Story postcard – meeting the guests (1)

Rudd heads for the reception area, then hesitates. To his right the sun lies warm and beckoning over the grass. Imagining its warmth after the cool of the office, he steps down off the verandah on to it, and raises his arms above his head. Fingers linked, elbows stretched tight, he tips his face up to the sky, willing the muscles in his neck to relax. As he does so, he imagines Tonderai, master of the meet and greet, welcoming the guests.

Perfect day, Rudd thinks, all cyclone worries evaporating in the sunshine.

“Hi Rudd.”

He drops his arms, and spins around to see the broad bridegroom, Hansie, looking down at him from the edge of the verandah.

“Hi.” Rudd strides back up the steps to shake the outstretched hand. “Welcome! Who’s with you?”

“Tim’s over there by the bar. Tonderai said he would get us drinks.”


“Best man. He flew out from the UK a few days ago. He’s clever hey, not like me. He’s a doctor.”

“Whaaat? An Englishman.”

“I know, hey? One of your lot. We’re getting soft.”

Rudd, laughs as he lengthens his step to match Hansie’s. He is always happy to see Hansie, four years his senior, and one of the decent prefects at his last school.

Up ahead Rudd sees a tall man leaning on the bar. He is silhouetted against the sun. As they get closer he picks out the details, the curly ginger hair, the glasses, the smile. Rudd holds out his hand, and he shakes it warmly.

“I’m Tim,” he says. “Beautiful place.”

“Rudd. Thanks. We think so.”

The mobile lying on the counter, lights up.

“You’re lucky to get any reception,” Rudd says, watching the best man’s grin widen as he checks the message.

“Yesss! They’ve got fuel. They’ve found some. I thought they were never going to get here.” He looks up at Hansie eyes half relief, half accusation. “Why go miles away when there’s no fuel? You’re mad. You know that? You’re completely mad.”

“This is normal for us, hey,” said Hansie. “You’ve been away too long.”

“Well, the bride is on her way.” Tim, raises his beer. “Cheers.”

“Cheers!” Hansie drains his glass. “No need for stress. I’m going to check on the dormitory. Is it good to go Rudd?”

“The squash courts?” Rudd laughs. “First time they’ve been called a dormitory. All fine when I looked in. Tonderai and Innocence set out the mattresses this morning.”

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“No. I’m fine thanks Tim. You just drink that beer of yours, and maybe you could talk Rudd through the stuff we’ve brought up with us.”

“Let me know if you need any changes over there,” Rudd calls after Hansie.

Hansie raises a hand in response but does not stop.

“Okay,” Tim says, pulling out a piece of paper from his back pocket. “Let’s start with this.”

He unfolds the paper carefully and lays it on the table.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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