Shattered Moon

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CHAPTER 17

We get back late. We spent the afternoon driving around inland, discovering lakes and undisturbed forests, passing luscious deserted areas and stopping for food in the middle of nowhere. I loved it! I loved the feeling of freedom, the colours, the odours, the wind in my hair, the smell of Kiri in front of me on the scooter. He has been proudly showing me around, explaining about the wildlife we have bumped into and parading me to the local people as his girlfriend. I like this term. I thought I had grown out of it once I reached thirty, but I much prefer it to my woman or my partner. It makes me feel younger, and that is exactly how I feel today. Young and full of life, loving every minute of it!

‘Thank you for a lovely day,’ I beam at him as I stiffly get off the scooter just outside the hotel. He removes his helmet, leans forward, puts his arm around my waist and pulls me to him. We kiss in the middle of the little road. Nobody is around. He puts his head on my chest and holds me tight, I lower my head toward his and inhale the scent of his hair. I love his smell. We stay like this for a while. It feels so nice, so intimate. I get a lump in my throat. I only have tomorrow left to spend with him and then we’ll be nine thousand kilometres apart. My eyes well up. I don’t want him to see me upset; I don’t really want to talk about how I feel just yet. We’ve had a good day, I want to keep the happy feeling with me.

’Okay, so I’ll get a quick shower and join you on the beach. Will you be at White Sands?’

‘Sure, I’ll see you there when you’re ready.’ He straightens up and pecks me on the cheek inhaling deeply. I smile to myself at this strange ritual. I grab my daypack and walk into the hotel. I hear the scooter leave. I miss him already.

The room is quiet. Cindy is clearly not here. I see a note on the patio table. Gone for dinner on the beach. Laters. C xx

I’m so glad she is happy. She plays hard to get and exudes confidence by the bucketful, but Cindy really needs a lot of tenderness. I know she would never admit it, but her biggest dream is to find a strong and gentle man to look after her and to give her all the love and affection she missed when she was growing up.

Cindy’s dad walked out on her and her mother when she was only nine. Cindy has never stopped thinking that it was her fault, that he walked off because she wasn’t good enough and had not cleaned the house as well as dad demanded of her every day. Of course, that wasn’t true. Everyone knew Cindy’s dad had been a womaniser in search of a lucky break. He thought he found it in Helen, her mum, but it was all smoke and mirrors. She pretended she came from money, while all she had was the paycheck from her petrol station job. He soon found out, but he first found out he was going to be a dad, so he stuck it out. And he did so for a lot longer than anyone would have thought. But the love for his little girl was not enough. He packed his bags and left. He occasionally sent Cindy a birthday or a Christmas card, but nothing much until ten years ago, when he resurfaced after all that time, presenting himself at her office unexpectedly. By the way he was looking admiringly around the place, it was clear all the interest he had was for his daughter’s wealth, not for her. Luckily, she had grown wise and hardened her heart. She invited him back into her life but built up defensive walls around herself. He is still in her life, but she calls the shots. Her mum has accepted that it’s Cindy’s decision what to do with her wayward dad, so after years of warning her, she dropped the subject altogether. Now, any mention of her dad is taboo between Cindy and her mum.

Over the years, she has only found a few men who could slip into the shoes she prepared for them. She wanted strong and emotionally balanced men, but most of them were scared of her determined independence and did not even try. A lot of them were not up to assert themselves against a beautiful, powerful, self-made woman with a clear path in mind, so they ran. The majority were discarded even before they could get a glimmer of hope. But beneath that self-controlled aloofness and dismissive superiority, Cindy is a fragile woman, only looking after herself because she believes that no one else would.

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