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Just before Christmas, Salmiya invited us to lunch at her house. Salmiya was originally a friend of Andrew’s – she was at the party where we first met – but over the years we lost touch.

Some of this was due to her marriage to Ulf about four years ago. At the time, Salmiya and I were fairly close and she called to break the happy news. I had no idea she was even going out with someone. She had been acquainted with Ulf for roughly three months, give or take a day.

I knew she was bound to marry him regardless of anything I said, so I wished her all the best and pounded a steady percussion on Andrew’s eardrum about ‘what is she THINKING?’ (During these one-sided conversations I often referred to her as ‘the girl’, so there you have an idea how much I disapproved.)

Salmiya took to confiding really rather salient details about her and Ulf’s sex life. I’m not used to discussing length, girth, stamina, flexibility and centiliters, so I found it all very stressful. Going around to their place for a barbie was particularly difficult; it was near impossible to maintain polite conversation while Ulf handed around the sausages.

Occasionally I would complain to Andrew about Salmiya’s X-rating, and he used to say things like, “Look, Niamhie, she’s a nice person.”

As if that closed the matter.

One day I phoned Andrew at work:

“Hi honey, it’s me. Just been chatting with Salmiya and I thought you might like to know, she and Ulf had sex last night. Apparently, he came home from work a bit frisky so he groped her for a while beside the fridge and one thing led to another and they moved on to the bedroom. Then Ulf suffered a spot of – I believe the correct term is ‘erectile dysfunction’ – so Salmiya did a sexy dance for him using the bed post as a prop. They opted for the missionary position, but Salmiya went on top for the grand finale.”

There was silence for a moment, then:

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Well, if I have to put up with it, I really don’t see WHY YOU SHOULDN’T TOO.”

Interestingly, Andrew never exhorted me to call her again. No doubt he was worried about the psychological trauma of subsequent barbeques.

About two years ago, I bumped into Salmiya again. She had broken up with Ulf. It transpired he was an alcoholic, which explained why much of their sex life featured erectile dysfunction and sexy dancing. He had also had numerous affairs DESPITE the erectile dysfunction and sexy dancing.

Thereafter Salmiya and I met up sporadically. One night she mentioned an Aussie bloke she’d met the previous weekend. Seemed he was quite keen, but she was not so sure. He also lived in Oman, so the relationship – for want of a better word – was already emitting acrid smoke and what sounded suspiciously like a fizzle.

A couple of months later, I received a text message from Salmiya which read: ‘Am pregnant with Oman guy’s baby and getting married next month’.

I called her to clarify that it was at least the father of her baby she was marrying. I don’t know whether this helps explain anything whatsoever, but unmarried mothers are not allowed to remain in the UAE.

The girl did not use a condom. Obviously, neither did The Boy – but then he didn’t end up incubating a foetus.

Sorry, do I sound prim?

Well, good for me.

So she married Dave (she learned his name when she went to sign the marriage certificate).

Shortly afterwards, we had a hilarious conversation – well it made me laugh – where Salmiya was talking about purchasing a house in preparation for the arrival of the baby. Dave wanted to go halves with her. She said to me, 

“But I’m not sure. I mean, I hardly know him.”

I said: “Salmiya, you’re MARRIED to The Man.”

So ANYHOW, we were invited around to their place for lunch.

But it wasn’t really that interesting

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