‘You said you wanted to talk?’ She said as she sat down at my desk, book in her hand. ‘Well, I’m here.’I pushed my work to one side and set down my pen. ‘Yeh, though now you’re here, I’m not quite sure where to start.’ This was my chance, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to take it.
‘Well, why don’t you start with what’s on your mind,’ she smiled and leaned forward, sun catching her hair in the evening light that flooded through the window, turning it to a gold band across her brow.
‘Ok.’ I sat back in my chair and looked at her. I think perhaps, this was the first time I really saw her and it scared me a little. ‘I want to know why you’ve been avoiding me, I guess.’
‘Avoiding you?’ She laughed. ‘Hasn’t it been the other way around?’
‘What do you mean?’ I was confused. ‘Surely the fact that you’ve not been to visit me in like, what, six months, says a lot, don’t you?’
‘Well, to be honest I’ve not really felt that welcome. Every time I make an overture you seem like you’re busy with other stuff, so I thought “what the Hades...” and went away. If you’d have given me the slightest sign you wanted me around I’d have been there, like a shot. You know that, right?’ Her response made my stomach swim. She was right and I knew she knew I knew it. Damn.
But...’ I began. ‘Ok, it was like you didn’t really need me anymore. I thought - fine, you’ve better places to be...’
She cut me short, ‘For Gods’ sake, don’t be so stupid. You were the one that needed me originally, remember? You asked me for help and things were great for a while. Then... I don’t know,’ she trailed off and sat back in the swivel chair. She shook her head. ‘It was just like you decided to break up with me but you never bothered to tell me. What the hell was that about? I was hurt. If I knew this was going to be a damn tragedy I’d have told you to speak to my sister!’ She stood up and moved away from the desk towards the door.
‘No! Look, I’m sorry, ok? It’s you I want.’ My voice suddenly seemed loud in the room. I didn’t want her to go. ‘I don’t what you to go. I’m sorry.’ Gods, this was uncomfortable. I floundered for the right words and found none. ‘I’m sorry, ok?’ I repeated helplessly as I looked at her, trying to search her depthless eyes for a sign she believed me. ‘I’m just going through this dry patch and it’s frustrating the hell out of me. I guess I was embarrassed. I didn’t want you to see me like that’.
’I know.’ Her soft voice was a balm to my soul. ‘Don’t think I don’t care. I do, it’s just...’ She spread her hands, indicating the piles of papers on my desk. ‘It’s like you need me a little too much? You can do things on your own, you know.’
‘Yeah, I guess I do. But you know what?’ I looked at the PC monitor.
‘What?’ She walked around the desk to look at the flashing cursor on the empty white screen and leaned in close and I could smell her perfume, filling the study with its essence.
‘If you don’t visit, this happens.’ I pointed to the blank whiteness. Then I got up and walked to the shelves. I pointed to the books and magazines. ‘See what happens when you do?’ I opened a folder and pulled out a poem from our last time together and held it out to her. ‘See this? This used to be us. We make a damn good team, you and I. When we really try. Don’t we?’
‘We do. And it’s what I’m here for, right?’
‘Right.’ She walked across the sun-faded rug and kissed my brow. ‘Now get back to work. I’m right here. Is there anything else you want to say to me? She tilted her head quizzically.
‘I suppose I could say thanks.’
She set down her papers and leaned back in the chair, kicking her sandals off under the desk.
‘That’d be a start.’
‘That’d be a start.’
I sat back down too, and picked up my pen. Her presence comforted me, we both felt it.
‘Oh, I nearly forgot,’ She said, as she settled in for the evening, ‘Mum says “Hi”.’ We both laughed at that.