By John Rathbone Taylor
He was crossing the road, arm in arm with a woman.
An instant pang of jealousy twisted at her stomach muscle, even though it was years since she had seen him. Alice counted quickly, but she already knew the number – two, three, fou.. four years! She saw the trust towards him in the woman’s posture. It infuriated her.
She thought back to their own physical closeness. Did she and Troy used to walk together this close, hold one another so tight? Of course they did. More so! That time on the beach .. their first holiday .. the morning after she first gave herself, and he took ..! She blinked involuntarily as she pictured it. It was so perfect then, more intimate and closer than it could ever be with anyone else but her? When everything was new, yet so immediately strong and secure between them?
It came back to her as it always did, how easy and right it had all felt with Troy. When they talked, the way their asking and answering words seemed to fall together into little unified patterns, like verbal rosaries. How their shared humour and mutual teasing led into the body play of bumped hips or pretend smacks, then all too willingly into passionately eager love-making. A sadder feeling rose in her as she recalled the silent rejoicing in their relationship they both felt when friends and relatives remarked on the aura of “romance” about them, and their “perfect” compatibility.
Alice would never understand why he walked away, less than a year after. She had given Troy her all, made him her everything. He could never find a love so total again. Friends advised her to forget him, to wait for someone else to come along. It was obvious they didn’t know how consuming total love was. How eternal. They wouldn’t understand why every night-time she still whispered her appeals into the universe: “I forgive him. I love him unconditionally. Let him come back to me. I have enough heart and body and soul for both of us.”
Alice gathered herself. This was obviously a fated sighting. The universe had answered her, telling her it was simply wrong for Troy to be with another woman. She had to act now to separate them. She drew breath, bit at her upper lip and stepped forward. As she did so a passer-by knocked in to her causing her to stumble forward. He half apologised but carried on, anxious to be on his way. Alice was distracted by the collision, but she managed to look up and see Troy before he turned the corner. But he was alone!
Where was his woman friend? She scanned the pavement opposite but couldn’t see her. Then she appeared in the doorway of the Patisserie. Alice stared for moments before she registered what she was seeing. The woman was wearing circular darkened glasses. She was stabbing at the steps in front of her with a white cane.
John Rathbone Taylor says he turned to the mischief of writing fiction after retiring from a management career in 2012. He has published microfiction, short stories and a novella on various lit sites and in softback anthologies. John lives in Sheffield, England and convenes a writers group called Many a Tale.