36. My Last Merchant Mariner World Travels Wherby Stricking A Blow Against The Then Apartheid Discrimination Policies.

In Cape Town I had sneaked a peek at our sailing and consignment orders in the captain’s quarters, which was an expected procedure from the Captain’s Tiger, so as to discretely inform the crew that our next destination was to Europe. Our first port of call was in Belgium when sailing from the North Sea up the Scheldt River through the locks to the seaport of Antwerp. Its harbour that stretched from the Dutch border to near the city centre was the only one that I had ever seen around the world with so many docks, cranes, warehouses, and railway lines that lead from the industrial area directly to the loading yards onto the wharves. The city too was an amalgamation of impressive Gothic architectural cathedrals with churches, statues and museums. Also, cobbled lanes that lead to open squares from which tucked away in allays and backstreets of gabled houses and terraced cafes, enough restaurants and bars of every description. And to add to all of that, the world’s largest diamond cutting industry that operated in discreet but shabby looking shops by the Jewish population, and also the red-light district, which was Belgium’s largest, where women sat framed in red lights in the Schipperskwartier (Sailors quarter) that was inundated with clubs. Because of the seven hundred or so breweries in Belgium, it had the distinction of being the only country in the world with a quality or quantity of an array of about eight hundred beers, and because almost every beer had its own glass, which they maintained that the shape of it affected the taste and aroma, I left with quite a collection of them to add to others collected from around the world. The beer took nothing away from their gin that was brewed with Genever (French = juniper) that had about two hundred and fifty different brands. However, my taste buds picked out the one that I found the smoothest in Oude (Ancient) Genever contained in earthenware bottles and that packed a wallop after only a few served in a tall shot glass that had been cooled in ice, which was how it was served. The volume of alcohol produced in that country also saw an abundance of waterholes at every conceivable venue, and with all that types of liquid drinks it wasn’t a wonder that the national symbol of Brussels, also in Belgium, was Mannetje Pis; a statue of a little black boy cheerfully peeing at a fountain, which when obtaining a souvenir of it was added to my collection.

Something that I didn’t have to add to my assemblage from around the world was one of the two states languages that constituted the country of Belgium. One was Walloon where French was spoken and the other Flemish that was spoken in Flanders, which was where my grandfather Bill Dodgen had given his life for king and country in World War 1. I had been looking forward to visit the Flanders Battlefields so that I could maybe visualize and get the feeling of how it must have been when he was there knocking off the Jerrie. One could see still see where trenches would have been and pock mark indentations of where bombs had landed although grown over. So many soldiers’ grave-sites that brought tears to the eyes at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, and more so when the ‘Last Post’ at the Menin Gate was played by a bugler that for a few minutes the noise of traffic ceased out of respect. How that came about with me hearing Flemish spoken for the first time was when greeted with a ‘Goeiendag’ (‘Hallo’) by the wharf attendant when our ship had come alongside to be moored to the quay, which made me do a double take because of thinking I was greeted by a fellow South African greeting me in the Dutch language. My returned greeting of ‘Goedemorgen’ (‘Good morning’) made him do the same because of thinking that I had returned his greeting in Flemish or Vlaams as they called it. I soon learned and came to realize that because both our languages was a compilation of the Dutch one, that it was why their spoken language and mine were familiar to the ear and similar in the spoken word, and from then on in where ever I went in Antwerp there was no problem of communication. With it also one of Europe’s greatest medieval centers, its Gothic and baroque architecture and paintings by Rubens displayed in churches and museums around the city, particularly The Descent from the Cross that hung in the Onze Lieve Vrouwkathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady), which was the most impressive in the country and also everything else seemed as miniatures to it, was a day well spent in accumulating more cultural knowledge for myself. I was also fascinated by the colourful barges that either plied there trade goods or the home ones that you would always get a wave from the people on them.

It was on our last night in port, which was also well spent, when I almost missed the boat, not literally but factually, because of a Spanish flamenco dancer. While wandering the city we happened in the late evening to hear Spanish gypsy music that came from an alleyway, and on approaching, discovered a cosy Spanish club. The patrons and staff conversed in Flemish, which overcame the language barrier, and after consuming Oude Genever; my feet were ready for dancing. The gypsy band had begun playing a tango, and having observed a woman who had been dancing it in sync previously, I approached her for a dance. For dancing it with gusto with the intricate steps included, we were awarded with clapping from the crowd. Curtsying we made our way off the floor to fall laughingly in a heap in an eating cubicle that surrounded the dance floor. Over drinks my dancing history, techniques and routines were prised from me, and her expertise was because she was a Spanish dancing instructor with her own dancing academy. Calling a waiter over she ordered drinks for my shipmates and myself under protest from me, but her insistence was due to the two of us having given the customers an excellent exhibition of the tango. Excusing herself and first going over to converse with the band she then made her way through a doorway glancing smilingly over her shoulder at me. When the waiter brought over the drinks we wanted to pay, but he told us it was on the house.

Puzzled by that was remotely nothing to the amazement felt when on the band striking up a flamenco dance tune, she appeared at the door entrance dressed in traditional Spanish flamenco dancing costume. Amid clapping and cheers from the customers, she swirled, stomped, clicked her heels in rapid tattoos on the dance floor, clapped with her hands extended upwards in time with the music, walked a bull fighters walk towards me and extended her hand for me to dance with her. Calling on all my powers of observation and mental capacity to remember those techniques and routines that had been seen, taught, and last danced in Rio de Janeiro, we exploded on the floor. We accepted the accolades more gracefully that time, and a bottle of French champagne greeted us at the table with her applauding my dexterity and suave rendition of the dance. We both had worked up a sweat from all the exertion, but me more so because of the concentration, and again the waiter was at hand with face towels and to pour the champagne. Inquiring if I had dinner yet and answering in the negative, she advised the waiter to prepare a meal for two. The drinks of champagne and the food that she had just ordered had really perplexed and annoyed me because I had always paid my own way and wasn’t a sponger.

She excused herself and departed through the doorway again, and instead of her reappearing, the waiter did later with a polite request to follow him. My shipmates and I not having any idea to what was occurring, but with them encouraging me to go for it and to not consider them, I followed. Thinking that we were going to have dinner in another area of the club proved me wrong, for after ascending two floors up we arrived at a plush apartment where I was greeted by Juanita and escorted into a dining area where we were wined and dined by the waiter. My perplexing questions were answered by the fact that she was the owner of the club on the ground floor, the first floor housed her dance academy and her apartment was on the top floor. I had died and gone to heaven. After finishing dinner and with her having excused the waiter, she inquired of my wanting to remove the day’s grime. It had made sense because seeing how I had been all day in the city, and dancing up a storm.

It wasn’t what I had in mind though when showing me into her bathroom that really blew me away, for not only was the bath sunken, it was that wide and deep you could almost swim in it. The waiter must have prepared it because it was steaming, but because she didn’t seem to be leaving, and not knowing where it was leading to, made me ask if she was going in too. She had no hesitation, stripped and glided in, followed by me gingerly feeling the water, whereby she splashed me and pulled me in. The water was pleasurably warm with a filtering system that sucked and pumped in fresh constant warm water to keep it topped up. It seemed that she also wanted to be topped up as she revolved around me, and she became like an octopus as her body parts became like its tentacles against mine. It wasn’t a straight out assault by her but rather a pleasant playful method of being touched, teased, explored, massaged, stroked and squeezed, and I reciprocated. A bottle of bubbly and a bubbling spa did wonders for relaxing after that, but it seemed that she wasn’t ready to let me leave yet after telling her that the ship was sailing at five in the morning. Her encouragement of first wanting to take me on a tour of the dance academy and the rest of her home, and then to drive me back to the ship was enticement enough. Although it was only the two of us in the academy she still wanted to dance after the room filled with gypsy salsa music that she had put on. Maybe there was method in her madness because it was one of those dancers that consisted of very close body and at times groin-to-groin steps. Her provocative swaying and undulations could have been a factor that caused us to use the dance floor not only for the dance, and also another one too for me to stay the night when after continuing the tour that ended in her bedroom. Her boudoir was all frilly and lacy, two complete mirrored walls with one a walk-in wardrobe, an entertainment unit that comprised of a television, high-fidelity equipment and a large round bed in the room’s centre. A man’s photo on her bureau brought the revelation that her husband had part owned the dancing academy business, had died young, and because there was no children she had thrown herself into the business to build it up to what it was then. She had men friends but they weren’t suitable because of needing someone with the same interest and sexually compatible. She had taken a fancy to me because of my suave behaviour at the club, had never revealed her personal self so flagrantly to any man before, and had found me sexually attractive.

Although I told her again that it was really time for me to leave, at the back of my mind after the way we had completed the salsa dancing and the viewing of her bedroom with the extra enticement of its paraphernalia, I knew what my answer would be when she pleaded for me to stay with the excuse that she felt tired and that she would get me to the ship on time. However, when she told me that all of her sexual fantasies had not been fulfilled yet I drew the line. I reminded her that my sleep was required for the heavy day in front of me in catering to the needs of the captain, and not one but three ship’s pilots, and then I slept a sleep of sexual gratification and exhaustion. When we awoke at six with the ship having sailed already, it had made me incoherent, abusive and angry, and her sympathetic apologies with an invitation to stay and share her life fell on deaf ears, as even my hasty dressing became all thumbs. Dressed, and with her again asking me to stay while holding on to me, to pacify and to get away, I told that her offer was respected and worth considering as a new life, but that I had family back home to consider that was my real life. Because she was too distraught to drive me to the docks she called a taxi and thrust a wad of money in my pocket for the fare, and employed me to keep in touch with her by writing.

My knowing that the ship had passed through many locks before we docked made me hope against hope that the same procedure would apply before its return to sea. When arriving where the ship had previously berthed I found an empty quay. The astute taxi driver though saved the day or maybe he had done it before when he advised me to look around the dock area to see if the ships funnel logo or South African flag was visible. Sure enough I sighted it two locks away where he dropped me off and I tipped him well. After they lowered the ship’s retractable ladder for me to board, I was severely reprimanded by the Captain, docked one day’s pay and demoted to Passenger Steward. We were then on our way to Le Havre in France and London in England for the embarkation of passengers. The ship was a cargo passenger liner, and people who had time on their hands preferred their passage indirectly to their destinations by the ships voyage of port and island stoppages. Just as the Statue of Liberty could be seen when entering New York Harbour, and the Eiffel Tower when entering Le Havre Harbour, so to Big Ben when nearing London.

It was at that time when hearing more and more of the atrocities of the South African police forces and the South African Defense Force occurring not only in South Africa but also in its border countries of Namibia, Mozambique and Rhodesia where they too had taken up armed struggle against forced imperialism and apartheid that I wondered what the hell I was doing so far away from my home country. The remembrance also of the Sharpeville massacre of sixty nine Africans with the majority shot in the back, and the wounding of over four hundred including women and children by the South African police, really began to play on my mind. What made it more worrying was that in Langa,  police had killed African people there too when some 30 000 led by a young student, Philip Kgosana, gathered in a demonstration against passbooks that were compulsory for Africans only to carry. That was followed by a protest of 50 000 again at Langa in sympathy to the Sharpeville massacre. My thoughts and feelings were of the survival of my family and that their lives might be in jeopardy, that it was time for me to take my responsibilities more seriously and to quit and stay ashore, and that my last seafaring sexual episode should last me for a life time. Do pigs fly? Because all of my heartfelt resolutions were brought to a just one more time continuation instigated intentionally by a lass from England. Knowing the many lustful problems that were created by some of those women when encountering dark skinned men, and not only me but any other nationality too, for they were seen one on each arm of a Jamaican hooked in and walking the streets of the United Kingdom, or the darker the European the better. Passenger dalliance by any crew-member resulted in getting flogged, quartered and hung by the yardarm, literally; so I was very aware of the consequences, and having been in the bad books of the captain already, I just concentrated on my duties. Although the odd occasion had arisen at times, I had politely ignored every slight flirtation from sexually starved spinsters or widowers.

From the moment I brought her luggage to her cabin on her embarkation, to when she requested my help in unpacking all of her clothing, my senses became attuned to her seductive overtones, and my usual polite parry in those situations was completely ignored by her. She begun then to use her womanly wiles at every inconceivable moment and was scaring the hell out of me. The passenger’s quarters were amidships above the ships officer’s quarters and there was constant people traffic in both alleyways. My position only allowed me certain times of the day and night to implement my duties that were comprehensive to my station in that area, and she was placing my work position in jeopardy. Her ordering breakfast served in her cabin because of feeling under the weather, would find her in the bath with towels conveniently forgotten in the cabin that had to be passed on. Morning and afternoon tea was always served to passengers in their cabins, and she would either be reclining in a two piece bathing suit with legs spread that dangled over the arms of a lounge chair or feigning sleep on her bed wearing only a towel draped over her naked body. Another enticement was her ringing for drinks before lunch or dinner, and on its delivery, she would surprisingly walk out of the bathroom in her sexiest and revealing lingerie, I would be invited to have a drink with her, and on refusing, she would pout. She would also partake a little of everything on the menu when having lunch and dinner in the dining saloon, especially when served by me so that she could brush accidentally against me.

Then one day while she was taking the air on deck and my chance had come to sneak in and out to service her cabin before she got back, as was my custom with her when convenient, unbeknown to me she had been quietly observing my methods. While cleaning the bathroom she had silently returned, locked the door and was smilingly sitting on the lounge chair that she had moved against it. Knowing that I carried a master key for all the cabins had made her astute to the fact that I could have unlocked the door and left, and also knew that I couldn’t manhandle her out of the position that she had placed herself in because she was a passenger. She though calmed my surprise and apprehension by saying that all she ever wanted to do was talk to me so as to get to know me better. Her story was similar to many British citizens who were immigrating to South Africa to settle as families or to get married to influential or prosperous Afrikaners. Her forthcoming marriage was to be with one of those who had a farm in the heartland of the Boer, Transvaal. My bile rose and my stomach turned when she sprouted the worst indoctrinated dribble of the Afrikaner and apartheid, and her inference that the black African was inferior and should be glad that the Whites with their superior intellect were controlling and ruling the land made me see red.

I don’t know how, but I controlled all of my outraged emotions instead of shaking that shit right out of her because of how I felt to what was really occurring in South Africa. Be that as it may, I succeeded to proceed calmly and with convincing emotional verbalization to give her a synoptic, true, personal view of their conniving, denigrating, forceful and slaughtering history. It astounded her. She had also been given the same untruthful information by some of the young Afrikaner ship officers who were trying to impress her. That really got my blood boiling and my dander up. She also confided in me that she and her intended Afrikaner husband had become engaged in England, and with his convincing reasoning and her consent they had consummated their bond because of the distance and time involved before their meeting again in Cape Town. He had also booked her sea passage on a South African ship because of been adamant that it was the only way that she would arrive safely to his arms. And that made me almost spew with disgust and loathing for that mightier than thou attitude of him.

My question of her seductive enticement towards me brought a coy smile and an overwhelming reply. She hadn’t had many boyfriends and had been a virgin until the night of their engagement, and knowing according to his explanation that his vast isolated farm wouldn’t incur much visitors had made her feel that since she wasn’t married yet, and hadn’t known any other man except him, and never might, she was entitled to a last fling and I was it. My racing thoughts envisaged her as going to be an Afrikaner’s Boer meisie (Dutch = Boer meisie, farmer’s girl), and how proverbial it would be that while he and his kind were fucking South Africa and its non-white people, I could be doing the same to his woman. What also came to mind was that if he was a farmer, I too could become one by ploughing and tilling her patch, and my sperm seeds, if her to be husband’s hadn’t already, could germinate so that they too would have a non-white in their family as I had been designated to, by the Afrikaner National Party. Thinking of the sweet revenge and retaliation that it would inflict for all non-white South Africans, I set the ground rules and the importance of her utmost discretion. I also emphasized how paramount it was for both of us not to be caught contravening the Immorality Act that would see me thrown in the brig for non-compliance for the duration of the trip and jailed in South Africa, and that she would not only have the wrath of her husband to be but also the government’s to contend with for breaking that act. She couldn’t fathom the concept of persons of a different colour skin not allowed to have sexual relations, and referred to the hypocrisy of the conviction when her fiancé was as tan as I was. In my book that gave her a plus one, so I decided to give her one too seeing that I had explained, clarified and interpreted what the consequences would be. Her having tried to seduce and then solicit me, meant that she was by then as horny as hell and hot to trot, so I threw caution to the wind. Our tête-à-tête had moved her from the chair to the bed with me sitting at the foot end with my legs over the edge and her seated up at the head end with her arms encircling her drawn up legs. She was wearing a buttoned blouse loosely worn over a short pleated skirt, and her sitting position had been revealing glimpse of her white knickers, which was what she called them in comparison to South African women calling them panties, and up the inside of her thighs. My occasional eye flicking in that direction while we were chatting had then become a lingering stare, which she had noticed, and as I begun to slowly pop open the snap buttons of my work jacket and while still doing that, she in her eagerness caused her not to unbutton her blouse but to pull it off over her head. When she slid down from her seated position I didn’t need a second invitation, and she was that enthused for gratification that it saw no further divesting from her as she handled me straight in and lustfully participated in her ravishment.

I not only had to reorganize my schedules at my workstation, which had made the timing factor critical, but I also had to fabricate excuses for my whereabouts so that my shipmates and the officers wouldn’t perceive deception on my part when responding to her seemingly insatiable desires. To keep her content and me prepared for her passion, I had to keep both of us simmering so that we both would be capable intermittently. I wasn’t then only riding the waves of passion I was actually sailing on it. She too used subterfuge as a means to keep the officers at bay and away by constantly complaining about seasickness, which kept her at times in her cabin for our tryst, and when promenading on deck she would wear slacks so as to curb advances made by them, and she would excuse herself and retire to her cabin when they tried to join her when swimming. I never encouraged her to do any of that for there was no feeling to have her just to myself, neither was there lust of any sort while out of her company. What permeated through me when with her though was the constant thought of a designated non-white having been where her supposed to be superior White Afrikaner future husband would be eventually going, and that where ever he touched I had been there too, and that’s when it had become a turn on. When we were also getting it on and in the heat of passion, hatred for the Afrikaners must have also inundated my thoughts at times because I would handle her roughly. But because she never complained about that sort of aggressive treatment, I got the impression that she liked it that way; however, for the rest of the fourteen days, which was the duration of the voyage to Cape Town, every part of her was explored, manipulated and imbedded, and at times with tenderness too.

It became a subtle game of eluding and outfoxing the enemy of white officers and my unaware crew-mates of our secretive shipboard affair. She never made any advances on me when out of the cabin; instead she would when greeting give a mischievous smile and a slight wink when no one was in sight. She had kept to her part of our agreement, which was easy for her, but then out of the blue she gave me the fright of my seafaring life. When summoned by the Chief Steward and questioned about the service she was receiving in relation if it was the best and if she was assisted by me in every way to make her voyage pleasurable, left me speechless and shaking in my boots because my interpretation was of a different reason. I was more at ease though when he also stated that she had requested to view the crew’s aft quarters because it was the only section of the ship that she hadn’t seen. When he asked for my input so that it could be made possible, my reply when my brain made my mouth move was that it would be appropriate to let the second steward, who was a white officer, escort her. He though surprisingly disputed it by saying that my knowledge of the crew’s quarters would serve the purpose better. I was to arrange the tour during the morning when the majority of the crew were at their workstations and the rest were catching up on their sleep before or after their four-hour watch duty. Her amusement and laughter at the way she had duped the Chief Steward and the unexpected result of her charade for wanting to see where I lived as she put it, found us both in her walk-in wardrobe trying to deaden and stifle our continuous uncontrollable mirth because of the outside movement of passengers. Being almost caught out a few times when leaving at un-rostered times got me in the habit of leaving a spare prepared tea- tray and towels in the cabin so that it created an illusion when leaving of on call to her cabin. That was one of those days. The duty officer that was directly passing at that precise moment of me coming out with the towels, and my comment to her when leaving that fresh ones would be brought immediately caused him to give me a nod of duty well performed.

She had become really excited about the guided tour back aft, but her exuberance had to be curbed or it would have been noticed by the other passengers and officers. One of the stipulations was that it had to be low-key, so advising her on that and also telling her that the Chief Steward would definitely be watching our progress from amidships on the lifeboat deck proved me right. What she didn’t appreciate was my telling her not to dress provocatively as she usually did in skimpy shorts and boob tubes while in the cabin. What did turn her pouts and sulks to girlish pleasure though was when I told her that there would be a few surprises in store if she behaved and was not so demanding on me for the days that followed. She was dressed sensible in slacks, blouse and walking shoes that didn’t attract attention. There was a stiff wind blowing though, and a skirt or dress would have been blown up as we passed the deck crew busy chipping and painting away with heads down. She did though receive sly glances because they were very aware that the Chief Steward was watching. Her attire also helped when taking her first onto the poop deck, which involved climbing three stairways, because the deck-crew would have been able to see right up the other type of clothing. The Chief Steward that seemed to have been satisfied with the decorum and progress had made his way to the ship’s fore where the passengers were swimming and sunning themselves, and we were then out of his sight. From the poop deck because of been out of sight of everyone made her almost forgot where she was by trying to embrace me, however, I distracted her away from that by drawing her attention to look down the stern end of the ship.  Having not witnessed before the wide and extended wake of the ship caused by the propellers that churned in the water, made her to forget all about me and be mesmerized by it.

The crew’s cabin doors were always bolted open to prevent slamming when the ship had occasion to roll from side to side and to let the sea breeze from the open portholes circulate for ventilated cool sea air throughout the crew’s quarters. And those cabins of the crew on watch and those gainfully employed on deck and in the engine room were looked at, and it took some time because there were three tiers of crew’s cabins from the poop deck to the stern bottom. She had tried really hard to behave herself even though it was only the two of us wandering around in completely deserted crew’s quarters, except for the crew that had come off an earlier watch but by then they were asleep and dead to the world. She had to be chastised on a few occasions though when I was ahead of her on going up stairwells because she would grab at my behind, or when going down ahead of me would reach back and grab at me genitals. By the time we had only gotten halfway she was already smouldering and intense with desire because of her having been celibate for those days before the tour, so I sprung the first surprise on her. In the stern of the ship was a gear locker that I had opened and steered her into, and on closing it threw us into pitch-black darkness. Holding her I felt her pounding heart and trembling body at those turn of events, but it soon turned to ones of pleasure as I laid her on coils of hessian ropes in the locker. Not knowing where my hands were going to be next had also begun to send mummers of pleasure to emit from her. Nobody known to me had ever used the locker for that purpose, but my problem though was that in the dark my thoughts had become darkened once again with the hatred felt for the Afrikaners who with a stroke of a pen had not only created South Africans into separate races but had also separated them. And although with her it was an act of subjection, with me it was rejection because of the thought of them grounded into the dust as I was then doing to her, which didn’t allow me an outcome.

Disheveled but not too bad for wear we had continued down into the stern area where we made our way down to more crew’s cabins, and but making sure the coast was clear I sprung the next surprise and steered her that time into my cabin and locked the door. When assuring her that it was my cabin she glowed with expectancy as she looked, touched and scrutinized everything that concerned me. My African and other countries artifacts, photographs of me at world destination places, framed photographs of my family, which as designated non-whites she couldn’t relate to that and hoped that her children would be as beautiful, and even went through my wardrobe to see what my taste in clothes were. I sat on my bunk and watched, answered and explained the rapid questions asked of me, and when she had exhausted her inquires she threw herself on top of me with ardent kissing. Her submissive body in such enclosed quarters of my bunk with nowhere else to turn or go, responded to mine with a passion until the slow ebb and flow eventuated to an undulating in the motion of the pitching and rolling sea combined with the ship’s propeller’s thrusts.

We had laid there grinning and contented until we heard voices that caused her to become apprehensive, and I had to calm her down because of knowing it to be crew coming and going off watch. After we cleaned, dressed and adjusted each other quick smart we warily made our way via an aft hatch onto the deck at the stern of the ship. While we stood holding onto the ship’s rail with a cool breeze that fanned both our hot bodies and flushed faces, the second steward came strolling towards us, which was in the nick of time for us in finishing the tour. Her smiling reply that it was more than she had expected almost gave me a heart attack when he asked her if she had enjoyed the tour, but I gathered myself in time so as to ask him if he would escort her back. It was unusual they way that ended because it gave him an air of self-importance, for her to put on a demure look and to politely thank me, and me to assume a devil-may-care attitude as they walked away. What did make me care though as she walked away was that an obvious large wet spot showed on her slacks in between and just below her buttocks, and because she had insisted that I keep her knickers as a reminder, she had sprung a leak.

I had contemplated to go after her and to somehow draw her attention to it, but my second thoughts was that if it was noticed she would have a thought out a ready answer. It was only then that I also noticed something else that caused my devil-my-care attitude to adopt an angelic innocent one because of a crew-member who had been peering at me through his deck cabin porthole. He had a thoughtful look on his face as he confronted me straight away with questions that almost threw me. His questioning of why when he went to the rope locker to obtain rope to splice a hawser; mooring rope, so much time had elapsed of the passenger’s tour from the poop deck down to the stern cabins because it was only then that he saw the two of us enter my cabin. He also wanted to know why while both the passenger and I were inside my cabin, the door had been closed, and that he had noticed a wet mark on a very unusual area of her slacks as she passed his porthole.

I knew that if my answers weren’t convincing enough that he would definitely tell the rest of the crew, and that somehow it would have gotten to the officers ears. So again I brought my rhetorical questioning into play combined with the most plausible answers that my mind could conceive. When asking him if he knew that it took women longer to use the toilet, he agreed, and when I explained away the time taken between decks by telling him that she had to use it twice, he understandingly nodded. My question of if he at times also closed his cabin door to not only to keep the passing boisterous crewmen’s noise out when he was asleep due to going or coming off watch, but also to the closing of his porthole due to the gale force winds that at times blew through it, and he definitely agreed with that. So it was a simple matter when I explained that while looking through my photo albums of my travels that she knew about and wanted to see, and that the closed cabin door was due to the cold and draught she was feeling in my cabin, he concurred with that too. The wet patch I explained away as a backwash splash of seawater that she had sat in on the bollard, which is a double mooring deck post and backwash is what occurs at all times at the stern of a ship because of the forceful trust of the propeller, the waves and the wind. He had thought long about that one before drawing his own conclusion, and then came straight out that he had thought we were fucking in my cabin, but somehow he discounted that as ridiculous because she was a passenger and my arse would have been on the line.

He couldn’t have spoken a truer word in both instances, but my concocted half-truths had kept our secret safe. When all that had transpired had been related to her later, she deduced that the crewman had just missed us coming out of the gear locker, congratulated me on my quick thinking and my astute answers, and concluded that the wetness she had first felt was thought of, of her having a period. What caused our sexual relationship to be put in a new perspective though was with what she came out with next. She had missed a period and had also thought that that was what was occurring, at the same time though her other reasoning was that if she were pregnant it would either be from the Afrikaner Boer or from our constant sexual encounters.  Also if the baby was dark skinned it wouldn’t have to be accounted for because her Afrikaner was dark skinned too from working in the constant sun. She was that naive about the distinction made of the colour of ones skin in South Africa that my explanation would have been wasted.

It had come to our last day at sea before reaching Cape Town and the passengers were helter skelter in packing and preparing, and with me at their beck and call constantly, made for our usual sexual routine to be stymied and her to be frustrated. As she had pleadingly requested of me to spend one more night with her, I had racked my brain with all the possibilities to make it happen. So I devised a plan that I hoped would first fool my cabin mate because he would have been the only one who would have discovered or known if my bunk hadn’t been slept in that night. My intention after I had sneaked into her cabin was to spend the night as a last surprise and goodbye. I knew that the ship pilot was to be picked up first thing in the morning, so my story to him had been simple and half-truths. As my new duties hadn’t pertained to the captain’s needs anymore, although when he still required special meal he wanted prepared for the ship’s pilot and himself, which the promoted captain’s tiger didn’t have the skills for, I was called, and I had been requested by him to be on standby for the ships pilot and him in Cape Town. My explanation to my cabin mate was that because of the bad weather that had been predicted over the night and the picking up of the pilot in the early hours of the morning, if I wasn’t seen in my bunk during the night to the morning, that it would be because the captain had me amidships on standby. Also, that it would be appreciated if he had the main cabin light turned off, used his bunk light only, and to have the door closed so as to keep the crews noise out because the night for me was going to be a long and sleepless one, and that I would be turning in early.

It was our last passenger dinner on board, and because it was always a gala affair, all passengers dressed up and all officers attended. She too was dressed up for the occasion; however, no matter how much she had tried to put on a brave and cheerful face for passengers and officers alike, her constant side glances at me betrayed her true feelings. When I had to be over at the bar to fill up drinks for the passengers, she would at times come over under the pretense of changing the drink that she had ordered, and there I would be quietly pleaded with to come to her cabin that night. I had felt a real cad when I saw the tears that would well up in her eyes when I shook my head as an indication that we didn’t have an imaginary drink and meaning no to her question, while I knew that I was. She though still played the game by using a handkerchief to fiddle with her eyes as if it was irritated by something in it. While the rest of the stewards completed the clearing up, my having hastily prepared the passengers cabins for their night’s repose while they danced the night away allowed me to furtively make my way to my cabin. I first ruffled up my bedding, drew my bunk curtains tight close, switched of all the lights and closed the door with the hope that my cabin mate would get the impression on his return that my story held water. When entering her cabin I had only left her bedside light on because of wanting to have it softened before I concealed myself in her walk-in wardrobe, and my short wait was rewarded when she arrived. Not having heard any further movement from her for quite some time had caused me to become concerned. What I saw when entering the cabin was her still fully dressed lying on her back on the bed clutching a pillow that she was quietly sobbing into. She was a pitiful sight with teary eyes, makeup running, and her evening frock all rumpled up around her waist as she slowly swayed with her legs slightly bent.

I had actually felt a touch of sympathy for her, but knew that when becoming aware of my presence she would be ecstatic. What I didn’t intend to do though was to scare her. After having crept slowly towards the foot-end of the bed I first eased myself up and then leaned over to plant a kiss on her usual morning serviced wake up call. She though gasped in fright, snapped her legs together and brought her hands hard down t. That reaction not only caused her thighs to squash my ears and her hands to land on my head but it also snapped up her body and opened her mouth for an intended scream. It was stifled though when she saw that it was me because she had thought that it had been one of the officers who had chatted her up at the farewell party and had sneaked in. She had burst into tears again, but that time because I was actually there with her. While I was consoling and assuring her of my intention to stay the night due to my crafty scheme; she though had begun to peel off her clothes as fast as she could. After I had turned off the light and locked the door, which she hadn’t, in case the officer had thoughts of making a late night call, my thinking that our last sexual interlude had begun wasn’t hers yet, for taking me by the hand she lead me to the shower. Her wanting to do that was to rid the touch of the officers who had danced and tried to embrace her, and she wanted to feel free of them before I touched her. I found that sweet, but found it sweeter when pulled into the shower so as to wash her. Doing that had made me as horny as hell; she though for the first time after we had dried each other rather wanted to talk first.

We just laid in the dark and cuddled while she talked her heart out. It seemed that she wished the sea voyage to perpetuate so that we would have more time together and in that way she would have more her memories of me. She also wanted to know if by corresponding to me through the shipping company if her letters would be passed on, and that in some way she would obtain a private address for me to reply back. Her romantic notion of her pregnancy was that she would return back to England for a holiday with the baby when it was older on a company’s vessel without her husband, and that she would make inquiries to what ship I was on so that the child could be seen by me. It also seemed that it hadn’t been her intention but she more than liked me. I though had never romanced her in that sense nor had I ever given her any indication of an ongoing affair. She had been the instigator from the onset and my perpetration had been as a participant in her last fling. My whole concept of that sordid affair had been one of contemptuous revenge and denigration against her Afrikaner Boer husband to be, and all Afrikaners, and if the baby had a dark pigmentation when born, the colour wouldn’t have come from the sun beating down on her husband.

The Afrikaners predatory history and ongoing exploitation of the land, resources and its people was a bitter pill to swallow. And as one would hunt, enclose and slaughter animals that was there as seen by them their given right to do, wasn’t actually seen that way by them as far as non-whites were concerned.  What it was to the Afrikaner was their prerogative right to do as they pleased and what they pleased to all non-whites. And I knew that once she had sampled the Afrikaner symbol of the horn of plenty she too would adapt, adopt and accept the doctrine of their concept of the master race. I would never ever be accused of rape in any form, but because the Afrikaner National Party were preoccupied in doing that to South Africa in all their planning, methods and performance, my mind turned to her lying there vulnerable and exposed to my hateful thoughts. During my thought processes while she had laid there patiently and quietly, although looking quizzically at me, I had seen in her eyes and by the soft tenderness in her face that she actually did have a love for me. My realization then that my entire pent up ill will indirectly or wrongly against her for going to be one of them had been dissipated by her subdued body that she had allowed me to denigrate or venerate as I had seen fit, and it saw me then with no further ado to have my last sexual seafaring interlude.

Knowing the time of the ship pilot’s arrival and having had my watch set accordingly, my quite exit as she slept sexually satisfied and spent, didn’t disturb her when I made my way up to the bridge. Having arrived precisely as the pilot boat came alongside, the captain after thanking me for my diligence ordered bacon and egg sandwiches with coffee for the two of them as starters. When docked, I instinctively knew who her Afrikaner fiancé was by his arrogant bearing, and it was confirmed when he waved to her as she stood at the bulwark; the ship’s side above deck, and she gave me a wry smile when noticing me watching when she waved back. Wanting to see him face to face, my appearance at her cabin to check out the luggage disconcerted her when she looked at me over his shoulder while he was hugging her. She though was in a state, and because of wanting to defuse that reaction to composure, my long wink and a stuck out tongue brought a smile with a quick wink and a darted stuck out tongue in return.

When he became aware of my presence he turned to face me, and that well set, blonde, dark tanned, arrogant person while he looked scornfully down his nose at me asked me in Afrikaans if there was nothing better that I should be doing, and that he would report me for encroaching on their privacy. My hackles went immediately up at that ‘Ja baas’ (Dutch = ‘Yes master’) attitude they expected from their Hottentots (Non-whites), Slaams (Asian), and ‘Kaffirs’ (Africans), and it was directed at me. Because I wasn’t going to put myself at his primitive, uncultured, rude level because of him addressing me in a language that was foreign to her, my reply and as a put down in the most fluent highfaluting English, which they despised you to use and demanded their mother tongue of Afrikaans be spoken, was that my specific obligation and responsibilities were to officially inspect and concur with the passengers that their luggage count was accurate. With him being on the ship, which had maritime laws unto itself and on my territory, and not ashore, I was the boss then as his bewildered, flabbergasted, put back in his box expression showed. My further tongue in cheek, false, ethical, harangue to him so as to rub salt further into the wound was that I had rendered, provided and serviced his future wife with every available resource at my disposal so as to facilitate her every wish and desire.

Although it had caused the Afrikaner to be flummoxed, she had been grinning and shaking with silent laughter behind him. She had also stopped him dead in his tracks when he fumbled for his wallet to give me a tip by seriously saying, but keeping the alluding sexual overtones going, that she had shown her gratitude already by giving me a worthwhile gift that she was sure I appreciated and that further gratuity from him wasn’t necessary. To me she had taken it a bit too far when she shook my hand because it had almost popped his eyes out of his head when he saw my brown hand grasped by his white fiancées, and as he glared at me the imp came out in me. While shaking her hand, I then used my forefinger to tickle her palm within our enclosed clasped hand, and with her of the same mind and mood too, she had then put her other hand over mine, shook it vigorously, and while her eyes twinkled with mischief her lips pouted slightly as if kissing me.

Having made tracks quickly out of there before she had really given the game away and he had a heart attack; her luggage was taken ashore by me. While the two of them were preparing to leave by car I had waited on deck for Joan’s arrival, and when she turned around to have a last look at the ship while he was busy stowing her luggage and unbeknown to him on seeing me, she waved in my direction and cheekily blew me a kiss that I impetuously made as if catching and placed it on my lips. When I glanced furtively around because of realizing what my rash action could have caused, I noticed the gangway watchman and second mate not only watching me intently but with an astonished and unbelievable look on their faces. But it didn’t matter to me then because the car had sped out of sight and there was nothing that could be reported, verified or done. It was not only that she had gone thankfully out of my life but that I had struck a blow even though it was a  minor one indirectly against the denigrating Afrikaner Apartheid policies in more ways than one. But most of all my seafaring days had come to an end with me signing off completely.

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Ah! The life of a Merchant Mariner.

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