The fact that Kevin did not make love to his wife during the first week of his married life was not because he did not find her quite extraordinarily attractive.
It was due, rather, to unavoidable circumstances.
After the wedding ceremony (in the garden of his house in the suburb of Strathaven, in Salisbury, Rhodesia), he made the fundamental mistake of joining some of his shamwaris for a celebratory beer or two in the 'Beefeater' pub, which was situated just across the road from his house. (This, of course, was so that he would not be in the way whilst the ladies 'cleaned up' the debris that invariably accompany garden weddings anywhere, but did so even more so in Rhodesia, in those days.)
Anyway, by the time the sun had dropped below the rooftops, Kevin -- who was still in the Beefeater -- found himself to be becoming quite seriously 'unwell.' That might, of course, quite possibly, have been due to an excess of brandy in the wedding cake. But I shall make no excuses for him.
When the 'unwell' Kevin eventually staggered home that night, his lovely wife was most understanding, and after administering a couple of aspirin and a loving kiss, tucked him up in bed and -- with an enigmatic smile -- said she was going to have a Radox bath.
And that was Kevin's wedding night.
When the sun finally hammered open his eyes from the inside the next morning, Kevin felt absolutely dreadful. Alternative hot and cold showers made absolutely no difference to either his physical inability or mental remorse, and despite the total absence of any sort of recrimination from his lovely new wife, he was mortified with shame and embarrassment.
After a subdued breakfast, which he swallowed with great difficulty, Kevin eventually made his excuses and wandered over to the shopping centre -- where the Beefeater pub was located -- in order to purchase a newspaper and some liver pills.
And, quite naturally, he also took the opportunity to pop into the Beefeater pub so that he might tender his apologies to the manager and any of the other staff members whom he might have insulted or inadvertently offended during the course of his alcoholically fuelled, sexually expectant, exuberant excesses of the previous evening.
All might, however, still have been well, had Johnny Bez and John Sinclair not also chosen the same moment, and arrived similarly to tender their own regrets ...
And upon such seemingly insignificant hinges do the heavy doors of all history gently swing.
The ailing friends had a chiboolie (or seven) whilst arranging their 'un-banning' with the manager, and (expensively) settling the bill for the furniture that had somehow been broken during the previous night's somewhat boisterous festivities. But it was then, tragically, that Johnny Bez mentioned that his brother had bought a new boat, which was now moored at Lake Kariba.
By midday, the three pals had each enjoyed one of the Beefeater's excellent home baked chicken pies, and plans for the trip to Kariba were in the final stages of completion.
At the chemist shop (just two doors down from the Beefeater), Kevin purchased -- as well as the liver pills -- a toothbrush and a plastic bottle of washing-up liquid (a marvellous invention, which performed all the operations of toothpaste, shampoo, soap and shoe cleaner) and they were ready to go.
A brief stop at the bottle store -- in order to purchase some padkos -- was all that was then required before their plans were complete, and then they were upon their way.
The inexorable passage of time -- and a sometimes-painful subsequent life -- inevitably robbed Kevin's memory of total recall, but he still remembers that they did not catch many fish during that particular week. Nevertheless, he had no doubt that they had had a truly splendid time, the joy of which having only been mildly diminished by the reaction of his lovely wife when the two Johns had finally dropped him back at the gate of his house in Strathaven, upon the following Sunday evening.
Many years later, however, Kevin told me that he vaguely remembered that his first wife had been rather unreasonably annoyed that he had forgotten to bring a newspaper back with him on that last day of his honeymoon week.
He also told me that as far as he could recall, he did not think he had benefited from 'leg-over' upon that particular night, either.
I can still remember Kevin asking me, all those years ago, "What the hell was the point of getting married in the first place ?"
But I think I can answer his question; just as I could have done when he first asked it.
Because Kevin is still married to his beautiful first wife, and I know of no man who does not still hugely envy him that privilege and honour.
* * *
Shamwari(s) - Shona - Friend(s)
Chiboolie(s) - Shona - Beer(s)
Padkos - Afrikaans - Take-away (Road Food)