Odour of Fate

I did not mind them, the twilight girls and the soldiers of sexual fortune. In fact, I greatly enjoyed the buzz of their unfettered lifestyle, an enthusiasm so different from the restrained, prettified atmosphere of my world. It was my weekend escape, the bump slowing the journey to premature aging, and refuge from a boring conventional wife who loved my diplomatic wallet but hated the country that stuffed it. Our two teenage children in England provided excuse for her to stay away for months at a time even though they were in expensive boarding schools. It left me at liberty to enjoy the freedom of local friendships.

Of course, I had to be careful. An accidental meeting with any of the over-paid United Nations staff, expatriate managers or fellow diplomats, would severely dent my image. And Kenya is an AIDS hotspot. So I carefully planned how to avoid the penalties for my immoral fun. I cultivated hideaways, tested disguises and practiced lines to use if I got caught. And I bought reinforced Dutch condoms.

But the simplest strategy proved the most successful. White executives working on contract in black countries donít go to black places, and they certainly donít go anywhere low class. They write proposals for poverty eradication and recommendations for development projects from the comfort of leafy, high-class neighbourhoods. Only the odd one, perhaps, consults with a high-class black person.

I could not care less for race and racial problems. The more they are given time to breathe, the more oxygen they suck. But this simple delineation of race and class made it possible for me to dip back and forth, frolicking with the hares and drinking with the hounds.

My gaze, like the purple light above, trailed the dancing figure. She moved as though her body were anchored on two different axes. Her generous breasts vibrated whilst she gyrated her sumptuous bottom in a fast, continuous motion. Just when I was sure that something would break, or that centrifugal force would fling her up and out the glassed dome roof, she changed direction. She rotated her top end, swaying arms to the sky and then with legs apart dipped almost to the floor and vibrated up again, exhibiting restraint and abandon in equal measure.

My mind filled with images of earthquakes. They come with a bang, crack open our fault lines and can swallow us whole. Our hope lies in how quickly they pass, leaving us to grapple with consequences.