Steve Baring, a man who never truly found himself in his history profession, thought that he always knew what he wanted; a fair wife, a son, a well-standing business, and a loyal dog. All in all, he wanted a simple life that any Southerner would sign for. But his life took then him from Texas to Arizona, and later on, to Vancouver, where he opted to work for his cousin. When he wasn’t at the job, he would spend his time drinking scotch on the rocks at the bar when he hooked up with the waitress and, you know, one thing led to another… So she got pregnant.

And just like that, Steve’s life took yet another 180-degree turn and all his youthful plans then changed.
Soon he couldn’t recognize himself, because he ended up with boring family life, a job he didn’t like, adopted a mutt that wouldn’t ever listen, he developed drinking habits, his boss started playing him around, and pretty soon he found out his wife was cheating on him. Heavy fights began … and she, not he, but she, asked for a divorce.

Things piled upon him and tore him up, He aimlessly wandered around the city when he stumbled upon an old friend, Tim Kohl, an archeologist who proposed to him something he believed could cure his depression; he offered him an archeology job in Sudan, which Steve reluctantly accepted.

The trip to Sudan went with Tim’s brief history lessons and a struggle with memories from a relationship that seemed irreparably broken. He knew that tasting Africa would be something new. Maybe even something that could open his eyes to things he’d never find in the States or Canada. But what he didn’t know was how sensitive the situation in the country was, and how careful he would have to be.

The luxury that awaited them felt suspicious. They stayed in a five-star hotel, in abundance he would expect only in far richer parts of the world. In the evening, they went to the conference, where they met the other participants in the project, as well as the funders. Besides politics (which pushed its finger into every spore of Sudanese livelihood) there truly was a lot of history.

Having learned about his company’s two-month-long agenda, Steve took a deep breath and thought of everything he left behind, realizing how far away from his family he was. He expected the loneliness and the depression to kick back, but someone appeared at that conference. Someone looking as if from a dream. As he wrote it:

“She shone with elegance and bliss, and withheld an insusceptible
power that mesmerized me so I gazed at her, motionless. Her skin was tawny and
smooth, like a glossy chocolate glaze. She wore a semi-transparent, traditional
dress with light blue, violet, yellow and pink stripes, spanning throughout
its length, accurately portraying her stunning figure. She had three pearl
necklaces with golden pendants around her neck, enriched with scarlet rubies
and blue gems. She hid large, mysterious earrings behind her bountiful black
hair, reaching all the way to her lower back. And when I saw her deep,
conspicuous, sapphire-blue eyes, I was spellbound.

For a brief moment, I forgot my own name.

The murmur in the room was then gone and the colors grew bright and hot.
My vision got blurry and my eyes were all watery and itchy, so I rubbed them,
disbelieving she could be real.

And then… Some people got in the way, and when they passed, she was gone.
Gone like a rashly gust of wind. Gone like a dream you remember in vague
snippets but can’t recall its plot. I blinked a couple of times as my eyes went
searching for her through the hall, but she was still gone. Perhaps, she wasn’t
ever there, at all.”

After the conference, he heard the rumor of a mythical Nubian treasure; the pearls of incredible value, allegedly hidden among the ancient monuments and archeological excavation sites.

During the search for those pearls, the beautiful black woman whose blue eyes shook him off the ground crossed his path again, but she was the forbidden and deadly fruit. Steve might have lost everything in his life, but he found another purpose in writing poems about her.

And then, they met…


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