There were a few pats of rain before breakfast and it’s still grey in the sky and sultry – but only a bit, without ominousness or tension. It’s just as though a shade is half-down on the town. The door to our balcony is open and the fan above me turns lazily, and that’s one of my favourite things in the tropics, a slow turning fan. If I concentrate on the filmy curtains half drawn across the doorway, I notice them stir minutely every three or so rotations. I sit, I gaze, there is little movement in my field of view beyond the curtains, just sleeping boats tethered in the river, houses and buildings and not many moving cars. It’s a time to be still, and listen to the morning sounds: hum of the air-conditioning unit next door. Screeches and warbles of the local birds, who I don’t know yet. Surely some of them must be parrots, they screech so.
Yesterday I drove Hayden out to the refinery to pick up his uniforms, his hard hat and his new boots. As we stood waiting at the security gate, I watched the workers coming out at the end of their shift – hard, red, shiny faces, jeans and boots and grimy green work shirts, men and women. I was never more of a seven-year-old girl dressed in a party frock. My hair was scraped into a high perky pony-tail and I felt so pasty soft and white. Perhaps I should just get a job, any one, but you know what? I’m just not quite ready for that. Not yet.