Places, Hong Kong, Repulse Bay
By John Yager
Some time ago I posted a series of four very short pieces under the collective title Seasons.
Many readers have since written to ask if I would do more of these little vignettes.
What follows is such a piece, part of a series called Places, based on my own memories of some of my favorite cities and locations around the world.
Andrew, thank you again for so much help, for good advice, for proofing and editing and, most of all, for making me look so much better than I am.
This work is copyrighted © by the author, 2003, and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
I was staying at the old Repulse Bay Hotel, now long gone. It was exorbitant but I was there at someone else's expense. Each morning a car came for me, taking me over Victoria Peak and into the city, where I worked half the day in a cold, dry, air conditioned office. At one o'clock I was through for the day and the car took me back to the hotel and the beach and the sea.
In the afternoon I lay on the white sand, watching the crowds of Europeans and Chinese, reading a book, reveling in the warm sun, proud of my hard body and my youth. A success at twenty-six.
He came along the beach walking like a peacock, strutting, as proud as me. The vanity of youth.
He was tall for an Asian, and muscular, completely smooth, a golden tan. He wore only a pair of brief white swimming trunks, like the skimpiest Speedos I'd ever seen.
He walked by without turning to look at me, but my eyes followed him.
I knew he'd seen me, looking out of the corner of his eye as he approached. If he was interested, I reasoned, he'd be back.
He was, he did.
"You stay at the hotel?" he asked, stretching out on the sand beside me.
"It is very grand, very expensive."
"Yes, too expensive for me."
"You have a friend, perhaps, who pays for you."
"I have an employer who pays for me."
"It is the same."
"I work in an office. It's not the same."
"Please excuse, I misunderstood."
"There's nothing to excuse."
"I have been at the hotel. The pool is fine. It has fresh water, not salty like the sea."
"I know. I swim in it after I go up from the beach, to rinse off the salt and suntan lotion."
"Will you invite me to join you?"
"If you like. My name is John," I said, extending my hand to shake his.
His hand was warm and strong.
I gathered my book and towel and we walked up the beach and across the road. The bell man looked from Tong to me as we entered the hotel gate but said nothing. His eyes disapproved.
Tong had no towel or sandals, only his golden body, his ebony hair, his brief bathing suit glowing white against his darker skin.
We dove into the pool and swam its length, then pulled ourselves out and sat, lazing in the lounge chairs by the side.
"Where is your room?"
"Just there." I pointed to the wing behind us.
"We can go in that door," Tong said. "I know this hotel very well. We can go in that door and along to your room without going through the lobby, going by the desk."
"That's right," I said. He smiled at me. "So you come here often, Tong."
"Are you professional, then?"
"Yes, when I'm with a man who want me on such terms."
"And this afternoon?"
"Oh, this afternoon I'm only here to play. I don't expect to be paid to be with a man I want, only with the men I really don't want."
"I guess I understand."
"So may we go to your room then, John?"
"Yes, Tong, I think that would be very nice."
The boy was a tiger in bed.