Waiting for Ellis

by Jackie Barrera

This story is part of our 'Romantic Travel Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Coda.


I am in New York, waiting for Ellis.

I just came back from Africa. I was there for a year, travelling, exploring and having the adventure of a lifetime. It was the most amazing time of my life, trekking around ten different countries in the southwest quadrant of the continent.

When I was in Cape Town, South Africa, I stayed with a friend, Tribeca. Tribeca was so kind and generous, as many people I had met along the way had been. And she had introduced me to Ellis. Ellis greeted me with the confidence of a prince, a beguiling smile, and was very charming, interested and interesting. He was also so attractive with honey-brown skin, shoulder length, sun-streaked hair and an incredibly toned and athletic build. Ellis was an engineer. He was taking a break from the working world to enjoy the summer, before he himself started a journey to the other side of the world, the United States. From that evening on, we spent most of that month together.

One day we hiked up Table Mountain, the back side, avoiding the crowds. We took breaks along the way in green mossy alcoves, with small springs coming out of the rocks. At the top there was a lake with a white, sandy beach where we rested and shared each others' company. There was something so special about the way we were together, as if we already understood and knew each other so well. We enjoyed each others company doing what we both loved to do, which spoke volumes in itself, but there was this unspoken knowing and understanding between us in just being together.

The hike took most of the day. When we reached our destination the view was incredible, and the day had been amazing, but it was getting dark. We trekked forward to an overnight cabin without a worry, doubt or fear of what would happen. We hadn’t planned on spending the night. There was a small group of boy scouts at the cabin who welcomed us curiously and graciously. Ellis gave them his best, sharing stories with them while they listened so intently and respectfully. Soon, I was tired and was invited to sleep in a bunk in the cabin under one of the boy’s solar backpacking blankets. Ellis stayed up and bonded with the boys. It was a curious, serendipitous event, which I look back on now and think, how did that all come to be? Ellis, and Africa, was beautiful like that.

Ellis and I had made a plan to meet a few months later, here in the states, and take a trip together. This time we were going to explore North America, and continue our journey.

... And now I wait to meet him here, in New York, so we can start our next adventure.

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