‘It’s been lonely here,’ she said.
‘Isn’t that what you always wanted?’
‘No. No, I didn’t always want to be stuck in my flat without a door. It’s nice to finally see somebody.’
So close to her, it was like melting. He pressed his face into her hair, laced with deep aromas. ‘Lavender,’ he said softly.
And she smiled her charming smile.
And he looked past her. The flat was as abundant with mirrors as it had been before. ‘Hides the smell of your vanity.’
‘I’m sorry I hurt you,’ she said. ‘But please don’t be an arsehole, because there’s no way to kick you out this time.’
It would be so easy to want this, to believe he’d landed where he wanted to be, but he wanted to be with somebody who wanted to be with him.
She answered his question, ‘I don’t know why you’re here. I don’t know why I’m here.’
‘Are we soul mates, even though things didn’t work out?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘But you don’t believe in all that ‘soul mate’ stuff, eh?’
‘Maybe you’re on your way to somewhere else, and this is one of the steps you have to make to deal with one of your many issues!’
‘So you’re supposed to be here, but I’m not? Even now you’re territorial about this flat. I don’t know what the ownership laws are here but I don’t think this is anymore your place than mine.’ His irritation made her smile. He said, ‘It feels stupid arguing in a dressing gown.’
‘Maybe it is.’
He leaned against the wall. ‘I had no idea you were gone.’
Her smile faded, but not completely.
He accepted tea, followed her around the kitchen with his ears, the splash of water in the kettle, the bubbles of tea in the cup. He drank from the cup and could feel it sustaining him. He knew it was all he needed here. Why was there only tea? Maybe this was about issues.
She didn’t know why across the table and overflowing onto chairs and the floor- she had always been a mucky pup- were books and manuscripts. They were poems and stories, and he thought, all that grows on earth sustains man and has a purpose. And then there was poetry. There was something fine about that. They had obscure titles, nothing well known but many somehow familiar. Then he realised, it was the work his father collected from failed poets!
But she didn’t know why.
Life outside the windows remained dark and they talked and read, then one would rise and explore their solitude. If Mark could dream, he might have dreamed of a morning breeze, deep red tomatoes, a homemade soup with all the colours of autumn, of stars and moonlight. And if he cared to he’d contemplate the mysteries, like the fresh scents of flowers, the ever-burning candles, cupboards forever stocked with boxes of tea, or the work of failed poets.
continued from The Tea Room (Part 3)
published 26 March 2012