Shelter from the Storm
2:00 a.m., one Thursday night, somewhere in a bar in South Africa. Despite the early morning hours and the remote location of the place, the bar is well frequented by both men and women of different ages and ethnic backgrounds (this is noteworthy as in South Africa places of leisure and gastronomy are usually not as socially diverse). The atmosphere at the bar is lively as people are chatting to each other, engaged in pool billiard or relaxing in the lounge area next to the spacious bar.
A smart-looking guy in his early fifties, casual clothes, round spectacles resting in his curly hair, sits on his bar stool sipping from his double scotch, puffing a cigarette, chatting to the bar lady and to the young woman sitting next to him, looking at ease. Amidst the casual, lively and animated atmosphere, the young woman in her late twenties wearing a light greyish dress and a pink cardigan – giving her overall appearance a rather conservative touch – looks somewhat out-of-place. As she carefully observes her surroundings she meets the one or other curious and quizzical gaze directed at her. After some time, a woman in probably her late thirties wearing a tight black dress approaches the two. With a big smile and raising her hand to greet, she faces the young woman and introduces herself: “Hi, my name is Laury*. Sorry, I’m new here and I don’t know you. Are you working here too?” Obviously uncomfortable and caught by surprise, the young woman laughs and denies the question that presumably was posed to make sense of her out-of-place presence. She was just visiting and having a drink with a friend, she replies awkwardly.