In Her Words(13)

By: J.S Ellis


‘That’s your third one,’ he warned.

‘Who are you, my mother?’

‘Fine,’ he said, ‘your funeral, lady.’

A waitress stopped at my side to clear away my napkins, I grabbed them before she could.

‘These are mine,’ I said.

‘I was just going to take them out of your way,’ she said.

‘I didn’t ask you to move them, did I?’

‘Whatever,’ the waitress said.

‘I’m sick of people touching my stuff,’ I mumbled.

The barman placed my refill and a bowl of peanuts in front of me. ‘Eat something,’ he said.

‘You eat something.’

I sighed, reaching for the fresh glass of whiskey, and noticed Michael two stools away, leaning against the counter. His blue eyes burned into me. I didn’t know for how long he had been standing there, but he had a look of total disapproval. He’s twenty-one for crying out loud, doesn’t he drink?

‘Oh, don’t look at me like that,’ I said, taking a sip of my whiskey that set my throat on fire.

‘Like what?’ he said.

‘You know what I mean.’

He moved to sit next to me. ‘Whenever I see you, you’re either buying alcohol or consuming it... you should slow down.’

‘You came here to tell me this?’

‘No.’

‘Are you working?’ I asked.

‘No, I just came here to pick up some stuff. Why?’

‘How about a drink, I owe you one?’

‘I don’t think it would be a good idea,’ he said.

‘Why not?’

He noticed the wedding ring.

‘Oh, I see, I said, looking down at my ring. ‘And that should stop me from talking with you?’

He smiled, and ordered a bottle of beer.

‘Have you got a girlfriend?’

His eyes looked me up and down. I felt myself blushing or was it my body? ‘No,’ he replied.

‘Oh,’ I said, remembering the girl I’d seen him smitten with, ‘I see.’

We sat in silence for a while, watching the band and taking sips of our drinks.

‘Is this what you do?’ I asked.

‘What do you mean?’

‘A musician, is this what you do for a living?’

‘Yes’

‘From where do you get the inspiration to write such wonderful music?’ I asked.

He reached for the beer. ‘I will get it from the landlady every month.’

I laughed hard. ‘But you live with Evelyne.’

‘Yes, but I am renting a place of my own, it’s getting too crowded over there, and I need my privacy.’

‘You’re moving out?’ I asked, and signaled the barman for a refill. Is that why he was in Camden to look for an apartment?

‘Soon, how about you don’t refill that drink,’ he said, putting the bottle of beer down.

‘And if I don’t, what happens then?’

‘I guess there’s only one way to find out,’ he said smiling.

Michael tapped his hand against the counter, abandoning his beer. ‘I’m out of here.

‘See you later, mate.’ The barman said.

Michael stood in front of me, hands in his jacket pocket. ‘What do you do?’

‘I’m an accountant.’

‘Are you keeping your whiskey receipts?’

‘I am.’ I laughed

‘Were you always an accountant?’

We began to walk. ‘Yes... so you have no other interest besides being a musician?’

‘You sound like my mother.’

‘Sorry.’

‘Where did you learn to play?’

‘I learned to play the flute at music school, and then switched to sax... how long you been living here in Notting Hill?’ he asked.

‘Eleven years, right after I got married.’

‘You’ve been married for eleven years?’

‘Yes... why so shocked?’

‘You married young.’

‘I was a fool in love.’

He stopped walking. ‘Are you still a fool in love?’

I laughed. ‘You ever been in love?’

‘Yeah...’ he said.

I thought of the brunette with him the other day. Was she the lucky lady? But he said he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Maybe he has more than one girlfriend, so what?

It felt like he was flirting with me, and I was flirting right back. Going to bed and waking up with the same man can be a little boring after all. I’m not complaining, as far as I’m concerned, despite the drinking. I have been a good wife. Loyal, dutiful, and caring. I’ve stood behind Richard through the good times and the bad. After the operation, I took time off from work and nursed him, making sure he was comfortable. I never complained. I did what I had to do as a wife, through sickness and health. I took those vows seriously.