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'What if...'

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‘I thought so, with your fine complexion and tailored suit’. She leans closer. ‘I’m psychic you know.’ Normally, I don’t have time to converse, but she is intriguing and I need a distraction from work. ‘You have a good job.’

‘Yes and no… I get to meet interesting people. Some clients demand more time than others.’ I close my files and switch off my laptop. ‘What about you? Are you from India? I went there with a friend after finishing uni. It was part of our Asian trip. Indian women are stunning.’

‘Of course.’ Nayana smiles. ‘No, I’m half Sri Lankan and Pakistani. I get my looks from my Sri Lankan mother and have my father’s strong personality.’ Her hands are animated as she speaks, causing charms and faceted jewels from her bracelet to jangle. Heavy rings adorn her fingers. ‘I’m a jewellery designer. I’ve always loved sculptural forms and fashion. Studied in London. Greens Emporium was a client. There were many stores. I even had a sheik as a customer. Can you imagine having so many wives? How does a woman feel special?’ Her chatter reminds me of my ex. ‘Darling, I am happy to meet you. You are an attractive, young man with a girlfriend. Yes?’

My face heats up. ‘No.’

‘A recent break-up?’

I hesitate, then nod. ‘A month now.’

‘Ah, I know your pain.’

‘She wasn’t as serious as me.’

‘I think perhaps you work hard to forget her’. She points to my laptop. For a moment Nayana closes her eyes. Her fingers touch her brow. ‘Darling,’ she says brightly, ‘I see a career change… either a property developer or investment banker.’            

‘Really?’ I’m amused.

‘Money buys power and respect. Women love that in a man. Darling, I know. I married a developer. It was a long time ago. Unfortunately, there were problems in our marriage. I was one of his possessions—something to be paraded around and to produce offspring. He was always travelling. I was lonely and met someone else.’ There is a glint in her eye. ‘My husband left me and took our young son.’

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