Time — 1am. “Am going to walk back home,” I tell my friend D. He nods. I set off.
I am in the lane next to Fidalgo, a hotel soon to have a casino. A man enjoys a sandwich in its all-night diner.
As I listen to Raga fusion on my headphones, it adds a surreal touch to the road. Dogs run, rest and rummage. Lonesome pubs and medical stores shine their neon lights.
Sleepy watchmen sit by brightly dressed mannequins. Watchmen talking on mobiles guard closed alcohol shops and jewellery stores. Surely there’s a connection.
I pass many boys on bikes, riding, returning, rejoicing being boys. Still no ladies.
There’s an ice-cream parlour open, the local kind. I know there’s one more, a foreign brand. I get the local one, pass the foreign and there’s the first lady of the night. She waits by the bike for a man to get her ice cream, ignoring me.
I pass a petrol pump with a lady on a bike — mask on. Thank you, Covid.
I reach home. The ice-cream has melted. But it was worth it — the walk by Fidalgo.