The Rum Diary / Ромовий щоденник: vol 2

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Then I saw two figures clinging together near the reef. I recognized Yeamon

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and the girl who had come down with me on the plane. They were naked, standing in

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waist-deep water, with her legs locked around his hips and her arms around his neck.

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Her head was thrown back and her hair trailed out behind her, floating on the water

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like a blonde mane.

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At first I thought I was having a vision. The scene was so idyllic that my mind

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refused to accept it. I just stood there and watched. He was holding her by the waist,

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swinging her around in slow circles. Then I heard a sound, a soft happy cry as she

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stretched out her arms like wings.

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I left then, and drove back to Jesus Lopo's place. I bought a small bottle of

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beer for fifteen cents and sat on a bench in the clearing, feeling like an old man. The

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scene I had just witnessed brought back a lot of memories — not of things I had done

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but of things I failed to do, wasted hours and frustrated moments and opportunities

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forever lost because time had eaten so much of my life and I would never get it back.

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I envied Yeamon and felt sorry for myself at the same time, because I had seen him in

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a moment that made all my happiness seem dull.

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It was lonely, sitting there on that bench with Senor Lopo staring out at me

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like a black wizard from behind his counter in a country where a white man in a cord

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coat had no business or even an excuse to hang around. I sat there for twenty minutes

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or so, enduring his stare, then I drove back out to Yeamon's, hoping they would be

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finished.

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I approached the house cautiously, but Yeamon was yelling at me before I

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turned off the road. "Go back," he shouted. "Don't bring your working-class problems

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out here!"

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I smiled sheepishly and pulled up beside the patio. "Only trouble could bring

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you out so early, Kemp," he said with a grin. "What happened — did the paper fold?"

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I shook my head and got out. "I had an early assignment."

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"Good," he said. "You're just in time for breakfast." He nodded toward the hut.

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"Chenault's whipping it up — we just finished our morning swim."

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I walked out to the edge of the beach and looked around. Suddenly I felt an

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urge to get naked and run into the water. The sun was hot and I glanced enviously at

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Yeamon, wearing nothing but a pair of black trunks. I felt like a bill collector,

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standing there in a coat and tie, with my face dripping sweat and a damp shirt plas-

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tered to my back.

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Then Chenault came out of the house. I could tell by her smile that she

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recognized me as the man who had run amok on the plane. I smiled nervously and

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said hello.

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"I remember you," she said, and Yeamon laughed as I fumbled for something

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to say.

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She was wearing a white bikini and her hair fell down to her waist. There was

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nothing of the secretary about her now; she looked like a wild and sensual child who

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had never worn anything but two strips of white cloth and a warm smile. She was

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tiny, but the shape of her body made her seem larger; not the thin, undeveloped build

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of most tiny girls, but a fleshy roundness that looked to be all hips and thighs and

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nipples and long-haired warmth.

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"Goddamnit, I'm hungry," said Yeamon. "What about breakfast?"

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"Almost ready," she said. "Do you want a grapefruit?"

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"Damn right," he replied. "Sit down, Kemp. Stop looking so sick. You want a

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grapefruit?"

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I shook my head.

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