Saturday, 11 October 2014


The man lay on the bed with his arms over his eyes. Beside him the woman stared up at the ceiling lost in her own thoughts. The moonlight entering through the windows fell on their naked bodies. In that light both were equals in color. One wasn’t more beautiful or perfect than the other.

The man was old, 77 in fact. The woman compared to him was young. Her hair had gone gray only at the temples, the wrinkles she had were few and only helped in accentuating her beauty. They lay together on the bed but each confined to their own minds.

The corners of the man’s lips quivered in a smile. 'After many years the beast finally decides to hang up his coat.'

The woman was silent.

The man took his other hand and scratched his loins.

‘Age can do that to you.’ the woman’s voice sounded in the moonlight.

The man swung his leg out of the bed and sat there on the edge.

‘Yes. But you never expect it to come to you.’

He took a flower from the vase on the bedside table. It was from the bouquet he had brought for her. He sat there fingering it and tore each petal off.

'Is this the end?' asked the woman still not looking at him.

The man tossed the petal less stalk away.

'If it wasn’t this then another. I meant to tell you, I don’t have a job anymore. I quit the newspaper. Well more like I was fired.' the man smiled ruefully. 'The editor dropped me a subtle hint that I had outgrown my usefulness. I could either quit or wait to get fired.'

'What will you do for money?' she said sitting up on the bed and drawing her legs close to her looking at his liver spotted back.

'They gave me a small pension. They couldn’t let me go like that, after all once upon a time I was their star reporter.’ He paused.

‘Once upon a time…’ he whispered his eyes filling with tears. ‘That was a term I thought I would never use to describe myself.’

He put his hand over his eyes. She moved closer to him and rubbed his back.

He wiped his tears away and turned to look at her. ‘The pension is just enough to get me through each month. I can’t afford you anymore Isabel.'

They sat there looking at each other for some time. Then she got up off the bed and started to dress. The man still sat there watching her.

She spoke as she was pulling on her skirt 'Do you remember the first time you came to me?'

The man’s eyes shined in nostalgia. 'I remember. I was your first. You were just 15 and you were so timid and scared back then. You didn’t even look at me when I entered. Just lied on the bed turned away from the door. And when I turned you over I saw the tears that had run down your cheeks. I kissed them away. You were my first in over 3 months, the first since my wife died. And when I saw your tears I remembered her. I remembered all the nights of our marriage when I came into the bedroom and saw her crying as well.'

'You have been married twice since that. Why didn’t you stop coming to see me?’

He remained silent looking at her silhouetted against the silver light of the moon.

‘When I was very young I always wondered why you only saw me. I wasn’t all that good in bed, there were other girls that were infinitely more skilled than I, of that I was sure. And you were rich back then, you could have had anyone you wanted. Even Eliza, the queen of the most amorous dreams of men.'

She had finished dressing and was staring out of the window to the streets drowning in the moonlight. The man looked away from her silent.

'How is Melinda?'

'She is fine, doing better than me when I was her age. She inherited your wit and charm and more beauty than even her mother. She is lavished with gifts by rich men. Men bring presents to her just to have the luck of spending an hour with her. She makes her choices. She leads men around on a leash. They treat her like a queen.'

'Does she come to see you often?'

'Yes, when she can. i am her mother after all and she loves me. She brings me gifts, helps out around the house. She asked about you the other day.'

'Hm.... she is too old for teddy bears now isn’t she?'

'She always loved the gifts you gave her and she loved you as well from the bottom of her heart. She would like to see you sometime. A father’s love is eternal just like a mother’s.'

He got up and started to dress. 'I guess this is goodbye Isabel'

'It doesn’t have to be you know. You can come by sometimes. I can cook you dinner, you can stay over for the night. It’s only you nowadays. You are the only one who comes to see me. Everyone else has left.'

He stopped while buttoning up his shirt and looked at her silhouetted in the window.

'I would like that'

She turned to him and smiled.

'I love you Isabel'

'I know.'


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