The Obligatory Sunset

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A fast, glorious, and punctual sunset is a perk of equatorial living. Once the sun starts its steep downward slide at 5.50pm there is barely time to prepare a rum and coke before it drops below the watery horizon. The sky, in its trail, turns scarlet, purple, pink, and the air fills with the heavy scent of ylang ylang. You stop everything you are doing to enjoy this spectacle for ten minutes. Then the light is switched off, the world goes away until dawn, and you continue with chopping onions, or playing solitaire or some such banal thing before going to bed and waking the following morning to find the light’s back on.

To my mind, this is infinitely better than sunsets in the more northerly northern hemisphere which are either scheduled ridiculously early, or drawn out to such a degree that people, compelled to make the most of the late evenings, become cold, tired and fractious, eventually abandoning their barbecues, to go inside to watch the X-Factor results.

I don’t like to think too much in case I can’t pull the line back in (especially here, alone, on the edge of so much space), however the drama of the setting tropical sun is conducive to deep thoughts. Many, many years ago, Fitz and I would sit on the steps of the house in the post-dip glow and discuss life and ambitions. Now when he’s here, we talk about the past.

He has more past than I do of course, but one thing we both puzzle over is the fact that no matter how far you travel, or remote you make your home; no matter how hard you try to do things differently, you still, in Fitz’s words, ‘end up with all the same shit.’

We have a good wry chuckle at this because he’s gone to a hell of a lot of trouble and sunk a fortune into drawing this conclusion. Obviously it’s something I’ll remember before I pack my bags and set off to see what’s around the next corner, when I live my life again.

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