Difficult discussions as the wedding gets closer

Simi: a Londoner, who happens to be staying at the resort while the wedding is on

Rudd: the young manager of the resort

Katania: the mother of the bride

Jen and Hansie: the soon-to-be-married couple

Setting: Zimbabwe

Simi shifted in her seat, her kaftan sticky against the back of her legs. One party is enjoying this, she thought, the other is not.

Katania continued, voice brisk.

“Oh, Mick’s fine. Anyway, I’ve sorted it. I had a brainwave. Knew there must be a local priest, so I went and found him. He’s perfect. Problem solved.”

“A priest? But we don’t know him. We don’t even need a priest. Surely someone else could do it? A friend?”

“Who Jen? Do be sensible. I’ve been through everyone here. And there’s no-one. Just trust me on this. This priest will be perfect. Such presence.”

Presence? Simi considered the word, as she balanced a forkful from her plate to her mouth. She chewed slowly, savouring the fluff of the pancake, against the crunch of the bacon.

“Presence? What’s his name?”

“Norman.”

“Norman?” Jen pushed her bowl of fruit away. She stood up, rewrapping her towel around her waist. “Who is he? I mean we don’t even know him. Thanks for finding him, but I’m sorry, I really want to talk to Hansie about this.”

“Okay.” The word stretched slowly. “Fine by me. I’ll wait for you here.”

Katania’s fingers drummed lightly on the table as the bright pink of Jen’s t-shirt disappeared into the lodge.

Simi swallowed, then cleared her throat, searching for words. She was about to reach for the weather, when the laughter of the birdwalkers surged up the hill behind her. Katania, apparently, did not notice them.

“So tricky, don’t you think?” she said.

“Difficult” mumbled Simi, wishing she’d woken in time to go for the birdwalk.

Katania tipped her head back, shaking out her hair behind her. She ran the fingers of both hands through its length, flicking sunlight back at Simi.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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