I decided to spend a day, or so,
with father and his latest lover, hoping he might buy me some new clothes and, maybe, let me have fifty thousand rupees to
Nadia was twenty, very beautiful, and looked after father like a proper wife. I liked her and thought,
maybe, he was really serious, and might even end up marrying her.
only five or six years, older than me would be fun, and there would be children, half-brothers, or, and, half-sisters. This
time he didn’t make any pretense about Nadia being a maid, and, she told me, they openly showed affection toward each
other in public.
It was okay; he was a widower, still only forty-five years old, had a very good, and prestigious, job, earning well over twenty
five thousand rupees a month, with several hundred thousand in savings, and even more invested, and in a country where the
average worker is earning less than two thousand rupees a month, he was comparatively well-off, content, and seemed very much
in love with her.
Nadia seemed, at the very least, pleased to be with him; he was a good catch, she wanted
children and was fun to be with, and she had a very placid nature.. We talked about things; boys, being radical, my writing,
and the future. She wasn’t sure about the wisdom of being radical, at least, not so it would be noticed,
but, said, it could be tolerated, within certain limits, in the very young, as if she herself wasn’t young anymore.
Nadia wasn’t at all possessive, and, so long as it wasn’t too blatant, or discussed openly, Father having sex
with other girls he knew from the Casino, could also be tolerated. He was a happy man, fortunate to have found such a woman,
and I was hopeful about getting what I wanted.
I told Nadia about Jack, and she was fine with it, but warned me, Father might not be, and not to give it away too easily,
or for too little; and he probably was better for me, she said, than the crowd I was already running around with. They were
dangerous, no-hope, types, and I would, maybe, end up either in serious trouble, or waste my early and most valuable years
She was speaking, she said, from personal experience, and she was lucky she’d found such a good man in my father. I
told her that Jack had already suggested sex, but for spiritual development, and creativity. She said, be cautious, because
men, as I already knew, were likely to say anything to get me into bed, but not to let that stop me from having fun either.
It was a balancing act, she said, give and take, just be sure I wasn’t giving more than I was getting, and don’t
take more than I was giving. I said, okay, and did she think father might let me have fifty thousand rupees to play Blackjack.
Yes, she said, he might, if he thought it was for education, such as training to be Senior Staff in a Casino, or funding
to try and make it as a writer, for a couple of years.
‘Really?’ I asked her.
Father was interested in writing, and had helped me find the best writers, with something worthwhile to say, and had encouraged
me, from an early age, to write my own stuff.
‘I think he wants to get you doing something …’ Nadia said ‘Not just one of the Lost Generation …’
‘Has he talked to you, about me?’ I asked her.
'Yes …’ she said ‘I think I can help you get money from him’
‘Why would you do that?’ I asked.
‘Because he can afford it, and I want you to be happy, as I am’
I kissed her.
‘Thanks …’ I said.
…’ she looked at her watch ‘He’ll be home in just over an hour …’ she smiled mischievously
at me ‘And I want you to tell me all about Jack'
Nadia loved romance, although this
wasn’t one, as yet, and, I told her, there was no reason to suppose it would ever be a romance.
‘Dion …’ her eyes widened, in surprise.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘You’re already in love with him …’ she said ‘Any woman can tell. Mark what I’m saying.
Before the week is out, you’ll be in bed with him …’
Father, of course, was excited to
see me, and thrilled I was getting on so well with Nadia.
‘Isn’t she the most beautiful woman in the whole world …’ he hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek,
in front of me ‘Next to your mother, of course …’
Nadia laughed, and kissed him.
‘Of course …’ she said, and nodded at me ‘But watch out for this one’
Nadia had cooked a beautiful, and
There was no maid.
Father surveyed the feast with unabashed admiration for his lover.
at that …’ he told me ‘You see what an artist your future step-mother is …’
Nadia looked, wide-eyed, at him.
‘Is that a public proposal of marriage?’ she asked.
Father chuckled, and started to help himself, then looked at me.
‘And how are your … radical friends?’ he asked.
I shook my head.
‘Not radical enough …’ I said ‘I think they’re mostly just angry. Being poor doesn’t make
you radical … just resentful’
Father nodded, approvingly, and looked at Nadia.
‘We’ve got a smart girl here …’ he said.
‘I know …’ Nadia said, and then looked at me ‘What are your plans, Dion …’ she was giving
me the opening to state my case ‘Are you still writing?'
‘Yes …’ I said.
‘What?’ Father asked, interested.
‘Well …’ I said ‘I want to write a Diary …’ I looked at Nadia for support ‘You know
… like Anais Nin …’
‘Wow!’ Nadia said ‘That should be interesting’ she looked at Father ‘Don’t you think so?’
Father looked at me. I knew what he was thinking.
‘Don’t panic …’ I told him ‘It’s just a Diary,
and, if it’s ever published, it won’t be, until after you die’
‘Thanks heavens for that …’ he said ‘What will you call it?’
not sure yet …’ I said ‘Maybe something like … the adventures of a young girl …’
believe Anais Nin wrote her diaries over something like sixty years …’ Nadia said, to reassure Father, then to
me ‘It’ll give you the freedom to try out different methods …’
…’ Father said ‘Yes, and a direction …’ he smiled at me ‘We might have a famous author
in the family yet …’
I’m certain we will …’ Nadia said, then looked at Father ‘Now … getting back to this proposal
of marriage …’
I helped Nadia clear away the plates,
and dishes, and wash up, while Father sat in the lounge, reading the papers.
…’ I said ‘You two really are going to marry?’
so …’ she said ‘Are you all right with that?’
I hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek.
know you’ll make each other very happy …’ I said ‘So, I’m happy’
‘Thanks …’ Nadia said
Nadia had got my room ready.
liked being a housewife, she said, instead of hiring a maid to do everything. It was more personal, and, anyway, what would
she do all day?
stood at the bedroom window and looked down at the crowded street.
really felt like Anais Nin, as if, somehow, her spirit, her joy of living, her welcoming heart, open to whatever life might
bring, was here, with me, in the room.
she spoke exactly like Jack.
‘When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make it tolerable for others. We don’t see things as they
are, we see things as we are’
she described my feelings, about Jack, perfectly.
‘I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me,
who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me na´ve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me
like a woman’
Nadia was right.
I was in love with him.
I wrote easily, close to the open
window, hearing all the hard-edged sounds people make gradually soften, as the velvety night covered them in soft dark folds,
and carried them away, leaving behind a silence, and a stillness, deep as an ocean.
I was almost three years old when mother died; we were living in a huge house in the beautiful Kulu Valley, North India, with
nine bedrooms, only five of them ready, with a wonderful view of snow-capped mountains, forests, and there were pear and apple
trees in the front garden, some of them so close to the house, you could reach out from a bedroom window and pluck a pear
or an apple, in season, from a tree …
Dawn was breaking, and the first
sounds of another day started, quickly joined by many, when I finally closed my notebook, laid down, on a very comfortable
bed, with my head on my hand, and let the soma of happy exhaustion have its way with me.
I dreamed my dream of love; I dreamed my dream of freedom; I dreamed my dream of joy; I dreamed my dream of self-discovery,
and I dreamed my dream of wild lust, of feminine power, of sexual conquest, on my comfortable bed, with my head on my hand.
It was afternoon, bright sunshine
streamed into the room, and the cacophony of the day assailed my ears, when Nadia finally put her head in and said she thought
it was time for me to get up, shower, have breakfast, although it was well after lunch, because Father was coming home early
today, and planned on having a family conference.
always meant something of importance.
he say what?’ I asked her.
yes …’ she smiled at me, and then went out.
Father was in a serious mood, and
Nadia did her best to look equally serious.
seem to have the idea that weighty topics demand a very serious demeanor, and are often irritated by levity in females on
had put on my best, very serious, look.
cleared his throat, which was often the signal of important things to come.
was all ears and straight face.
‘I have formally asked Nadia to be my wife’ Father began ‘She has
graciously accepted my proposal. We are, therefore, officially engaged to be married’
I said ‘Congratulations … both of you’
…’ Father went on ‘We are planning to return to India and open the house in Manali'
I asked ‘I thought …’
relaxed, as he’d obviously got over the worst.
been almost twelve years’ he said ‘There’s nothing left in the house to remind me, and it’s time I
stopped living my life in reverse’
…’ Nadia said ‘We want you to choose. Come with us … or stay here’
you’re not old enough to legally own this apartment’ Father said ‘You can live in it, with hired help, and
touched Father’s hand.
we could make a reasonable monthly income available to you …’ Nadia said ‘You could live where you like
… if you choose not to come with us’
see they’d discussed this at length, and the only thing in the house in Manali to remind Father of mother, would
thousand rupees isn’t enough’ Father said ‘It would go in no time at all. So, I propose ten thousand rupees
every month, until you are eighteen …’ he grinned, finally ‘A writer should suffer a little, but not too
expression was encouraging me to take it, pursue my dream, go get my man, live my own life, be free.
was not going to debate the monthly allowance.
was either, take it, when it’s offered, or come with us.
‘Take your time’
Father said ‘Think it through …’
Father had gone back to work.
was in my room; Nadia knocked softly, and came in.
sorry he was so brusque …’ she said ‘But that’s your father. I would have liked it to have been gentler’
all right …’ I said ‘I know what he was thinking. I wouldn’t want him looking at me every day for
the rest of his life, and seeing mother …’ I smiled at her ‘Ten thousand rupees a month, for the next four
years, isn’t so shabby either …’
and see us whenever you can’ she said ‘Keep in touch’
will’ I said ‘Take good care of him’
I arrived at Casino Everest late
the next morning; Jack was playing alone, and saw me. I went over, hugged him, for the very first time, and told him
I was sorry I hadn’t come before but I was staying with my dad, who lived a long way away, and how had he been
said he’d won something like twenty-eight thousand dollars, which was exceptional, even for a professional card counter,
when Casinos had so many effective and sophisticated counter-measures to prevent card counting, and would I like to learn
card counting today?.
said, yes, and, as it turned out, it wasn’t as complicated as I’d imagined; quite simple, and easy, really, at
least it was the way Jack explained it, then he took hold of my hand, leaned close to me, and asked if I was ready.
knew what he meant, and I said, yes, picked up my purse, and my chips, and we left the Casino, walked up the hill, hand in
hand, like lovers, into the hotel, and took the elevator to the second floor.
the elevator, he kissed me, on the mouth, and I reciprocated, and lay my head on his chest.
hotel room was really nice, five star of course, and we lay on the bed, fully dressed, cuddling and kissing, and then Jack
pulled up my top and kissed my nipples.
moved away, jumped off the bed and pulled the open curtains closed, then grabbed a blanket off the bed.
are you doing?” Jack asked me.
undressed in the bathroom” I said.
You’ve closed the curtains, and we’re on the second floor’ he said ‘Who can see you?”
can” I told him, and went into the bathroom.
Even though I’d been expecting it, wanting it, even, it was always scary, the first time with someone new.
I came out of the bathroom, naked, with the blanket wrapped around me, up to my chin, Jack was already in bed, so I told
him to close his eyes.
did, and I dropped the blanket, and got into the bed, very fast.
Jack kissed me, his hands touching me under the blanket, and whispered sweet things
in my ear, telling me there was no hurry, and, even if we didn’t do much this time, it was all right.
was nice of him, and he meant it too; we just cuddled, for a while, and talked about sex, in general, and tantric sex, in
particular, it’s history, purpose, and benefits, and we laughed at some of the experiences he’d had, and
the crazy things boys did, and said, to get me in bed, until I was totally relaxed, and comfortable, with
was almost dark when we did it, the sheet pulled over our heads like children, and he knew it wasn’t my first time,
or second, or third, and we laughed about that.
‘How do you know?’ I asked him ‘I didn’t see any eyes on the end of your cock.’'
When we came out of the hotel and
started to walk down the hill to the Casino we saw folk taking photographs of the night sky; there was a crescent moon with
a bright star in the crescent, the sky perfectly clear, and the moon and star brilliant.
I said “Isn’t that beautiful?” I put my arm around his waist “It’s a sign” I told him