Alicia was pondering on the meaning of life.
Alicia Hector sat on the tube her eyes fixed on some undetermined spot ahead. Not that she was actually looking at anything – it just served as somewhere to fix her gaze while she scavenged through the thoughts in her head.
There was a couple sitting opposite her. They were both white haired and sat hands entwined. He turned and looked at her and she smiled, eyes coming alive in a face criss crossed with age and wisdom.
That was how it was meant to be.
Love. Till death do us part?
She closed her eyes and thought of her Mother and her lips trembled. The consultants report had not been encouraging.
Please God. It’s just her now. We can’t lose her.
On the way back I held her hand and she called me Ali.
She hadn’t called me that since I was a kid.
Germaine was driving. Being a typical man, he said very little.
Men. They can’t handle stress and health problems like this were beyond her brother’s area of expertise. Like most of his sex, he didn’t ‘do’ stress.
Mother had laughed and said something about us getting a move on with the grandchildren……..
She looked up and saw she was a station away from her destination.
Life is ……life is work, work interspersed with church, the occasional wedding, birthday or holiday abroad. Life is worry, joy, anxiety, unfulfilled longing, rushing deadlines, conferences, and the broken fax machine. Life is her boss Mr Chambers complaining about suppliers, its Liz and the rest of the girls at work complaining about their boyfriends and husbands. It is Anton Williams giving her the once over as she stands at the photocopier, making copies of a report for the Management team……
She could see him from the back of her eyes, although he did not know it. She could see herself reflected in his eyes as he stood there admiring the view she presented with her back to him.
“I’m going to be some time. I’ve got quite a few reports to copy.” She said without turning around.
“Don’t worry. I can wait.”
She turned to face him and tried to hide the grimace. “OK then.” She shrugged.
He stood there towering over her. His eyes narrowing as if he was trying to see her better.
“Maybe it’s a Monday thing.”
She frowned. “You what?”
“Monday blues……you look as if you’ve got the world on your shoulders.”
Not now. I am not in the mood for polite conversation. Just run along and ogle one of the other girls. They would love it. I am not your type and can see straight through you…
“I’m ok. Anton.”
He wouldn’t leave it.
“What happened to the bubbly girl that goes around preaching to everyone in the office irregardless of whether they want to hear or not……
Alicia closed her eyes. She could feel a tear welling up and blinked it back furiously. She picked up her reports and walked past him silently.
Anton watched her go and shook his head.
Was it something I said?
Anton stared at the reflection of the woman in the mirror. He was in his bathroom brushing his teeth and wondering what was wrong with him.
Her face was pinched with anger. She was putting on her make up and fluffing up her hair.
“ Are you alright Anton?”
“ Of course.”
She came up behind him her eyes full of the promise of something he used to want, but had lost the appetite for. “ You can tell me. I mean this is the first night Ive spent here and we didn’t…..”
He looked at her again and he felt as much desire for her, as last nights supper. He thought to let her down gently. He couldn’t tell her the truth. He was just coming to terms with it himself. He mumbled something about being tired, and dealing with something at work and there being a lot on his mind and watched her large greedy eyes glitter mockingly.
“Just as long as youre not seeing anyone else…”
His face was wry. “ No Tanya. Im not seeing someone else.”
She stared at him compassion filling her eyes. “ Have you gone to see your Doctor, Anton. There might be something really wrong with you. I mean usually you …..”
Anton put up a hand to stop her. “Yes Leticia. I get the picture.” His usual amorous propensities were not something he wanted to think about this morning.
She reached up and kissed him full on the mouth and he moved back a little.
She stared at him and shook her head. “ You need help you nah.”
When she had left he made himself a coffee and sat thinking about the forty years of his existence.
Like he had changed. His appetite had changed. It was like you liked a certain thing but now your taste buds had changed and you wanted something entirely different. In fact you wanted that thing so bad that you were bored with what you had before. Yes. It was Alicia and he still wanted her. It wasn’t just the natural desire for a woman, although it played a part in it, it was more. It was thinking about a certain person, caring about her, wondering who she was with, how she was doing and more recently how was she coping with her Mothers illness.
How beautiful she looked when she wasn’t frowning at him or she was unaware of his gaze. How her kindness and generosity to everyone was something that he hadn’t found in any other woman.
Leticia had thought he had problems because they hadn’t gone to bed together last night not knowing that his mind was on someone else. He couldn’t touch her, couldn’t make love to her when all he wanted to do, if he was honest was to take Alicia Williams in his arms and never ever let her go. If she had spent the night at his there was no way he would be driving her home at 8am on a Saturday, No way.
Anton Williams. Your mind ……..
Yeah. Whatever it was he had it bad. For the first time he found himself thinking about the M word without breaking into a cold sweat.
He would bide his time. He could see that slowly, tentatively he was begginging to break down the wall of China she had built around herself.
He thought of her large eyes on him and that wide generous mouth that was just made for kissing and he smiled. He even liked that prim and proper exterior because he liked the challenge of finding out what lay beneath it.
Yes. He would take his time and see how things turned out.
She was worth waiting for.
He would do whatever necessary to prove his feelings to her.