Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Inches Apart

They were inches apart on the map, but worlds apart in reality and millimeters when they were close. She could be at his local pub or park in under an hour. She'd love to go there when he wasn't there just to see what it was like. Make up for all the postponed invites. Meet his friends who knew all about her....or some of his ex-wives. There, not there. It no longer mattered.

She had just finished putting her mother on the plane after a month long visit. She was beaming as she boarded the tube...freedom. She needed a reward. She saw him. He was grinning back. He got up to leave. She asked, "don't you have a business card or something?" He had more than that.

I can't invite you up. I've got a Japanese woman in my bed. I'm teaching her English this week. Just a minute. I have to get something out of my shed. Where's the light switch? Oh. It's not working. Damn.

Years went by. She had asked to meet his children as they knew all about her. "One day, you will definitely meet them. We'll go camping together." he said as he packed up his motor with one of his eleven tents. They were all different sizes and weights for the various combinations of weather, participants, and duration. She grew tired of the one days. So one day, when she spilled juice on her mobile and it got stuck on "inbox", she dumped it in the drawer and decided that anyone who needed to be in touch, would be. Three years of happy one days.

They slipped into a cosy bar with low wooden stools. She clenched his leg with her thighs. You asked me if I was married. We're not married. You didn't think I slept alone did you? Come on. Anyway, we're separated now. What a revelation. He was her main course. She was his side dish. She got the feeling he was slumming it despite the scintillating meals under chandeliers and the expensive bottles of wine.

The Moon and Thirteen Cantons. They discussed a couple nearby. Work colleagues? Students? I think she fancies him more than he fancies her. How well did they know each other? Would they go home together tonight? They pondered and whispered and laughed. As it turned out, the feeling was mutual, but they were a new awkward couple. How long have you two been together? You seem to be so in love. They were....when they were together.

They walked down to Soho to catch Freya playing in a small club. Australian, just moved here from Paris...a mutual friend. It was sold out, so they took a taxi to a derelict part of town and she introduced him to a friend of hers who was too high to reply. "What do you do?" he asked. "How do you do would be easier. What do I do? Hmmm." She scanned her brain for the answer, but it was dead. I get the feeling your friends are all slightly damaged.

He was utterly perplexed by the intricacies of her upscale, downtown and uptown, downscale bohemian life. Only you would end up in a monastery in Venice with your hostess escaping from the mafia. She was impressed with the clarity and efficiency of his life and his practical agenda. "We're going to have a wonderful meal, then a series of orgasms until breakfast. You will stock up on some fancy sausages as you know I polish off every star of your superior fry ups. " It did leave her refreshed, but tired. Surely, he would accompany her to her old friends; wedding. "Versaille? Let me get a pencil. I'm definitely free that weekend. " But he wasn't. She decided that would be their last conversation. But it wasn't.

He had been top of the list for too long despite his irregular schedule. He slipped down the list as the months went by and she attended the wedding alone. She had even left her son behind. He had to see her before he left the country. He phoned and phoned, but it was always that annoying cough....a message he used to find amusing. It really might be a longer hiatus than usual. He dug up her land line.

He was verbose, but entertaining. Here he was telling an amusing tale of a party he had been to with his oldest son. He had bravely chatted up the best looking woman at the party and complimented her on her mini. She was pleasantly flexible. She bent over and showed him how it was also a sport skirt. He felt the fabric and accidentally caressed her ass. He complimented her on its tight weave. He had the silent applause of all the men in attendance. He had told this story before. That particular skirt had obviously burned itself into his retina.

They were inches apart on the map, but miles apart in reality. She had been there before. It was just a variation on a theme. There were still inches to go. 

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