I’m drawn to old ducks like Judith, somehow. Their kind of life can happen to anyone, and it’s best to be prepared. From her eagerness it seemed as though she was more or less alone, and didn’t want to be. It smelt like divorce.
If you know about the Barro hotel, you make sure to visit as often as you can. Its shabby grounds are curtained by a stubborn row of pine trees that screen guests from the streets of Addis Ababa; a city that everyone is sick of by nightfall. I was at home in a discussion among regulars, when I saw him walk over to me. Even though I was in good company, it was a little frightening, because I thought we’d said goodbye for good.
I had plans to go to Cairo, and then, who knows. R had been calling his mother more than usual lately. All I gleaned from their long, emotional, Spanish conversations was that he’d been asking her for money. It wasn’t clear that she had any to give. As far as I knew he had $50 USD left, which probably wouldn’t even get him back to Cape Town if he needed to split.