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16 Oct 2012

 She gives a little throttle and the engine begins to liven. Then, as she begins to release the clutch, she lets off the throttle. The motorcycle jerks forward and the engine cuts off. Jess looks at me, waiting for the rebuke.


‘Now do it your way again,’ I say.


It is a warm afternoon and the tarmac is dry after it rained heavily earlier in the morning. In the waning weeks of the wet season, the ra...

11 Oct 2012

You have this chip on your shoulder, you know that? I think to myself.


I know it, myself thinks back to me.


Do you know why? I ask myself.




It’s because you worked so hard to get here and waited so long, I think.




You spent the majority of your twenties in university to ‘prepare’ for this, didn’t you? I think.


Yes I did.


And now that you’re here, it’s not exactly what you expected it woul...

10 Oct 2012

It is Saturday afternoon and we are riding on Randall St up past Benson where it becomes one way. The traffic is very bad here so we are glad we are on our motorbike because we can ride the narrow opening between the parked cars and the cars that idle as they wait in the traffic.


I slow as we approach the intersection and I see there are two police who are directing the traffic. You see this in ma...

3 Oct 2012

Jess broods when there is something on her mind. When she broods she becomes quiet and she becomes detached so that it is as though she and the whole world are in very different places. You can try to connect with her when she broods but, until she is ready to be reached, you will never get through. If you try to force her before she is ready, it will be like hurling yourself against a brick wall,...

3 Oct 2012

Baby Joe’s House of Pain is the only boxing gym in Monrovia. From Broad St you walk through a doorway in what seems to be a large concrete wall. You walk down a narrow cobblestone passage where water is draining to the street and boys pay to play video games in an alcove beside you. You walk past a large one-room structure where there are ping pong tables and where the Taekwondo club practices on...

3 Oct 2012

We bought a motorbike at the end of August. It is a TVS Apache, which is an Indian brand, and goes for USD 1,550. I had visited a number of dealerships to check inventories and prices. I was looking for a Japanese dirt bike - a Honda or Yamaha or Suzuki. But they are USD 4,000 and above. We thought about what the resale value might be and probably it would be quite good but we decided that it was...

3 Oct 2012

It rains almost daily and, most days when it rains, it rains to soak everything. The soil is porous-sandy and the water table is high beside the ocean so when the rains stop the streets dry and the flooding recedes quickly. But always the air is humid. (As I write this, I stop to make a cup of coffee. When I reach for the tin of Nescafe I realize that I left the top off when I made coffee this mor...

2 Oct 2012

‘Hi!’ Jess says when she opens the hotel room door.


She smiles each time when she opens the door and sees that it is me returning from work. She smiles like she has not seen me in a long time and then she sort of tilts her head and bends one knee almost in a strange half-curtsy. I find that I have come to anticipate it - the smile and the wonderfully awkward half-curtsy - so that it taps the rewar...

2 Oct 2012

‘Now, you’re just going to walk the bike,’ I say.


It is a warm Sunday afternoon and the sky is mostly clear and it has not rained all day, which is very unusual for this time of year. The motorbike is black and yellow and a full day old with 6 kilometers from riding home from the ‘dealership’, which was just a small shop on Randall St.


It is a Sunday so the streets are very quiet but this is Jess’...

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