The first incident happened a couple of months into the year. Nina, of all people, approached him after class and said, “tu eres el hombre mas apetecible del mundo.” In other words, that he was “appetizing,” in fact the most appetizing man “in the world.” Like certain fruits. Edward was speechless. As he blushed, Nina smiled, unwrapped her skirt, slowly turned, and walked away. She was wearing gym shorts. All the girls were in their shorts: it was gym period. But when she turned her head to look back, no longer smiling but with her eyes very wide open and lips parted, Edward was . . . stirred.
She got out at the next stop before I’d had a chance to pick my chin up off the floor. Then I heard that unfiltered voice inside my head say, ‘Goddamn, idiotic woman!’
I was born on 9th September 1966.
So, ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses and let’s drink a toast to Leon and to the success of his new book.’
‘Keep the change,’ she told the cab-driver, her buoyant mood unaffected by his crabbiness. He had kept up a peevish monologue most of the way, irritated, apparently, by the traffic, London in general and Boris Johnson in particular.
When did you develop a taste for reading – where and what would you read?
I have taken to going for morning runs with my housemate Rita. She is a superfit West Coaster with a lithe athlete's body. I am a flabby Londoner with a penchant for cheese and ale. Ibiza, I have come to understand, does not tolerate excess flesh and our route along Talamanca Beach takes us past rows of bronzed babes in bikinis, with tits that would have Newton refuting his own theory. Whilst I long ago abandoned the idea of ever being one of these pneumatic RoboBarbies I still believe that a little bit of exercise is probably a good thing as long as I know there's a slice of cake waiting for me at the end of it.
To anyone’s eyes he was a beautiful boy, with his sensual mouth and luminous white smile. His dark brown eyes that glanced over her body with lazy, endless appetite. His body was sculpted from playing tennis, a sport he practised avidly in his own country, which he had described to her as a place with clear blue waters, tall palms and white sands. Most of all perhaps, it had been his fine form and aura of sound health that had lured her into his bed. Healthy body and healthy mind, she had thought, imagining his psyche to be something like the landscape he was born in, with nothing ruined or defiled there, everything natural, wide open and warm.
At the front of the plane, the curtain was drawn across the galley as the crew chatted comfortably in the small space. Or so the passengers thought. In fact, flight attendants Carl and Andrea were having quick, quiet and furious sex in the corner, oblivious of the other attendants at the back of the plane. Occasionally Andrea reached up to turn a lock, and open a microwave door, slamming it shut, so that passengers thought the flight attendants were busy working.
A scruffy buzzard perches on the ‘welcome’ sign in the small Highland town of Grantown on Spey, its head angled down and sideways. Its one visible eye peers into my own, a bright pulse of contact as I drive by, and as a result of this I feel expected. I have made a reservation in the same hotel where our family holidayed each summer, although it is decades since I was last here. I have no idea what I will find, and am relieved to discover that the hotel is almost unchanged. The croquet lawn at the back has gone, and new houses fill its place; the gravel drive now forms an ordered car park. But there is still a glass case on the writing desk in the lobby where a – perhaps diminished - variety of hand tied fishing flies bristle, iridescent, over their hooks.