Saturday, 3 February 2007

Images from a stormy evening...

I walk out of No. 21 The Esplanade and turn east, heading toward the shops. A man on a green Harley-Davidson chuckles past, immediately indicating that he will turn right into Fourth Avenue.

I cross Third Avenue, past a cotton tree and the big poinciana on the corner with the orchid-shaped, deep-pink flowers and seed pods half a metre long that hang down like monkeys' tails.


The air is cool and moist. It rained heavily earlier, a tropical downpour lasting only a few minutes. A brief sound like the applause that follows a theatrical performance. It soon stops.

It's not raining now as I turn south past the cigar shop. The bakery is shut now, so a pie is out of the question. A hot pie and a glass of beer make the ideal repast for the cricket. The bushpigs in the park played through the rain, working up a sweat they would assuage at the blue eski placed by the kerb, next to their parked cars.


In the bottle shop a young woman wearing a green halter top and with a six-pack of some modern alcoholic beverage clasped to her abdomen joins the queue behind me. I pay for my beer and a packet of nachos cheese Doritos.

She overtakes me as I walk west on Cotton Tree, her white tennis shoes — no socks — tapping away at the pavement like a neophyte at a keyboard.

As I sip my third stubby, I note the players have abandoned their patch of brown grass under the paperbark tree. And I give thanks. Not to any god, but, perhaps, to my country.

The treetops wave, a darker cloud passes, like a cross between a horse and an ocean liner. The lights are starting to switch on.

I give thanks for the fact that I only have to get half drunk to visit my parents.

A pelican takes off, low over the water. Black and white slowly beating in the fresh air. A cloud of seagulls banks and turns. A man in a blue kayak stirs the water of the estuary.

Returning after dinner, with the taste of mango still in my teeth, I enter the atrium of No. 21, to the smell of egg.

The rain keeps falling on and off throughout the evening. Soft applause. Thunder. My beer tastes of sand.

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tiantanghuhu said...
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