>SOMETHING MORE THAN A FEELING

>My neighbour M. had four wives. All of them were installed in different towns around the state and none of the wives knew of any of the other wives’ existence. When he explained this to me for some reason I pictured missile silos, those big dull grey concrete slab doors sliding open in the earth. We were at a fete, at a primary school just across the street from where we lived, though neither of us had any children. This fact made me slightly uncomfortable. I was fairly new to the area and M. and his wife had dragged me along. They said they went every year. To be honest M. distressed me. He was forty, quite athletic and usually dressed like he was about to play tennis. Sometimes he let a cardigan hang off his back like a cape, the arms tied in a casual knot around his neck. Later in the afternoon, when they announced that M. was the runner-up winner of the raffle – his prize was a meat platter supplied by a local butcher – his excitement at his victory verged on the aggressive. His face was red, his hands were fists that he let swing around his body like out of control satellites, and as he shouted spit flew out of his mouth. He looked around himself, at us, the group of losers. His wife, in a red dress, looked on and smiled and clapped and seemed happy enough to start crying.

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