Friday, 19 March 2010


"You feel today sir?" I look around accepting the proffered towel. The words bounce around in my heat dazed head. Who said them? Where did they come from? What do they mean?

I blink to try and arrange my thoughts, I hope this action at least buys me some time. The lights are on but nobody is at home just yet, the aircon in the foyer assaults me like a tsunami would if i stood before it along the shore. Without moving a hair on my head it's bashing the last bit of life out of me. The same life force that got me back here.

I have been on remote the past half an hour. My mind had shut down, overheated. My body was left out along the pavement somewhere. Somehow, something took control and through the maze of wrong side driving, bizarre traffic rules and the furnace that is day time in Siem Reap I got back to my hotel, my oasis.

I had been perched on the back of a small motorbike, my knees were up around my ears, thank goodness they can still go that far. This cool damp towel feels good on the back on my neck. What was it the girl had said? It didn't sound right, or did it. I rubbed the cool damp towel along the length of one arm and back down the other.

"Yes" It crocked out. Immediately I hated the way that sounded. Was it a question she asked or a statement? I wasn't sure. I rubbed my neck again with the towel using it to bide more time while life seeped back in through the cracks. I was aware of the staff looking at me there in the hotels entrance. The door men, the concierge, the receptionist, the two musicians across the expanse of the foyer who played music by rote and let their eyes dance around the foyer for amusement and especially the girl with the silver tray full of the cool damp towel. I didn't care, nothing mattered anymore I was back and I was just wallowing in the cool hotel foyer.

"Yes" I repeated, though this time with timbre and direction, "I feel everything today, thanks for asking"  I hand back the towel. I glance around the expanse of the foyer, I look at the girl with the silver tray of hand towels, I smile and move deeper into the hotel.

Cambodia is outside and I, for the moment, am safe in here.

1 comment:

Spencer Collins said...

Ano, that is a beautiful piece of writing, you have set a scene reminiscent of exotic detective stories. Brilliant!