It was high tea at the Four Seasons in Moscow. She sat by a floor to ceiling window while the snow came down onto the entrance of the Red Square with a fire in the far corner providing warmth as she sipped from the porcelain cup steaming with hot, sweet tea. She wouldn’t have wanted it to be different as she took responsibility for her moment and savoured the rich chocolate cake she was biting into while watching people scramble to get out of the snowstorm. She saw herself playing the  lead part in her personal movie as she took in the richness of the moment’s tapestry and revelled in the woman that she was becoming. The beauty of the moment would stay with her forever.

He cast the line into the river for the tenth time, took a sip from the flask of strong coffee and looked with a wry smile at the empty basket. He had caught nothing in the hour he had been fishing after getting there before the crack of dawn, hoping to find the elusive fish that he knew populated the flowing waters. He wondered if it was too early for a cigar having recently acquired some Cubans wrapped with Cameroonian leaves. He chose to wait and at that moment he felt a tug on the line. The weight of the fish he pulled in made the wait worthwhile. This was his Saturday routine and the heavy traffic from Monday to Friday was only a distant memory. He considered briefly what he would do for his impending 40th birthday…

It made no sense part of his brain said, yet he found himself on the queue. They checked his height and at 6 feet, he was tall enough. He watched as others went ahead of him which only increased his anticipation. That rational part of his brain again tried to interrupt the growing excitement but the adrenalin and testosterone shut it down effortlessly. Soon the queue moved forward, he got the needed goggles to wear over his glasses and was soon being strapped down in his seat. He actually wished he was right in front to get the full impact thinking it would heighten the  experience he was about to be immersed in but he soon found that didn’t matter. He and the others heard the air pressure build up and they all trembled wondering exactly what they had got themselves into. It was too late to get off as the force of taking off like an actual rocket pushed everyone back into their seats with a G-force 4.8 times stronger than gravity. Whoosh! They hit 240 kilometres per hour in five seconds! The feeling of his face trying to flee his head like nothing he had ever known. The next one and a half minutes flying through bends and upside down twists took them all to the very edge before the entire ride came to a stop. His entire body was quivering as he got out of the seat. He mentally reconnected all his bones and muscles to take the very first step while his skin felt like electricity was coursing all over its surface. Strangely enough, he immediately knew he had to go back. Abu Dhabi had left its calling card on his soul through the fastest roller coaster on the planet…

Snapshots… Those moments that stay with you forever. Moments you can recall in almost every detail because of the sheer beauty, pleasure or adrenalin you experienced. Some of them happen because you planned for them to, while some are serendipitous. Snapshots don’t have to be had away from home either as many who are parents will attest to. Watching a child take first steps or speak first words are snapshots just as experiencing milestones in the child’s life are. Early morning walks along a beach with a beloved pooch give many a dog lover loads of snapshots. Open roads do the same for motorbike aficionados.

Then there are those snapshots we don’t want to have… Snapshots that taint every other moment thereafter.

He checked his computer screen to make double sure that the numbers were all there — nine digits in length with the requisite two commas for easy identification. The trojan horse he had embedded in the code had done it’s work and transferred the last two decimal points of all transactions into a special account. Decimals nobody really cared about. It had taken four years to get here and it was time to cash out as the business application was about to be changed completely. Getting two and a half million dollars out of the system was his target and he had surpassed it by a few thousands. A new life beckoned and he had all his papers. He felt light headed as he had gotten one over the management that he knew didn’t appreciate him and his skills or else they wouldn’t have promoted many above him and left him in the back room for the past ten years.

She adjusted her skirt suit as she paused at the entrance to the meeting. The tailor at the French designer emporium had done a great job as she noted once again with satisfaction. Her bespoke handbag had cost the same amount as a small car but she felt she deserved it for how long she had done her work effectively. Her beautiful face and flawless skin had always been her greatest assets and she hadn’t hesitated to deploy them in reaching where she was — the dizzying heights of power, even if she had to work hard to stay invisible as any publicity would immediately strip her of the same power she now had. As the ultimate facilitator in the corridors of power, she knew where a few bodies were buried and she actually helped to bury about half of them. That men steered clear of her was of no consequence since she could buy any one she found remotely interesting. The only ones she couldn’t buy she worked for — like the man she was about to meet with. She had stopped crying herself to sleep years ago.

The foundation of a house determines both the type and the height of the structure that can be placed on it. Many a building has cracked and fallen apart because the wrong foundation was used or too much building was placed on a small foundation. This is the way for many today who are not able to find the snapshots they can look back on with pleasure. They are not able to ask like a friend of the writer does every time they speak, “How’s the good life?”

 

Written by Babatunde Olaoluwa Jeje and published in This Day Style