After a few beers, confidences would be shared at Jaware. Our correspondent recalls an unusually soul-searching, romantic coming-of-age tale recounted by a friend.
As my friend recounted the events following the departure of his oilman friend and his girlfriend, which left their beautiful young companion in his care, he began to look slightly agitated. I had been under the impression, at the beginning of the story, that he would be gloating under the glitter of yet another conquest over which he held bragging rights without limit.
But he began to look shifty when the end of the story seemed to be rearing its head. Did I detect a sign that he might want to leave the story unfinished?
I wasn't going to give him that pleasure, however, for there is nothing more pleasant than watching a man who thinks highly of himself being brought down by his own words.
I knew my friend wouldn't lie blatantly to me about his afternoon. But his demeanour suggested he might slash a bit out of the economic weight of the story if I wasn't careful. So I short-circuited the path to the truth by steering him to the veracity route with a blunt query: "Was she as good as she looked?"
"But I would never have reached telling you that!" he blurted out! "Have you no respect for the sacred relationship between a man and a woman?"
"What?!" I interjected. "When did you become a prude?"
"No! I am no prude, but there are limits."
His agitation became even more pronounced. I'd never seen him like this before. What HAD happened, for God's sake, I wondered. Aloud, though, all I could say was: "Ei, you seem to have been taught some philosophy by the encounter?"
"Oh, I sure was--rather! I mean, I got on so well with her. We drank; we told jokes; 1 even managed to brush a hand against her knee, whilst pretending to have become over-excited by the jovial story I was telling her. You know--body language doesn't lie.
"If she'd given any sign of recoiling at my touch, I would have got the message. But she didn't remove her knee. Nor did she give the impression that my hand was lingering a bit. No! And I was so elated by that."
My friend paused at this stage. I was dying of curiosity, but I realised all might be lost if I rushed him. He seemed to be on the verge of telling me an extraordinary story. And I sensed it would be worth listening to, because unlike the usual Jaware stuff, he wasn't telling it to brag, but seemed to be genuinely analysing the event as much for himself as for me...