Sylvia looked at the moon, a smudged coin disappearing in a cloudy sky. It would rain soon, probably before morning. That didn’t matter: she planned to be safe in bed by then. Tomorrow night, she was going north, but tonight – tonight was hers. Tonight was an ice-cubed whiskey in a heavy glass. The fish? No, the beef — with scallops to start and a wine so red it turned black on her tongue. Then coffee and honey-wet pastry, sticky and sweet, and a hotel bedroom key. It was a night of boat neck shoulders, cuff length sleeves and a tight walk hemline. It was a night of long jewelry earrings that touched her throat, a dancing emerald ring and tall heels. It was a night that men and their women noticed her when she walked in, watched her sit down and wondered who she was there for. It was a night of little tongue candles that made licking shadows. A night of dim shaded faces and intimate reflections. It was a night of eyelashes and lipstick and deep silver fingernails. It was a night breathing with seduction.
Once, a few years ago, when she was much younger, she’d brought a man to a night like this. He was a handsome European with diplomatic immunity and a coming career. He spent the evening trying to recruit her into his bed, like a qualified negotiator. The evening faded and finished, and Sylvia walked away. Unfortunately, a couple of days later when Sylvia didn’t call, he came looking for her and ended up meeting Mirac in an underground carpark. Since then, Sylvia kept these nights to herself.
On the other side of the moon, Karga was reading a bedtime story to his two sons, Mustafa and Taavi. It was a tale of a reluctant thief and a clever slave girl, Morgiana, who made him rich. He read parts in English so his boys would get to know the words. And when he was done, he went downstairs, drank tea with his wife and waited for the rain.
Sylvia raised her glass to where the moon should have been. And all alone in a crowded restaurant, she touched her lips to the cold glass, drank, and waited for the warmth of the whiskey.