Luap glanced up at the mirror as he passed through to the bathroom. The image that stared back at him taught him nothing new. A glance at the clock would have been more beneficial. But that was the last thing he needed right now. Two straight concerts and last night’s ball had done it in for him. There was a time, yes. But that time was long gone. Next year he’d be 50. Time to slow down a bit. He’d tried to explain it to the group last week. But they wouldn’t hear none of it. Their only concession was to promise to take things a little easier next season.
The cold water had a cleansing effect on his mind and he soon found himself facing up to the future; at least that part of the future that could be negotiated in the next couple of hours. His first task was to prepare something for that day’s conversation class. What day was it? The subsequent groan showed the extent of Luap’s enthusiasm. An idiom a week. How on earth could he be expected to come up with one of those, today of all days. If only Gina were there. Last time her hands had worked wonders as they kneaded out the knots in his head one after the other. But Gina was long gone. He’d hoped to visit her in Italy in the summer but until then he’d have to make do alone.
In order to create a semblance of trying, Luap sat down at his desk and opened his idiomatic dictionary. But it wasn’t long before the words were melting into one another Luap slipped down the ladder of consciousness before being rudely reminded by the church clock that it was time he was off.
Grabbing his bag, he somehow dragged himself down the stairs and across the road to the school. The few latecomers who had joined him looked at him with a bemused expression. Obviously they weren’t used to seeing the college keep-fit fanatic riding up with them. Or so he thought. Arriving on the third floor, he stepped out as gingerly as he could, straightened up and entered the classroom as if nothing had happened. He placed his bag on the desk and emptied it of its contents in the usual way. But this time nothing came out. He shook it a little firmer. When that still didn’t produce the desired result, he looked inside. Nothing! He straightened up and gave the class the best smile he could muster. Applause broke out from every corner. Luap gawked at the class shell-shocked. Then Sun Li stood up. He only did that when he thought he had guessed the meaning of an idiom.
“Sir, I see you have been burning the candle at both ends.”