My travelling companion is sensibly a non smoker so the ashtray and I regularly touch base on the veranda. Little did I know this would give me an unfettered opportunity to observe Mr Putin. Smoking is still part of a Mediterranean lifestyle with Mr Putin and I both committed members of this club.
Consequently I am often to be found relaxing with a novel on the veranda; a lighter and a packet of cigarettes to hand. Plenty of opportunity to catch the eye of a passing neighbour. The distance between us, by which of course I mean the three metres or so gap between the houses, somehow seems close enough to feel the exhaled smoke as it sensually curls in the gentle breeze.
One evening after dining at home Virginia Woolf and I are having an intimate moment over her diaries. Over the ‘road’ Mr P is pottering, it is mid-week and he has eaten alone. Casually dressed his white t-shirt hangs pleasingly from his square shoulders; nothing stands in the way as it drapes to his thighs.
The navy shorts finish mid way between hip and knee; once stiff sail cloth now faded has softened sympathetically. Relaxed fabric reveals downplayed power in his strong tanned taut thighs. More football than rugby they are reassuringly capable. This man is in shape, not in a gym supported manner, more one who takes care of what he consumes. A regular imbiber of beer, both bottled and from the pumps installed on the patio, there is no shadow of over indulgence. Hidden agility is about to be displayed.
As I remember it, Mr P, you moved fluidly like liquid lightning, an ignited phosphorescent blue touch-paper; what you wonder ladies was the spark? Perhaps a sunbeam enhanced through glass with only a matter of time before fire is facilitated? Perhaps you should have moved the magnifying glass Mr Mayor? But no this is the dusky hours of early evening.
Through the shadows family celebrations float towards us; today someone is one year older. Mr P turns towards the sound of singing (somewhere behind where I am sitting). ‘Happy Birthday’ goes straight to his sculptured calf muscles, sinuses pumping with blood under pressure – a piston firing on all cylinders! Without warning Mr P is spurred into action. Running towards me I look up excitedly alarmed – wow it’s only been a couple of days; we hardly know each other! Seldom does my luck change so quickly! And with barely a degree of planning which for a trained strategic planner practically constitutes reckless abandonment!
Averting my gaze momentarily I stare dumbfounded as you whip passed me! The slipstream caught in my hair caress my cheek! Smiling I hear you joining in the celebrations, laughing convivially; temporarily part of the family. A couple of minutes Mr P saunters smilingly home without a glance. But still I had that brief moment imagining you filling the gap between my open arms. Another time perhaps Mr P.