January 17, 2016
Finally, by the middle of the morning I finished with the grueling work I had to do during the last few days and suddenly, when the engine stopped, I found myself drifting. I knew I had to find something to do, and something that possibly didn’t involve the computer or the phone.
By that time, I had already had the morning walk with Rex, and as the weather was mild – then, we took the walk in the woods, which in the end turned out to be a very bad idea as there were patches of ice long and wide – you couldn’t find a safe place to step for nothing in the world.
I am sure we made a quite funny show, both of us sliding this way and that, trying to keep our balance. Had Rex fallen, the distance to the ground for him, wouldn’t have been too long, but had I fallen, then I’d have really felt the drop – the distance is a bit longer for the fall, my body mass and gravitation would have interacted and believe me, I’d have really felt the fall. Plus, there’s always that fear lurking somewhere at the edges of my mind, that I would twist my ankle or worse, and no one would be able to help me.
Rex has a very strict policy: no one gets close to me, and the allowed distance is half a meter in his good days. People that tried to dispute his policy on distance in the past met with unfortunate results.
Luckily we made it safe back home and I continued with my work till I finished with everything. I breathed deeply for a few moments and then a question aroused: what now?
I felt a bit lost not having to do something. I could choose and that turned into a conundrum as I’d have liked to do a lot of things but I didn’t know which one to do first.
In the end, I did a little of everything: I read a little, I played with the dog, I did some housework (that not by choice but by necessity) and of course I verified my blog. Oh, bother, no comment left! That clearly means you didn’t like it at all. Well, I will have to think of writing something else.
Let’s see if you like the following piece. It is the beginning of another novel named: Double-Edged.
Maybe this time I hear from you so that I know which one to continue.
She was sitting in the lobby with a magazine in her lap, pretending to be lost in an article. She was wearing a huge blue slouch-hat that was covering half of her face, perfectly matching the short summer dress exposing her long and tanned legs, and a pair of big black sun-glasses that made her look like Audrey Hepburn in Charade.
Hidden behind the lens her eyes were actually watching the people coming to the front desk carefully. She had already arranged with the young man from the front desk to give her a sign when the person of interest would come. He was supposed to raise his hand, like he’d say “just one moment”, and then turn away.
Two couples came by and they took their keys so she didn’t bother with them anymore. Finally, a tall, dark man came to the front desk and spoke to the clerk. This one nodded, raised his hand, the sign they pre-arranged, and then took a bag from behind the counter and handed it to him. The man took it and then turned around, his eyes brushing over the people in the lobby.
She imagined he wasn’t too impressed with her because after looking at her from head to toe, taking his time when he got to her legs, he turned and went towards the elevators with no worry in the world.
As always, her senses perceived nothing clear and that annoyed her a little. This was the first person in the world she couldn’t read at all. She imagined that at least in his presence, being so close, something would come up, but apparently, she was wrong. He was completely opaque to her vision and that increased her frustration.
When she couldn’t see him anymore, she stood up and put the magazine on the table next to her and walked slowly towards the front desk herself. The young man smiled at her with a little more than the professional smile he showed everyone. She figured it was the effect of the huge tip she’d given him a little while before but somehow she knew she was a little wrong.
He actually enjoyed the game and imagined all sorts of scenarios in his head. Her hat and big sunglasses, as well as the vague clandestine air of the affair he was involved in, made him feel like something special was happening in his life.
“I’ll be leaving this afternoon, I think. I won’t be waiting till morning. Of course, I will pay for tonight, no worries,” she said smiling apologetically to the young man full of hope.
She could bet he was hoping something more would follow but it was only one scene to be played, and that had already ended. She got what she had come for and the game was finished.
“We’re very sorry you’re leaving, ma’am. Didn’t you like your suite?”
“Oh, yes, don’t worry. But I’ve already rented a house on the beach and I was thinking to profit from it right now, you know. There’s the sea and a pool just for me… Would you mind preparing my bill till I get back downstairs with my luggage?”
“No, of course, it will be ready when you come back,” the man said and rushed to the computer to prepare the bill.
She left the lobby going towards the elevators and pressed the button. Deep in her thoughts, she didn’t notice the man behind the column watching her, although she could feel the fine hair on her neck straight up. She didn’t have any idea that he could have caught the words she exchanged with the clerk and as she had already decided to end that chapter of her life, she tried not to think of him anymore.
She went to her suite and in less then ten minutes she was already downstairs. As she hadn’t bothered to unpack that morning when she came, she didn’t have too much to do to gather her things.
She paid her bill and asked the valet to bring her rented car in front. It was a small car, nothing fancy, something just good to get around. The valet had lowered the top of the car and only that little gesture made her smile and feel that her vacation had begun.
Then he put the only suitcase she had in the trunk and the bag with the laptop in the back seat of the car. She gave him a banknote together with a big smile, which really made the young boy’s day.
Once in the car she turned the key in the ignition and turned on her navigation system inputting the address she was looking for.
Then she took the hat off and shook her head letting her hair falling over her shoulders in curly waves. It had the colour of the honey with a few shades of red here and there and it was shiny in the light of the afternoon sun.
She was feeling relieved. Now things had to go back to normal. No more restlessness and unanswered questions. The life she knew so well was back. It was the life she wanted, where control was in her hands and where she could know beforehand where she stood with the people around.
She drove her car off the driving alley of the hotel and got onto the road towards the beach without noticing that a little behind her a black SUV was pulling out, following her.
She was driving steadily, without rush. She knew the house would be there when she’d get there. She was on vacation after all and what she had to do was over.
Now there was only the sun, the ocean and she, lying on the beach, swimming in the pool in the evening, far from the world and far from anything that would have tormented her mind and her feelings.
Somehow it had been nice to have those feelings that made her unease. It had been nice the restlessness they brought with them. But it was nicer to be yourself, to pace yourself without trying to figure out things that couldn’t be figured out.
The trip was not long. Within fifteen minutes she stopped in front of a bungalow right on the edge of the beach. She drove under the shelter improvised for a car and put up the top.
She got out of the car and breathed in the salty air of the sea. The breeze was playing in her hair and she felt a short jolt of pleasure.
She took out her suitcase from the truck and reaching in the back of the car, she took out her laptop. Then she let herself into the house and closed the door behind.
The interior was everything she had been expecting. It was vivid and warm the same time. The furniture was light in the living room and consisted mostly in osier.
She put her laptop on the little coffee table and looked for the bedroom. She had to climb a few stairs to get there but she was pleased with what she saw. The light of the sun was bringing up the yellow of the walls and the brick-colored cover of the bed. It was intimate and she felt she could find her peace of mind in there. She had connected with the house. Now, she could be part of it.
She left the suitcase on the floor next to the bed and, without bothering to change the designer dress she had on, she decided to go on the patio that faced the sea at the back of the house.
She poured herself a glass of wine in her way out and she took her cell phone out. She knew a call had to come. She went outside where she found a few osier armchairs and a round table covered by a big colorful umbrella.
On the sand, beyond the patio there were two deck chairs ready for her when she wanted to sunbath, right on the edge of the pool. And just a little farther, maybe a two–minute stroll, there were the waves of the sea.
She put the glass and the cell phone on the table and sat on one of the armchairs, raising her legs on another.
She closed her eyes for a few seconds and let her mind wander, with no precise aim. She only wanted to shudder away the impressions of that day, to leave them behind in the past where they belonged. She had seen what she had come to see and she didn’t want to think about that anymore.
Then the phone rang. Reluctantly she looked at the display. As always, it showed private number. She made a naughty grimace – that one that made her look so young despite her years, and answered.
“Kate, it’s you, sweetheart?”
“Yes, it’s me, of course,” she said trying to cover a growl growing in her throat.
There were moments like that when she simply loathed that word: sweetheart. She wasn’t able to read sincerity or insincerity in his words, and that drove her crazy. She could not understand for one second why he was the only person she had ever got in touch with that she couldn’t define.
“Thank you, my love, I got it. You are fantastic!”
His voice was low and hoarse and seemed pouring something itchy on her skin. She could feel every nervous termination getting excited.
“Of course, I am,” she thought, “fantastically stupid, maybe!” but she said: “Then everything is all right, yes?”
“Yes, my dear. You sound so close now, usually I cannot hear you so well,” he wondered.
“Probably you’ve got a good line,” she replied.
Of course, he could hear her better. They were in the same town, but, she wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Now everything we’ll be all right. I’ll finish everything here and come to you!”
“Don’t hurry on my account!”
“What do you mean?” he asked with the same tone he had whenever he wanted to show her he was angry. There was a lower tone in his voice and a hint of more authority.
“I mean I might have to leave for a while. Family problems, you know. Of course, my phone won’t work outside the country. I’ll call you when I can, all right?”
He didn’t answer anything for a while.
“Are you still there?” she asked.
“Yes, I am. I am here. And when I say here, that means here,” the reply came angrily, and then she heard footsteps on the veranda surrounding the house and he came in sight shutting down his phone.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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