Two good friends of ours fell in love on a trip to Israel and Jordan. Two people in despair, neither one looking for love.
We ended the trip with a day trip into Petra. It is a long, dusty walk. Horses, donkeys and camel rides are options. I was talked into a horse ride on the way back and a camel ride on the way down to the legendary city. The Jordanian boys pestered us relentlessly. It was good natured and fun. Their eyelashes were long and distracting. We couldn't say no.
They showed us how to wrap scarves around our heads, covering our faces. The owner of my horse whacked it on the butt to make it gallop. I think he wanted to know if I would bounce? Big bottomed girls are, uh, uh, interesting to them. Little did he know, I grew up properly trained. I was a little breathless, but stayed seated because I remembered to clamp my knees. Can't say I was entirely graceful, but grandpa would have been proud. Was I sore the next day? Yes.
The camel ride was really strange. It rocked me like a rocking chair. When the owner swung up behind me by it's tail and made him 'gallop', it just rocked faster. Smooth as silk. I don't know who won the eyelash prize, the camel or the lad. The lad didn't try to bite me or spit.
As we came together again to eat lunch, one of the older boys who had earlier wrapped my girlfriend in a scarf, walked up to Craig and offered 10 camels for her. (He thought Craig was her brother) He said no, then explained she was taken already and pointed out the Lucky Man. The bartering went on and on till it reached 20 camels. Craig sighed and shook his head. He firmly told the boy that it wasn't any use. However many camels he offered, the Lucky Man would offer one more. As we left, the rejected boy hung his head, disheartened.
After the trip, she needed to set her affairs and house in order to move out here to be with Lucky Man forever and plan their wedding. They were separated for their first Valentine's Day.
It didn't stop them. They dressed for dinner. Set the table. Opened an identical TV Dinner and twin bottles of wine. Then called each other to pour the wine. Bite for bite and swallow for swallow, they created magic and playful intimacy, over the telephone.
Last night we had dinner with them. They are 2+ years married now. She mentioned that she had never enjoyed a more romantic Valentine's Day than that first one. It isn't how lavish, how expensive or what location. The only destination is the heart, connecting.
She still feels like it is a miracle; this being the girl in the story. A twenty camel bride.