by Paul du Preez
While Darren jumped the gate into the Arderne Gardens – unexpectedly meeting Arno there, Leandré had been entrancing the crowd at The Compass with a performance inspired by Poliamuel, her angel.
Poliamuel clenches her tiny fists at waist height, signalling the cut-off. Leandré lifts her bow, but lets the final note ring on, till it fades. There is an awed hush. People are unsure – is this a concert, or is it church; should they applaud or worship?
They do both: hallelujahs and whistles mix in a torrent of clapping that thunders like a waterfall.
Leandré curtsies, blows a kiss to Maxwell, who clasps his hands to his breast (“Bravo,” he shouts) curtsies again. And, surrendering to a mix of modesty and impatience, gathers her skirt and steps straight down from the stage and into the adoring virtual crowd. She’s not wearing haptic-gloves, so she can’t high-five any of them, but she lifts her arms in triumph. And in worship: “Glory be to God,” she calls, high and clear. “Glory!”
Her little, needle-sharp claws twitch in their silky sheaths. Ooh, kitty would love to play…
And, performance over, can’t resist a peek at her stats.
Her live SpaceBook performance-capture already has 327 likes, and the counter clicks up another one as she watches. She changes apps with a second-long stare and a double eye-blink, and…Instagraph is looking good! But by then she’s up to her ‘meat’ friends, present in flesh and blood and, with an awkward flurry of blinks, manages to minimize the display and reinstate AR ‘normal’ – The room feed and backgrounded notifications. And a clear through-view of Pastor Arendse, ecstatic, and eager to embrace her, and behind him, Saloni and others.
“Amazing. Praise God!” booms Arendse enfolding her in his pastorly hug. “The anointing of the Lord is on you.”
They ‘amen’ and ‘glory’ each other for a bit before Arendse’s highly-tuned social instinct propels him, ever onward, to another glad-handing encounter.
Saloni enfolds her – a welcoming embrace, and Leandré begins to let herself relax, taking comfort in the pressure of Saloni’s arms clamped across her back, the pad of Saloni’s bust hard against her ribs.
“Good luck and all the best congratulations to you.”
“Saloni,” she exhales. “Thank you.”
Saloni smiles wickedly. “Although my heart is falling too, I’m in love with your body†.”
“Oh, stop it!” guffaws Leandré, swatting her shoulder. Saloni laughs too and, holding on to Leandré, tilts back on her heels, her glossy shoulder-length hair parting round the prow of her designer AR glasses like the creamed wake of a luxury speedboat. Then, as she rocks forward, surging onto the balls of her feet, about to anchor a kiss on Leandré’s cheek…
Marcus bulls in. His du-rag freshly tied. Earnest. Smooth, but manly. “Excuse me ladies.” He fixes on Leandré: “I have to say that was one amazing performance. Really! Conscience won’t let me rest if I don’t tell you.”
Leandré presses fingers to her mouth, sputters, giggles. Saloni follows. They lock heads, laughing.
“Uh, my name’s Marcus,” he says, toughing it out.
“He-loooo,” responds Leandré, straightening. “I know.”
Fresh giggles explode. The girls lock heads again.
Marcus tries to hide dismay – his eyes stay hidden behind glasses, but his mouth gives him away.
“Sorry,” gasps Leandré, reaching up to rest a butterfly hand on his shoulder.
And stifles a further outbreak. “Stop it,” she hisses at Saloni.
And straightens once more. “I’m sorry. My name’s Leandré.”
“Yeah,” he says respectfully. With enthusiasm.
Oh! That is attractive, notes Leandré. Promising. Then: “Did you really call me a ‘doggette-baby with a front row seat’?”
Marcus goes…rose-mahogany (My goodness – that’s quite…endearing) but there’s no turning back for him. “Yeah,” he gruffs, swallowing. “I don’t mean disrespect. Actually, I think it’s one of my better rhymes. Inspired.” He puffs out his impressive chest.
“Oh,” says Leandré.
She feels little, needle-sharp claws twitch in their silky sheaths. Ooh, kitty would love to play…
But Saloni is tugging at her hand: “I’ve got to go,” she grumbles. “Really!” Which is code for ‘talk to me – now – or risk being unfriended’.
“Marcus, it’s been great,” meows Leandré, collecting her handbag. “It’s been awesome! But something’s come up.”
† Ed Sheeran, The Shape of You.
Leandré and Saloni, Heads Locked, Laughing by Paul du Preez
Angel Wings by Sergei Tomakov on Pixabay https://pixabay.com/illustrations/angel-wings-fairy-isolated-4870050/
Intro Music (on Podcast)
Excerpt from Black, White and Blue by Paul du Preez
Disclaimer, Copyright and Permissions
Syblings the Syrial is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are the product of Paul du Preez’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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