Story postcard – on the road (4)

“Ever been to London?”

Rudd shakes his head.

“Well … plenty of Zimbabweans in London. Sophisticated. Entrepreneurs, doctors, nurses. Some in my choir. I like them. Partly why I came. Curious I suppose. I know it’s got problems, but I never expected it to feel like this. Sort of sad.”

Rudd’s fingers begin to drum on the wheel. He chews his lip, and forces himself not to point out the stuff he’s heard about London – the rain, the knife attacks, the crowded trains. Out of the corner of his eye he watches Simi. Goddess Simi. Suddenly he can’t imagine her liking the lodge at all.

She’s still talking, more to herself than to him. He doesn’t mind. Better than silence. He rubs a hand around the back of his neck to wipe away the sweat.

“Is there going to be anything fun at your lodge?”

“Fun?” He looks across at her.

“Yes. Didn’t realise it was so far from anywhere.”

We’ve got a bar. Swimming-pool. Tennis court. Golf. Walks … that kind of thing?

“I suppose so,” said Simi, her voice dropping. “Don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea. Detox. Healthy living. Feels like I’ve made a massive mistake.”

Body language Rudd. Be confident. Convince her. He clears his throat.

“No. Not a mistake. We’ve got stuff happening. We’ve got a wedding this weekend.”

“A wedding?”

“Yes. Big wedding. Local wedding. They won’t mind you joining in. Nobody does here. You’re the only non-wedding guest staying anyway.”

“I’m the only non-wedding guest?”

“Ja. This weekend you are. Most people come in families and we couldn’t fit any of them. Had room for you though.”

 “Okaaay.” Simi stretches out the word. “A wedding? Never been to one in Africa. Could be interesting. As long as there’s not so much of the nothing-really-works problem, the pothole-problem.”

“Well,” says Rudd, “it’ll be different. Look … over there.”

Simi eyes follow Rudd’s finger to the horizon.

 “There. Those rocks, up there on the left. Those are kopjes.

Simi studies the lumbering parade of rock.

“They look brilliant in this light,” says Rudd. “We’ve had a lot of rain.”

“And there’s more coming.”

 “Maybe. Won’t spoil anything.”

“Oh no? Our pilot said something about a cyclone?”

“Cyclone? This weekend?”

“That’s what he said.”

“Must have meant Mozambique. We don’t get cyclones here.”


“No,” says Rudd meeting her eyes. “Hardly ever. Not here.”

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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