Thursday, December 08, 2011


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset) Monday, 19 September, 2011

CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I. Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011



MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)




The late-evening sunset had become a spectacular display of orange and crimson colours as the two perspiring players finally walked off the tennis court and made their way to the poolside bar. Both of their faces, streaked with the clay-soiled sweat of the game, showed the strain of the intense exercise. Little was said as they quickly ordered and swallowed a glass of iced lemonade.
“Would you like to sit down out here for a while to cool off, Caroline?” Diego Rios asked.
“Sure,” Caroline Mara replied.
“What would you like to drink?” he asked.
“A gin and tonic please, Diego. Lime not lemon. Loads of ice please,” she said winking at the attentive bartender before moving to a table that overlooked the seafront. Directly ahead of her at the water’s edge, two small children, finally free from the day’s heat, danced with excited shouts in and out of the small waves that lapped against the sand. Their mother, heavily pregnant, watched over them anxiously, and called out whenever they waded out too far. Further along the beach a few barefoot couples were taking a day’s end walk on the warm golden sands of the shoreline.
“When Vincente told me that you played tennis, he never said how good you were Caroline,” Rios said as he joined her with their drinks.
“Thank you Diego. Both for the compliment and the gin,” she smiled. You’re no mean hand yourself.”
“I thought so but it’s a long time since I have had such a hard match. I do not like to be beaten.”
“By a woman you mean?”
“By anybody!” he laughed.
“Where is gallantry gone?” Caroline asked as she took him in. His blonde hair was matted down against his temples and he looked a good deal older after the exertion.
“Its funny you should say that, Caroline, as I had fully intended to let you win. As part of a well-executed charm offensive I was going to play hard but not too hard. However, it was soon apparent that I was in a more than equal contest and my survival instincts took over. All that preparatory effort in brushing my hair and teeth swept aside by that forehand of yours.”
“I like a man who is not a complete hostage to his vanity,” Caroline laughed as she called the waiter; her first gin and tonic had quickly followed the way of the lemonade. She turned back to look at Rios, an inquisitive smile on her face. “Is the charm offensive over, then?”
“Does it offend you?” he asked, a little taken aback by her directness.
“What woman or person, for that matter, could be offended by charm?” she replied a little distracted by a couple on the beach as they shared a lingering, passionate kiss.
“I would not want to take advantage of a beautiful woman on her own in a foreign country.” Rios flashed a tooth-filled smile.
“Thank you again for another compliment, Diego but you should give ‘us’ women more credit than that. Most of us can see through men, charming or otherwise, before they even get a so-called offensive off the ground. If a woman allows herself to be taken advantage of, as you put it, then it is a matter of choice not inevitability.”
“That is not my experience, at least not here in Mexico at any rate. Women here are taken advantage of,” he said haughtily.
Caroline’s attention was diverted again as the young couple she had watched kissing on the beach passed by close to their table. She smiled up at the girl who grinned back at her and Caroline continued to watch as the couple walked towards the hotel, their hips pulled close together by fondling hands deep in each other’s back pockets. Diego moved in his chair in an agitated fashion. Spoilt, she thought. “I’m sorry, Diego. I was distracted by young love. I heard what you said but, whose fault is that? There is a difference between victims and equals. In choosing victims as a target for your charms you become an oppressor not a liberator of passion,” she said as she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand.
Rios stood up suddenly and went back to the bar where he filled his towel with ice-cubes. Returning to the table he offered it to Caroline who removed one, to press against her neck. Rios watched as the melted water flowed in a steady stream downwards into the cleavage of her breasts and smiled contentedly as he noticed that her nipples, still partially engorged from the exercise, become fully erect beneath a thin cotton shirt, in response to the ice-cold water. “Are you a woman of passion, Caroline?” he asked as he wrapped the ice-filled towel around his neck.
“Yes, I can be. Depends on the stimulus though.”
“What? The man you are with?”
Caroline laughed as she wiped off the last drops of ice water from her neck and upper chest with her towel. “Why ever would I confine it to the sometimes limited stimulus of a man? My passions can be ignited by friendship, loyalty, disloyalty, work, a miscarriage of justice, even the desire to win a tennis match.” It was all very true, she thought.
“So I noticed. Are you married, Caroline?”
“Why do you ask Diego?”
“I was just wondering how any one man could sustain the energy to quench all those fires of your passions.”
“I’m married, yes. Are you?” The Mexican was pushing a bit too hard, she thought and became a little defensive. Yesterday’s conversation with Michael had left her with an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Sure, she had expected his reaction to the Alpanna offer but there was something else, something that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. The parameters were being shifted. She knew that her own changing had begun some time previously, around the same time that she took up the offer of work with the Bureau. Perhaps Michael was just catching up and given time they could sort it out. As she looked at Rios, sipping his chilled martini, she did not think there had been any undue malice or condemnation in his observation but she was not yet prepared to open up to him, a stranger.
“No. Not any more,” he replied as he looked at his watch. “Well not for . . . Let’s see, the last fourteen days at any rate.”
“What happened?”
“Her lawyer, who incidentally was English-trained, summed it up as disinterest, disloyalty, distrust, disillusion, dismay, disgust, disdain and divorce. In that sequence.”
“Was it true?” she probed.
“Yes and no. I am no saint but . . . You know how these things are? Half-truths and half-lies. At the end it is a trade off.”
“And how do you feel about it now, Diego? The divorce?” Caroline thought that there had been a genuine sense of hurt in his voice and she found herself responding to its hint of injustice. She was not sure however whether this was because he had lost his wife or that he had lost the battle.
Rios’ forehead became a map of lines as he pushed up his eyebrows with the tips of his fingers. “I could add two more words. Disaster and disembowelment! I have been cut off from my children. Do you have children, Caroline?”
“No. What ages are yours?”
“My son, Tomas, is nine and little Maria is four.”
Caroline saw that his eyes reddened a little as he quickly brought his towel up to wipe his forehead again. She waited for him to finish. “It must be very difficult when children are involved?”
“You are very lucky, Caroline. The desire to protect them impairs rational judgements.” Rios swallowed hard and immediately put his hand up and clicked his fingers to get the waiter’s attention. “Would you like another drink?”
“I don’t think so. I’m already feeling a little woozy.”
“Woozy! What is that?”
“Mildly drunk. Not fully in control of myself.”
“Hey! So what! This is Mexico. You can sleep it off later. I’ve never had such a good-looking, or understanding, padre confessor before and I don’t want you to go.” Rios laughed out loud.
Caroline blushed. “Well! When you put it so charmingly, how could I refuse? One more drink and then, I must go. I have to telephone my husband and prepare my notes for tomorrow.”
“Where is your husband?”
“In Spain. At a conference.”
“What’s his name?”
The drinks arrived and Diego signed the chit while the waiter cleared the used glasses. Caroline offered to pay but he would have none of it.
“That’s a strange coincidence,” Rios said.
“What’s strange, Diego?”
“The two of us here. My wife’s . . . my ex-wife’s name is Michaela.”

Caroline said nothing as she turned to watch the sun finally set below the horizon. The sky became dark quite quickly, the twilight a very brief interlude to the coming night. She shivered slightly and Rios attentively stood up and placed the jacket of his tennis tracksuit around her shoulders. His hands lingered on her shoulders a little longer than she thought absolutely necessary but did not object. The fingers were no longer cold or lax in the pressure they exerted. She turned her head slightly to look up at him. “Diego, I really must go. It’s getting cold and I need a shower.”
“Sure, me too. That red clay gets everywhere!” He lifted his hands off her shoulders and walked back to his side of the table. Lifting the martini glass he swallowed the contents in one quick movement before looking directly at her and speaking in a soft voice. “Caroline?”
“Would you have dinner with me tonight?”
She stood up, and a little unsteadily picked up her racquet from the ground. She handed him back his tracksuit top. “I don’t know. Some of the others are heading into La Paz to eat. They want me to go and make a night of it, on the town with them. I said I would think about it but I’m not sure that I want to. I think I might just have a sandwich in my room.”
“Listen, Caroline. Have your shower and get some rest. I will ring you at . . . say nine o’clock. If you are still here and you feel hungry, have dinner with me. If not, I will see you tomorrow afternoon.”
She looked at him. “I won’t be here tomorrow afternoon Diego. I have to be back in LA by then. I am doing the morning session and catching a flight at midday.”
“So soon. That’s a great shame. I am unable to come to the morning session and therefore it is even more of a reason why we should have dinner tonight. Think about it, Caroline. Please!”
“I will, but no promises. Thanks for the tennis game. I really enjoyed it.”
“My pleasure. Until nine then.”

Caroline walked into the hotel, and already regretted the three quick gins taken on an empty stomach. It was only as she returned her racquet back to the receptionist that she realized she had left her room-key on the table by the bar. Returning back to the poolside she saw that Diego was still sitting there. His back was to her and he was talking animatedly into a cell-phone. She touched him gently on the shoulder as she reached the table. Rios, instantly irritated by the intrusion, twisted sharply to glare up at her while she leant forward to retrieve the key not unlike the earlier incident she had observed at the meeting when he had flared up at Miguel Montana. His eyes flashed coldly until he realized who had disturbed him and then hastily softened. Caroline was annoyed by his reaction and held up the key and dangled it in front of him. “Did another bloody football match go against you then, Commander? I just happened to forget my key. I’m so sorry to have disturbed you,” she said sarcastically before turning on her heel and walking away from the table.
Diego Rios abruptly terminated his conversation and closed the flap of the cell-phone. He got up and rushed to run around in front of her. With waving arms, he tried forcing an exaggerated and apologetic smile as he shuffled backwards ahead of her. “I am so very sorry, Caroline. Please forgive me. You caught me off guard.” He pointed to his phone. “Idiot subordinates. Incompetent fools, all of them. I cannot be gone for one day and they botch things up.”
“It’s not enough of a justification to take your anger on out me,” she said sharply.
“I know. I am so sorry. Please stop for a moment and let me try and explain to you,” he pleaded.
“Be quick.” She stopped.
“A problem has arisen and my second in command now needs me to sort it out. It was his incompetence that was the cause of the problem in the first place and I’m so sorry that my hot-tempered reaction has ruined a wonderful afternoon and the new friendship between us.” He brought his hands together as if in prayer, moving them up and down to emphasise his atonement.
“Do you have to go somewhere?” she asked.
“No,” he almost shouted as he pressed her hands between his. “Well, not until tomorrow at any rate, thankfully. I would not pass up on the possibility of having dinner with you Caroline, even if the US suddenly invaded Mexico. It is still a possibility, I hope, dinner that is?”
Caroline smiled. “Perhaps. Depends on how the war goes. Ring me at nine and I’ll see how I feel.”
“Thank you, Caroline. I am so happy.” He stood back to let her pass and she was nearly at the door of the hotel when she turned around to look back at him.
“Oh, Commander Rios,” she was aware of the hotel porter watching her.
“If, and it’s a big if, we do have dinner we are not going to discuss football. Ok!”
“I promise,” he called back.

Rios waited for Caroline to disappear out of sight before he extracted and then dialled a number on his cell-phone. There was a look of relief on his face as he spoke.

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