteuring, medical school, et cetera. I found myself getting lost in her deep black eyes, her low smooth voice buoyed up by her lilting accent and songlike cadence. Eventually we became rather comfortable, and entered into fascinating conversations about immigration, international policy, the arts, and linguistics. She was particularly intrigued by my anthropology/linguistics double major. We talked about cultural integrity and survival within a pluralistic society. She told me about growing up Indian in London. We had so much to talk about, and soon it felt like we were old friends just catching up.
We drank countless cups of coffee and cocoa, respectively, for which I was all too happy to pay. Finally at around 10pm, feeling that the intake of any more liquid and caffeine would cause permanent damage, we took our leave of the charming little café and headed out into the cool London air.
Anshna and I walked slowly down the street. I burned with conflict at the joy of the past few hours and the depressing prospect of the night’s end. Then I noticed that we were in fact walking in the opposite direction of her parent’s restaurant. I tried to pretend I hadn’t noticed. We continued our chat, dissecting the medical education system in the UK, talking about the European Union and the political damage caused by the Bush administration insofar as Europe was concerned. Out of nowhere I felt Ashna’s hand in mind. She held my hand, and as I swallowed hard to contain the thrill and the stark terror that invaded my mind, I calmly wrapped my fingers around her hand as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Ashna asked where I was staying, and I explained to her my provisions at the hostel. She seemed rather curious, and explained that she’d never been in one. I told her she wasn’t missing anything, but she asked if she might see it, to satisfy her curiosity. We arrived at the modest building moments later and I led her up to the room where I was sleeping. It was filled with the typical collection of backpackers, stoners and hippies, and I was happy to see my backpack standing untouched in the corner. She marveled at the space, intrigued I think by the open and democratic nature of the living quarters. We left the room and went out into the hallway.
“Do you feel like the living arrangements are too public?” she asked.
“Well, you get used to it,” I remarked. “I’m not here all that much, only to sleep. Most days I’m out seeing the sights.”
Ashna nodded. I looked at her, lit by the garish humming blue glow of the overhead fluorescent lights. Her rich brown face stood on her tall slender neck, and she looked up at me expectantly. I wanted to kiss her so badly in that moment, and I slowly bent down towards her. She didn’t move, and in fact her eyes glistened permissively. As I approached, my lips extended slightly, and I watched in fascination as her full brown lips did the same. I could hear her soft breathing.
When my lips finally touched hers, my entire body was riveted with an electric shock. Her lips were full, warm and soft against mine, and her mouth instantly parted. I put my arms around her and pulled her to me. Her slender frame fit perfect against my body. My tongue ventured brazenly into her mouth, which was warm and spicy and fragrant. I moaned softly at the perfection of our kiss, and she put her arms around my waist.
We kissed hotly for several minutes, exploring and tasting one another. Then, inconveniently, another hostel guest emerged from the sleeping room and shattered our privacy in the hallway. He ignored us as he padded slowly toward the bathroom, towel and soap in hand. But the moment was gone, and we collected ourselves, slightly embarrassed but eager to continue. She looked thoughtful for a moment, then spoke.
“Is there a telephone nearby?” Ashna queried.
“Uh, yeah, at the end of the hall on the right. I dug a few coins from my pocket and handed them to her.
“Okay, stay here. I’ll be right back.” Ashna walked briskly down the long hallway and found the phone.
I could hear her talking but I could make out none of the words. A minute later she came back down the hall to me, and without speaking, took my hand. She led me downstairs and back out onto the street.
“Where are we going?” I finally asked.
Ashna smiled but did not look at me. “Someplace more private.”
We walked for several blocks, and I found myself completely disoriented, despite my relative familiarity with the area. Finally we arrived at a numbered door on the street. Ashna pushed the button, and we were buzzed in. We climbed the stairs, Ashna in the lead, holding my hand as we ascended. At the top of the stairs, she knocked tentatively on door #3. The door swung open, and a young woman of roughly our age appeared in her overcoat.
“Right then, great to see you, Ashna!” The woman leaned forward and kissed Ashna lightly on the cheek. “I’ll be back at half-twelve.” She stepped out past us, and clomped quickly down the stairs.
I stood watching her leave in confusion. Ashna pulled my hand and led me into the apartment. She closed the door behind us and noticed my nonplussed expression.
“Alice is a friend of mine, she’s a med student also. She’s got a flat to herself and I don’t.” I still appeared confused. “I didn’t think you’d want to spend your night with my parents, do you?”
The realization belatedly washed over me that Ashna wanted more from me than that heavenly kiss in the hallway. She smiled wickedly as she watched my face change from lost to found. She spun around girlishly and pulled off her overcoat. She laid it over an armchair.
“Come here, Jeremy,” she said in a low tone so seductive that I positively swooned.
I stepped toward her. She stood up on the balls of her feet and planted a comfortable kiss, like one a wife gives her husband after 30 years of marriage. I put my arms around her. I kissed her deeply, and again our mouths opened and our tongues intertwined. We kissed awhile longer, in no hurry to break our embrace.
Finally she broke away. She looked at me sweetly, almost sadly. Ashna then started unbuttoning my shirt. She pushed it from my shoulders and ran her dark hands across my chest. She then unbuckled my belt. I helped her unfasten my jeans, and she pulled them down with some embarrassment. I kicked them off and stood there in nothing but underwear and white socks.
Ashna’s eyes were deep black now, and she stepped to me and put her lips to my chest with such gentleness as I’ve never felt before. She placed soft, tender kisses across my chest and ran her hands across my shoulders and down my arms. She caressed my back with her short fingernails, and I felt my loins aching in complete arousal. She looked up and kissed my mouth again, tracing her hands along my neck, around my ears, and along my jaw line. Her hands on my face were like a magic salve, and all my doubts and trepidations vanished.
Finally she pulled away and stepped back. She looked down at my feet and laughed. I looked down at my white socks and laughed as well. I bent down and pulled them off, tossing them unceremoniously over my shoulder. I glanced down at my boxers, eyeing my highly evident erection poking conspicuously at the thin cotton. ‘What the hell,’ I thought, and pulled them down in one swift move.
Ashna stared incredulously at my completely naked body. She took me in one inch at a time, from head to toe, her mouth curling up into that smirk I’d seen hours earlier. She clearly wasn’t displeased with what she saw, and I considered that it’s entirely possible that this could be her first sexual experience. I decided not to dwell on that either way, and I looked at her expectantly.
She stared at me a moment longer, then realizing the imbalance of nudity between us, she kicked off her black sandals and pushed them aside. Then she unbuttoned the front of her sundress, and pulled it from her shoulders. It slid silently from her slender frame and piled on the floor around her small feet. I stared in shock as I realized that she was completely nude!
Ashna noticed the look of incredulity on my face. “I never wear underthings. They’re too constrictive!” she laughed, her tone positively drenched with mischief.
Now it was my turn to stare. Her sundress had hidden so much of her figure, I noted in retrospect. Her hips were slightly wide, very feminine. Her breasts were fairly small, probably a large B cup, but lovely shaped with large, dark brown nipples. Her pubic hair was dark black and slightly bushy. I realized irreverently that the only thing on her body that was manmade was the bright gold ring in her right nostril. She stood somewhat nervously, perhaps afraid that I would somehow not approve of her naked form. She couldn’t know that to me her body was living perfection, and I vowed silently to bring her to that understanding.
Unable to keep my hands from her small brown body, I stepped to her, wrapping my pale white arms around her. Hungrily I kissed her, and she laughed into my mouth as my hands passed over her round ample buttocks. Ashna sent her hands wandering as well, and we stood there groping each other for several minutes.
I broke the kiss this time. I looked behind her and into the kitchen a few paces away. I moved her backwards until we reached the counter. “Up you go!” I put my hands on her small waist and lifted her. She shrieked in mock terror, as I set her upon the countertop. She shivered as the cool laminate surfaced chilled her behind, and she laughed as goose bumps formed across her arms and shoulders. I caressed her cooled skin, kissing her softly this time, her mouth finally in direct alignment with mine.
I kissed my way down her body, across her shoulders and onto her pert breasts. She arched her back and pushed her chest out, exposing her small breasts to my kisses. I took a brown nipple into my mouth and sucked it gently. She cooed and put her hands to my head. I sucked at each nipple, enjoying the feel of them in my mouth. Her entire body smelled slightly spicy, and I imagined the effect of a lifetime of fragrant, flavorful foods on the human body. Whatever the reason, she smelled fantastic, and our bodies together felt even better. I kissed down her stomach, feeling the myriad fine hairs against my lips. I kissed her hips and her thighs, and she slowly parted her legs and leaned back.
I had to slide her hips forward on the countertop, but eventually I had her right where I wanted her. I knelt in worshipful pose and stared right at her beautiful bush. Behind the thick hairs I could see her brown labia, and the scent of her arousal was instantly recognizable. Some things, I noted, were truly independent of culture.
I moved my mouth to her sex, and she twitched as my tongue began to probe. I felt her relax as my movements smoothed. Once I got oriented to her, I began to lick her confidently but gently. I had always enjoyed performing orally on women, and this was my most enthusiastic performance to date. I lapped at her gently, teasing her without cruelty, stimulating her mercifully, exploring her lovingly. She responded as I hoped, pawing at my head and neck, pulling me closer to her, gasping softly and issuing tender pleas to continue, as I would willingly do anyway.
Ashna was moaning in earnest now, her legs wrapped around my back as I continued to lick and suck her with patience and presence of mind. I felt her grip on my hair tighten and her moans became muted cries. She moved against my face rhythmically, and I delighted in the thought of her orgasm at my eager efforts. Ashna climaxed loudly, and there was something sweetly emotive about it. She clung earnestly to my head, her body pulsing with the shock waves of her orgasm. Slowly they subsided, and eventually she released my hair and I breathed deeply.
I slowly got up, my knees aching from the long time spent upon them. Ashna caressed my arms lovingly. Upon her face was plastered a look of innocent rapture, frozen for my viewing pleasure. I smiled and kissed her on the mouth. She kissed back, her tongue tasting herself on my lips.
“Mmmm,” she moaned, licking her lips. “Is that what I taste like?” She smiled devilishly and pulled me to her in a tight embrace.
My erection poked uncomfortably against her leg as we hugged, and we both laughed.
“Well, I guess there’s no ignoring that, is there?” Ashna joked. She put her slender brown hand onto it, wrapping her fingers around it and stroking it gently. She looked down at my length in her small hand, smiling as she felt its hardness against her palm. She debated a moment, then spoke.
“Just pull it out at the end, alright? I haven’t got anything,” she said almost apologetically. I nodded, realizing that I had gone to the trouble of bringing condoms thousands of miles from the U.S., but hadn’t thought to bring them to Alice’s flat. My thoughts returned to Ashna, as she adjusted herself in preparation. Finally she put her small feet up on my hips, tilting herself towards me and exposing her lips inches from my pulsing erection. She placed the head of my penis against her labia. Ashna then took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She nodded slowly and exhaled.
I leaned slowly against her, and against such resistance that I considered that she had possibly misaligned me. But a second later, I slid into her with remarkable ease, and Ashna gasped sharply. We paused there a moment, and she opened her eyes and smiled. I kissed her, and she giggled. She nodded again, and I started to move.
We made love slowly and gently, savoring the closeness of our bodies, kissing frequently, caressing constantly. She relaxed as we went, her body no longer rejecting the sudden intrusion but now celebrating it. Ashna wrapped her legs around my back, locking her ankles and pulling me against her. We giggled, kissing and tickling, while our bodies moved together in marvelous synchronicity. I felt her starting to come again. Her muscles tightened around me, squeezing me. I intensified, pushing her to climax. Her eyes closed again, and she draped her arms around my neck. I thrust into her quickly, landing squarely against her clitoris, her breath inhaling sharply with each impact.
Ashna climaxed hard, her moans becoming cries as her fingernails dug into my back. She clung for dear life as I continued to slide into her. Her legs hung heavily around my waist, and her sweat-drenched face glowed angelically.
I felt my own orgasm approaching, and I sped up until I was too close to continue. I pulled out of her, and Ashna grunted at the unexpected withdrawal. She opened her eyes, and realizing my impending condition, she cooed softly as if to encourage me.
I groaned loudly as my orgasm hit, and I felt my body spasm. Ashna gasped as a volley of white semen erupted from the tip and landed in a line across her thigh and onto the counter behind her. Several more volleys followed, and she cheered at each one as if it were a fireworks display. Eventually, the spasms stopped, and my spent penis slowly drooped down onto her leg. She caressed me, running her warm hands across my rapidly cooling, sweat-soaked back. We remained like that for several minutes, kissing and catching our breath.
Ashna glanced at the clock, and panicked. “Oh my, Alice will be home soon. We’d better get dressed!”
We separated, collecting our things and putting them on. Ashna wiped her leg with a wet dishtowel, making sure to clean the counter where my seed had spilled. We were cleaned up and fully dressed, and had resumed our kissing when we heard footsteps in the stairway. Alice knocked politely before letting herself in. We stood well composed, but Alice could tell that her friend Ashna looked quite different than before. Alice’s face contorted into a huge smile, which made Ashna blush. They shared a look, then kissed cheeks again. Ashna extended our thanks, and we took our leave.
I spent nearly all my remaining time in London with Ashna, carrying her books to medical school classes, having meals with her and her family, even helping out at the restaurant as a busboy! I’ve since had to return home, but I’ve decided that the UK presents the best opportunities for exploring my anthropological and linguistic interests, and my parents have agreed. I’ve applied for a work visa, and Ashna’s looking for jobs for me. I hope to be back there within six months. In the meantime, I’ve got delicious memories of the flavors of India to keep me company.