The house smelled damp as he walked in. She was in the bedroom, reading. Though it was getting dark, she was still wearing the tinted, rimless, Bolle glasses. She had a pretty, sharp-featured face and was wearing a short cotton skirt and a sleeveless linen blouse. Everything about her – the tasteful, expensive clothes, her calm dark eyes, shaded by the glasses, her slow quiet voice and easy logic – reflected a life in which there had always been enough money and time and room to move away from anything unpleasant. She had spent three months of the previous year in Cambodia and Laos, where a Montagnard shaman had read her aura.
“You will always have young lovers,” the shaman had told her.
A month after he had left the Army, they had decided to move in together and had rented the house by the beach in Wadduwa three weeks ago, at the beginning of December. Now it was the 31st — New Year’s eve.
The money he had saved in the Army was gone. He had drunk it up, given it away, spent it on taxis and trishaws. The house in Wadduwa had been good at first. He had been glad to be away from Colombo, where there was too much noise, too many people who didn’t pay attention, who talked too much and got in the way. In Colombo, he had provoked fights with strangers whose faces he couldn’t remember, and found himself sobering up in a bus or trishaw, trying to remember what he had done. He would finger the cuts on his faces or suck his skinned knuckles, and try to remember, bruised and hungover. When it did come back to him, he would try to forget again, glad to have got away and not be in jail. Two assault charges, one in the Fort, and the other in Mount Lavinia, were gathering dust in the inactive files of the two police stations, the ‘Suspect Information’ boxes empty except for the words “Male, 5’7″, 150-lbs, blk hair, dk t-shirt, blu jeans”. Another box on the forms queried ‘Weapons/force used’, and was filled in, “Hands & feet”. Continue reading
I don’t think anyone could sue me for that title, but strangely, the view from the Peacock’s second floor balcony isn’t the only reason to stay there. Having one of the best beaches in the world literally at your doorstep probably is. One of the first things that struck me when I visited the Peacock for lunch back in November was how much it reminded me of the International in Hikkaduwa, only better. International, before it became overpriced and the cook decided to have a joint before getting into the kitchen. One of the best features of the International was it’s great beach and the double-decker restaurant that overlooked it, but whereas in Hikka the arse-kicking waves are a fire-walking hundred-meter dash over blazing sand, in Unawatuna the water laps gently at your toes the moment you step off the Peacock’s raised restaurant terrace. In November, you could dangle your feet in the water if you sat on the edge of the terrace, but by December and January the sea had retreated a civilized ten to fifteen meters, which lets you have a table right on the beach if you prefer it. Continue reading