Things Happen For a Reason...
When a series of events take place, and don't turn out like we've expected, it takes a while for us to understand why...
On Monday Maria doesn’t come to work. Nor on Tuesday and she hasn’t appeared today either. She hasn’t been taking my calls either.
After flicking balls of paper into a cup for thirty minutes I resort to another text. I tell her that I am worried and if she doesn’t pick up the phone I will go to her house after work whether Michael is there or not. Then I leave a phone message saying the same thing.
Eventually, just after lunch, she answers the phone.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
“I have a stomach bug.”
“Tell me the truth.” I think she’s lying.
“I’ve been sick.”
“Are you upset with me?”
“No!” She is definitely lying.
“I want to see you. I have to see you Maria.”
“How was Kat?”
“Full of apologies. She wanted me to go back to London; back to my old job and start over again.” I tear up a sheet of paper and roll balls.
“It’s not going to happen.”
“Because…” I pause. I want to scream that I love her.
“I’ve got to go...”
“Wait! You’ve been off work. You haven’t answered my calls and...and, I miss you, Maria. I’ve been worried about you.”
“Not too worried to phone me over the weekend.”
“I left my bag in the office. I had no mobile. I couldn’t remember your number…”
“You were busy with Kat.”
“It wasn’t like that…” I scrunch the paper in my hand.
“No? The last time I saw you on Friday, you were kissing me passionately in the kitchen and as soon as John said Kat was downstairs, you ran out. You couldn’t get down the stairs fast enough.”
“I did that to protect you. To protect us. I didn’t want him to catch us - to see us.”
“You never even spoke to me, Elly. You never even said goodbye.”
“Maria I’m sorry, I...”
“I spent the weekend hoping you would phone me. Hoping you would contact me. I was waiting for you. I even slept on the sofa. I needed you. I spent the weekend fighting with Michael. Then I went down to the sea at Jordanstown just to look across the Lough to see if I could see you in Holywood. I wanted to see you desperately. I can’t live like this Elly. It’s killing me.” She is sobbing.
“Maria,” I plead, “All my telephone numbers are on my mobile. I couldn’t phone anyone until Monday morning. I was lucky I had Auntie Annie’s house keys in my pocket.”
“How convenient!” She’s stopped crying. “At least you had somewhere to go with Kat. Somewhere you could make love to her. Somewhere you could be alone with her. Somewhere that you could rekindle that lost love– ”
“I saw you,” she shouts. “I saw you sitting in the window of the wine bar. She was holding your hand. I saw her stroking and kissing your fingers and you didn’t move. I stood across the road watching you. You still love her–”
“No! I took her to the airport. Nothing happened…”
But Maria doesn’t hear me. She’s already ended the call.