Lifes too Short
It was the day after her divorce that we met along the cobble steps and took a walk toward the park. I daren’t look at her, for fear of someone catching us. We strolled passed the row of oak trees lining the grass verge and an old lady walking her dog, until finally we could see the bench off to the far right hidden by a rosebush flourishing in the morning sun. It was the same bench we’d sat on the week before, and the week before that.
Her eyes looked ahead as we sat side by side. ‘Give it a minute’ she cooed.
We sat there with the sun on our backs, waiting as the old woman and her dog disappeared into the distance. At last we were alone. She turned to look at me and for a second we made eye contact.
‘Is it done?’ I asked as my eyes traced the shape of her jaw line, down her neck which was white against her dark hair casually falling onto her shoulders. She was beautiful.
She placed her hand on top of mine and her thumb softly rubbed the skin there, comforting my nerves. I watched her mouth open – unable to answer when the bush behind us began to rustle. Her thumb had stopped moving but her hand seemed to grip a little harder for it. She looked over her shoulder just the once to check. ‘Yes, he signed the papers.’
I watched the breeze blow her dark hair away from the white flesh that I hadn’t been able to look away from till now. My eyes artfully moved up from where they’d fallen - the open button on her blouse. Her eyes seemed to cloud over when she caught me.
‘How do you feel?’ I asked.
She smiled and nodded, looking away again. ‘I’m feeling, strange’ she sighed, her thumb once again reassuring me with a gentle stroke back and forth. I looked down at our hands, only to find her attention on me when looked up again.‘I do want you, for so long I’ve wanted this, you and me!’ she assured me.
I watched her eyes spill tears of relief down her face, I was unable to speak as her hair blew and stuck to her damp cheeks. That's when I decided this wasn’t the best place to sit, where the wind was hitting us straight on. My knees touched hers slightly as I turned and used my free hand to push the mislaid strands away from her face behind her ear.
‘You had me before, you have me now. If you need me to wait then I will wait. Tomorrow, a month, a year, always’ I smiled, trying to control my desire to lean forward and hold her - I wanted nothing more than to hold her. Her face changed and she returned the smile, only then moving her hand to reach into her pocket.
‘What is it?’ I asked curiously.
She didn’t answer me, instead pulling out a pack of Frank’s cigars. She lifted them up and pouted, ‘His signature wasn’t enough!’ she said, wiping the tears and opened the tin on her lap. I laughed mischievously when she peeled her ex-husband’s cigar from its seal and placed it between her kissable red lips.
‘Got a light?’ she muffled with the digit now between her teeth.
I reached into my jacket and lifted the lighter toward her. She placed her own hand up blocking the breeze. Once lit, she took a drag and let her hand fall on mine again and blew smoke into the other direction. Eye’s connected - she smiled - she puffed. Her hand moved down my thigh to the bass of my skirt where she gently held my leg. She coughed at the third drag, lowering her head as the smoke came clumsily from her mouth.
‘Jesus, you sucked that hard didn’t you?’ I rubbed her back when the chance was given to me.
She dropped the cigar on the floor and stamped it out with her shoe. ‘Damn him, that man chokes me even now!’ with the nub dead she lifted her shoe away and moved in closer again, her hand moved up just a little but not too much.
‘You think he will know you stole them?’
‘Yes!’ she snorted and laughed. ‘I hope he does. That and the bottle of Gin I stole.’
I frowned, ‘No, not his Gin?’
‘And his wallet’ she added.
My eyes widened, ‘You took his wallet?’
‘No!’ She laughed and her hand reached half way up my thigh. I sighed, feeling my body lose any grace against her touch. ‘Well,’ she began to explain ‘I only took enough to book us a room in a hotel, about half a mile from here’ she finished and removed her hand.
I watched her stand and felt the cold breeze return against me. ‘What, now?’ I asked in a daze.
She straightened her jacked, patted her skirt and nodded proudly. ‘Not tomorrow, or the day after that and certainly not in a year. Yes now!’ she reached her hand out to help me up and I accepted it. We began walking back down the path, not noticing or caring for the eager speed at which we moved or for the people we passed.
My granddaughter looked at me with a sad face. ‘What happened? Where is she now?’
I brushed my skirt off and placed my china cup on my lap. ‘Things were different in those days my dear, society proved harder to live with than we thought.’
‘But, you loved her?’ she chirped.
That’s when my husband walked in with a plate of biscuits for our visitor. He placed them aside and put his hand on my shoulder ‘catching up?’ he grinned and moved away in search of his news paper, an avid fan of the crossword at the back.
I looked back at my granddaughter. The question was still brewing in her.I sighed. ‘Yes, I did. I really did.’ I nodded and lifted the plate of biscuits to her. ‘Now, you want my advice about your situation sweetheart, I say go on, take the chocolate one because life’s too short!’