EMULATING HEMINGWAY

EXTRACT


Dawn does not creep slowly over the bay. The sun rushes into its preordained time and place, full and fiery, to unselfconsciously brandish its heat and rays above the horizon. What was, but moments ago, a smudged line of seemingly inert indigo, has been transformed to a silvered mirror of countless facets. Each one becomes a thing of beauty and forms a living whole, as the ocean and its waves flow to momentarily capture the light or are turned away from it.

There are few who would disagree that the sea is a beautiful thing to behold, regardless of time of day, or season, or weather conditions. Nobody could concur anything other than that it holds and nurtures life, but there are few who would perceive and give voice to that the sea is a living entity in its own right. That, in itself, is their right, just as it is mine to understand and respond to life as I recognise it to be, in whatever form I conceive it to be. However, it is not something I would be prepared to argue about, attempt to persuade others to see from my perspective or condemn them for their lack of vision. My learning and experience as a professional person and a human being tell me to leave it be as a subject for discussion, that we are each and all different and the definition of ‘life’ – as every word, every idea - is entirely personal. I acknowledge this, even as another aspect of my self entertains a degree of pity for those who cannot see as I: for it is sight such as this, creates the true gulf between us. It is sight such as this, gifts to me the poet soul and lifts me, thankfully, away from the commonplace and humdrum, the conventional and the ordinary.

I do not say this from any thought or feeling of superiority. To the contrary, I am humbled and filled with gratitude and appreciation for this as, though a man with enough income to bring joy to the heart of the most avaricious of taxmen, it is in the ability to apprehend and esteem that beyond the visible and provable I am enriched. However, my good fortune does not end there, as I am also blessed with the means by which to actualise my perceptions and, thus, actualise my self. Successfully, as would be considered by the standards of the population in general, although not, until recently, as successfully as I would deem by my own for, blessed though I could be in the eyes of others, there are elements of darkness in me and in my life, as I have lived it and live it still. Just as there are for us all.

No traces of these are present. Not today. Today, they have been chased away by my champion. Today, it was an easy victory. They did not attempt to linger and fight. They did not bother to even challenge. They did not murmur, let alone argue their claim to exist. They merely disappeared with the coming of the morning light, simply conceded to melt away under the warmth of my hero, my greatest inspiration - the sun.

I sit on my terrace, as I do every morning when the weather permits, in my well-worn leather sandals and old green towelling bathrobe, to wait to greet the dawn. There is no loss of sleep for me in rising before the sun. At my age, with my habits, sleep is a thing of no more than a few hours of self-induced obliteration but, even if this were not so, my bladder would wake me and have me hobble to the bathroom, my balls aching badly until I can relieve my self. One way or the other. I can understand and even sympathise with women complaining about menstruation, but I have never known a woman's kind concerns for me, or any man, in pissing through an erection. The women I have bedded have, mostly, found the idea funny, if they have thought about it at all, although not many of them have been interested in that aspect of my penis.

Over the years, the number of women I have slept with has become exceedingly respectable. Or downright disgraceful. Depending on one's point of view. I don't think about it in terms such as these. Why would I? When I feel neither shame nor pride about my sexual activities. I like sex, have always had a very high sex drive and, just as so many other things in this, my life as one of fortune's favoured children, the opportunities to indulge myself have been plentiful. Even now. Even now, when other men are losing the impetus - or the necessary wherewithal - I still get a hard-on at least once a day and am more than capable of acting on it. Which I do. As often as I choose.

My doctor, Ted Andrews, doesn't entirely believe me when we have cause to refer to my libido. It must be difficult for him to do so. Although it is unusual, it is not unique for a man of my years to retain his full sexual abilities, so his problem with accepting the truth does not lie therein. What reduces its credibility, to his mind, is his knowledge of my lifestyle. However, though he may doubt me, he cannot completely ignore the stories that I know are repeated with relish at the endless round of the expatriate community's dinner parties and luncheons and soirees. As he attends almost all of these, and I am aware that my name comes up at sometime during many of them, he must have heard hundreds of tales and the variations of their themes over the thirty years I have lived here. I am, after all, one of the most colourful of characters in a place rife with colour, ripe with speculation - and ever hungry for gossip.

He will have heard. He will not have told. As a doctor and a man, Ted is discreet and respectful. As a friend, albeit one not intimate, he is also loyal. Way back, when I first arrived, I learned of his outrage at some of the scandalous talk about me that had begun to circulate. Recognising that there is a definite and unfavourable distinction between one libidinous and a libertine and that, though I may be the one, I am not the other, he all but begged me to allow him to speak in my defence at such times. An offer which was refused. I cared as little then about what others, except but a few, thought and said of me, as I do now.

Yet it wasn't only my dick-dipping that fostered, that continues to foster, such ill-intentioned talk about me. From the day I arrived, I consistently shunned joining our nice little high society, made up of, mainly, bitches and bores and nobody, especially those of such ilk, takes pleasure in rejection. My very independence from them made of me different - and difference is often difficult for us to handle. Added to this was the facet of mystery: no single person living locally knew who I was, or what I was, or what I was doing in the bay, or how I had made the money to bring me here. This, a very lack of information would have frustrated them no end, and frustration - of the emotional kind - so often leads to anger directed at that which frustrates. All this, all this, would have been fuelled by an apparent reason for their curiosity. Rather, by a series of apparent reasons: the regular rumoured appearance of some of the world's rich and famous – or both - at my villa, and their marked non-appearance in any of the bars or restaurants or casinos of the town for the week, or two, or month, they would remain with me.

Curiosity, it is said, kills cats. It is unfortunate that it does not have the same result on bitches. They, like me, are still here, though increasing in number, nosiness and nastiness, and one of my greatest pleasures is in knowing that I piqued their curiosity at its very peak. I retired. There were no more limousines reported after that, and our group of local, but foreign, gentlefolk never did learn the answers to their questions.

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