I want to tell you about Mona. That wasn’t her real name. She came from Maori stock and her given name was Moana, pronounced Mo-ah-na. It meant ocean and already when I met her she had fulfilled her names promise by crossing the ocean and was a student at an Art College in England when I studied. She had given up explaining how to pronounce her name and just went along with what others called her. I was studying Architecture at nights there and I have no idea what she was studying, it could have been Fine Art, Pottery or she could have worked in the office, who knows?
I met her at the end of year dance and get together of students at the pub next door to the college. I don’t dance well but on a crowded dance floor, the pressure is off and who cares when all you can do is jiggle about a bit.
Moana was tiny, not five foot tall. Some might call her dainty but that is poor description as she was bursting with life and exuberance. When she looked at me with her hauntingly beautiful eyes I melted. I felt like a puddle at her feet lapping at her pretty toes. I have no idea how I came to dance with her, but my guess is that she asked me. More likely she pulled me away from my Architectural mates and took charge. As we squeezed on to the crowded dance floor and swayed and bumped to the music all thoughts of Chloe my current girlfriend took flight.
As Moana smiled tantalizing at me her smile turned into a broad grin and she pulled me down to her height. I was six foot two inches then so face to face conversation was not possible. She put her mouth near my ears and shouted, “You are so tall, they will all think you are dancing on your own”
You must remember this was 55 years ago. In those days no one danced on their own. I merely smiled down at her and removed my hand from her waist and touched her bare arm. It was a warm brown arm that for those few seconds was mine alone.
The music stopped we moved off the dance floor and returned to our friends. Later on I tried to find out which subjects she was studying but no-one knew who or where she was. So she went out of my life as quickly as she entered it.
Now all these years later I still think of her, sadly, yearning for that little bit more. But like so many meetings we were as ships that pass in the night. For that short time she was my ocean, my Moana.