The moon peeped in through the coconuts leaves, as if trying to eavesdrop. The strong breeze from the sea blew her hair across her face. At some distance the waves were breaking, softly enough for me to hear her sighs. She leaned forward across the table and formed an extra curtain of palms around mine to help me light up a cigarette.
"Thanks," I said, as I sat back and took a sip of the beer.
"As I was saying," she continued, "I can't have sex with a man unless I am in love with him."
"Yes, if I love a man, I wouldn't mind sleeping with him."
"But why go through the whole process of falling in love?"
"Without love I can't have sex. And it doesn't take me long to fall in love; it can take just three or four days. I just know when there is an emotional connect."
"Of course there has to be an emotional connect," I said. "But I wouldn't call it love?"
"But you do believe in emotional connect, don't you?"
"Are you tipsy already?" I asked.
"Just one Bloody Mary, what bloody tipsy!" she laughed.
"So how is it going with Atul?"
"Hey come on! Just because I was talking about him does not mean I am in love with him or going to sleep with him. Come on, I know him since the time we were kids. We grew up together!"
"Yeah, I like him and all, but not in that sense."
"And you know, he drinks only beer. And I don't like men who drink only beer."
I looked at my glass and suddenly felt like a man who had been caught with his fly open. She read my thoughts instantly.
"I know you are drinking beer now, but I also know that you have other drinks too, don't you?"
"Yes, I usually drink whisky."
"See! I knew."
"I read you."
"Oh! But what is your problem with men drinking only beer?"
"When a man drinks only beer, it means he is playing it safe and is not open to adventure. Such men are not my kind."
"I like that!" I said. I flicked the ash of the cigarette, even though there was no ash to be flicked, and turned my gaze to the sea, which was now so black that it had merged with the blackness of the sky.
I found it safer to gaze at the nothingness than looking into her eyes.