It's a sandy village by the ocean. A stopover on Lucy's journey through South America. A long trip of 8 months before throwing herself into working life. Lucy is 23 years old and is ready to discover what life has in store for her.
Bag on her back, she enters Solar da Malhada in the hope of finding a room.
She finds herself on a large patio where the sun is beating down and a boy lounges on a hammock. What she doesn't yet know is that this house is not actually a hostel, but a large family home managed by two cousins, Ruben and Eli.
Lucy’s cheeks and nose have been reddened by the sun. She has big blue eyes and beautiful long hair that’s been mussed up by salt, sand, and hours of travel.
Ruben thinks that – if it means Lucy will stay – this house could become a hostel after all, and so Lucy takes a room off the patio.
The following night, some friends of the cousins set themselves up in the house, making it feel even more like a hostel.
Lucy will go on to spend three weeks in this village. Doing nothing but bathing, waking up to the music coming from the room next door, listening to the stories of the old man who prepares her acerola juice, as well as smoking and laughing on the patio, and being with Ruben, Eli and their friends all night long on the edge of a freshwater lagoon. One night she’s seduced by a stranger who doesn't even speak her language. Deep down she feels that Ruben likes her, and Ruben does like her. A lot. Too much.
But she’s a part of the group now, and this keeps Ruben from making any move.
Lucy knows, deep in her heart, that she’s looking for something more.
Lucy magic is beginning to fade – the confidence that allowed her not to be afraid, to take risks, and to live. She can’t imagine her future without also seeing the sufferings of her past.
She hopes that through this journey, which will be her oracle, that she will find some answers.
And the one who creates the spark of magic again, her guide, is Ruben.
When she hears him on the phone with his father, she understands that she’s not in fact in a hostel. She understands that Ruben, as soon as he saw her, just couldn’t let her go. Lucy begins to feel what she has been stopping herself from feeling for years.
Her journey, this voyage of initiation, is coming to an end.
Her cheeks are still red, her freckles more and more pronounced, and her hair more and more sun and sea-kissed. On the bus ride back to the city, Lucy comes to a realisation. She gets off and turns back.
To go back to Solar is to take a risk, to love, perhaps to suffer, but she understands now that it’s the only way to live.