why did she drink so much? ( the blame game: who is to blame in this story?)
The day had been long and tiresome, the work drab and uninteresting, still there was the promise of tomorrow, a busier day, one that could keep a weary mind from straying.
It was becoming harder and harder to concentrate as the months passed and the glances turned into more lingering looks. What did he want from her? Was it all just some passing fancy that took him and left as quickly as it came, or was it? It was difficult enough coming to terms with the messy end to a yearlong relationship following a month long visit from her now former lover. The pedestal she had held him on could not withstand the fire he had started and subsequently her love for him crashed and burned with it. Now this. One moment she is sure of her Life, secure in her job, engaged (if only briefly) to a man she was sure she loved wholeheartedly. The next she is looking at the wanted ads in the back of the paper for something new, not knowing what exactly she was looking for. She was embracing hidden moments of unspoken desires with this man, this walking mystery wrapped in an enigma whose eyes spoke of nothing but darkness and intensity. Her life seemed no longer her own.
Her studded heels clicked on the brickwork pavement like a drum beating to the inescapable rhythm of her misery as a few sporadic drops of rain fell from the sky. Her bag felt heavy on her shoulder and she struggled not to trip as she leaned sideward to adjust the strap. You might imagine at this point that she is on her way home, as did she at the time, her feet sore, her back aching and her heart both, this would be no way to begin any enjoyable evening, and that much would remain true.
Turning the corner she saw the face she had so longed to see, her heart suddenly seeming lighter she smiled and outstretched a weary arm in greetings. Across the road, opposite the corner on which she was now standing, there he was. He was a vision. He swept his hair back against the cold breeze and her heart began to dissolve in his gaze. He waved his arm and beckoned her to cross over the road. Without a moments pause she stepped onto the busy road perilously close to the many passing motorists and almost running to avoid a collision as she sped towards him. Walking towards her he smiled jestingly as she caught her breath and fumbled in her pockets for a pack of cigarettes. She pushed the hair away from her face as she placed the cigarette to her lips and took a light from the silver lighter he proffered towards her. As she drew in the bitter smoke he placed his hand over her own to shield the flame that flickered in the wind, she focused her gaze to the flame but she could feel his eyes on her all the while, and the warmth of his hand against her own which were beginning to tremble, maybe with the cold of the evening air or maybe just the desire to return his touch. Exhaling deeply she glanced upwards to meet the warm smile.
Her excitable child like ways never failed to make him smile. Her hair was messy from her dash across the road but even still she seemed to exude a simple kind of beauty. Like a child she would take little persuasion to follow him to their secret hideout, and then the game would begin again where they had last left off. As usual he ordered her a large white wine and brought it to the table he had reserved before he left and waited outside to meet her. The timing of this was of great importance, one minute in the wrong direction and he would not catch her. Once she came to him they would linger outside briefly and then wander inside to the warmth of the corner they frequently shared. Then he would sit opposite her and for a moment as he removed his coat there would be a silence. He was always the first to speak and he didn’t care to rearrange this particular order of events that had become so customary and so the game began.
Their conversations always began the same way. ‘Good day?’ ‘Yeah not bad, you?’ ‘same old same old really, just the usual...’ it was difficult for her to separate these worlds, the office world where she suddenly became invisible as she walked through the door each morning and the outside world where she could be seen, where he would speak to her, a world where she could forget herself.
As she came close to finishing her cigarette she glanced across the road and began figuring what time the next train home would be. It was in half an hour, she wasn’t looking forward to sitting in the cold of the station amidst crowds of noisy commuters on mobile phones and reckless teenagers fooling around on the edge of the platforms shrieking. Then she felt a hand tap her lightly on the shoulder to grasp her attention. She turned back to face her companion. ‘There’s a drink waiting for you in there’ he smiled wryly as she pawed his arm playfully ‘you’re going to get me into trouble...’ she rimed wagging her finger. He knew just how to play her. The sweetness of his smile, the playful way he mocked her and the way that he always seemed to know when she’d had a bad day.
‘So, how are things with you these days...’it was a vague and polite question, something with witch to break the silence most delicately and unobtrusively.
‘Not bad, same as every other day really’ she stated with a mild laugh.
Something in the way he looked at her always seemed to give the impression that he knew what she was really thinking, although he never mentioned it. She glanced about the room awaiting further conversation and he began to talk about the summer party he was planning for the office. He was an interesting person to listen to, if only for the sweetness of his voice and the glorious shape of his lips when he spoke.
She played with her hair and he gestured to her hand as she did so. She stopped.
He laughed ‘why do you do that?’ looking slightly puzzled
‘I don’t know really, I just find it calming I guess’ she said with a smile.
‘You do that quite a lot don’t you? And you run your fingers across your collar bone a lot too’ His gentle laugh was intoxicating as he mimicked her actions.
She wandered for a moment how often a person would have to watch someone to notice such things. They continued to talk for a while as they drank and then went outside for another cigarette.
‘So, how are things with you the misses these days?’ she said, trying to conceal the grin that came when his phone rang the arrival of a text message that was clearly unwelcome.
He smirked briefly and then looking at his phone said ‘she’s not my misses’
‘Could’ve fooled me’ she laughed ‘I just meant, are you still together, getting along, you know....’
‘You have a lot to learn’ he said in a somewhat more serious tone.
She didn’t question him further, she felt that perhaps there were things she was better off not knowing, or perhaps she just didn’t care to. By this point I’m guessing you’ve realised, he’s not single.
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