It was hot and steamy and the beginning of yet another year. Walking between the bus and home saw driplets of sweat dribble down her back beneath the tiny singlet top that was bearable. A long work week was over. It was Friday – the second Friday in January and Maggie had not long moved in to share this apartment. Her flatmate she had nicknamed “Dad”, not because he ws that vintage, but because of his attitude.
Inside she ran and dumped her work bag. She smiled as she changed and prepared to meet some friends at the local hotel. Not that she had ever been there before, but her friend Sammi needed a night out, so they were meeting there. She smiled thinking of the stray male she had invited along, knowing she would not be alone when he arrived – she didn’t quite know what to do with him yet and having him there with others was one way to make that decision.
Stray thoughts floated around her buzzing in her mind like mosquitos while she readied herself. Original it was to be a housewarming bottle of wine and shared company – just the two girls, but the work week was difficult for Sammi so the venue changed.
Where was this place? She could not believe how close it was. I mean – walk to the corner, cross the road and voila!!! Friday night – and as it was early still, the place was not yet humming with life. Summer, daylight, heat, humidity and homeward bound traffic. She had lived there a week or two and never knew it was there, or considered going there.
Sammi was waiting so they sat down and started catching up; work, people they knew, gossip, the occasional comment on those around them in the Bar…. In walked someone her friend knew – whom she had met once before the previous June, briefly. And the bar fell away in the steel grey and intense focus of his gaze. She found herself flirting. And a conversation began. All quiet words, quips and the odd brushing against.
The man Maggie had invited along, came and was an afterthought by that time. She could see only Tony – had turned so totally into him that everything else faded away. The evening wore on, although she did not any more notice the dying of the summer light, nor the passing of minutes and hours. Something in Tony’s gaze and in his quiet mellifluous voice captivated her.
Sammi stood up and announced she was tired and was leaving. He stood up, too, and announced he would take his friend home. Maggie jokingly said he could always come back. They left and the next thing she knew, he was settling back in beside her. Time stood still. They talked.
Eventually the place was closing and they were thrown out. The other man said goodbye and she walked the short distance to her home accompanied by Tony. After all, it was just across the road and down a bit. Twenty minutes in fact if one took it slowly. 1am they left there.
Fast forward to her eventually going inside. Her mind and heart buzzing, she leaned against the newly closed door and glanced at her watch. 4.30. What – it must be wrong. She checked the time in the kitchen. Yes. It was 4.30am.
What had happened to consume 3 and a half hours.
“What do you want from me?” He asked.
An odd question for a first meeting. She didn’t know right then, but she certainly did want to find out more.