He has been dozing. His mind wandering. He likes it when his mind can roam free and unfettered.
It’s warm, there is a good breeze from the south-west, both the mainsail and foresail are full and stiff. They must be making 9 or 10 knots. He can feel the helm in his hands, the pressure of the yacht keeled over. They are in the groove, and they are making good progress through the slight swell, towards the island ahead.
He can see Amanda, blonde, deeply tanned, lying topless on the foredeck, reading her battered copy of The Tropic of Cancer. Oh, yes, she is truly a free spirit, giving her body and her love (and her opinions) so freely.
He snuggles down with the memory of her supple, vibrant body and dozes.
Dancing lightly on the pedals, he savours the rasping bark of the exhaust as he downshifts before Beckets. He knows that the E Type is only inches from his tail and it is vital to maintain his lead through this key corner. He holds the big Healey in a delicious power slide as they exit the bend, blocking the Jag and maintaining his slender lead through Chapel. He sees it inching up on the outside and drawing alongside. Seconds later, down comes the chequered flag and he punches the air, knowing he has won by a whisker.
Skill and experience triumphing over power, a moment to savour.
And there is Vanessa, seated across the table from him, the dancing light from the candles, creating a gentle luminance on her flawless skin and bright auburn hair. They hear the whoosh, as the cognac catches alight on the crepes suzettes the waiter is preparing by the table. He sees an added brilliance to the smile on Vanessa’s face. Later, meal finished, coffee poured, he takes the small box from his pocket and passes it to her. He sees the mixture of surprise, curiosity and then sheer joy as she sees the diamond ring. Her head falling to one side, her eyes holding his with an intense, unspoken agreement. The loud explosion as the waiter pops the cork, the clapping from the other diners, the tears of happiness flowing from those gorgeous green eyes.
A moment to treasure.
He squares his shoulders, pushes open the two big doors and walks into the board room. The low murmuring ceases, all heads turning to look up at him, the chairman rising to shake his hand and slap him on the back. He takes his seat as the brief burst of clapping flows around the large table, before the chairman calls the meeting to order. A moment of pride and power.
Priceless moments he can never forget.
There is a woman he sometimes sees. She is old with grey hair and a lined face. He doesn’t know who she is but there is something familiar about her eyes. She holds his hand and cries. He thinks he has seen her before.
He begins to be aware of the pain. He vaguely feels he has had the pain before. Slowly, it becomes worse, much worse, until it is almost unbearable.
He opens his eyes, sees the nurse; she is holding his arm and doing something with a syringe. He remembers the morphine, feels it begin to flow through his body, easing his pain.
In a moment, the pain will be gone….soon, he knows, it will all be gone….forever.