12th July 2009

‘So you’ve lived here since you were five.’  I nodded.  ‘And you have never been outside of Dorset since!’  I nodded again, laughing into my black coffee as Lewis’ face formed an expression that can only be described as a ‘does not compute’ look.  ‘How have you lived?’

‘Well Dad had to raise two kids and maintain a crumbling house all on one salary.  We didn’t have the money for luxuries like holidays.’

‘But surely you’ve got relatives outside of Dorset that you went to visit.’

‘Not that I know of.  My dad was an only child and his parents died years ago.’  I took a sip of the coffee looking out the window of the village’s only café at the quiet streets.

‘What about your mother?’  My muscles tensed involuntarily as soon as the word mother came out of Lewis’ mouth.

‘Dad doesn’t like to talk about her.  I’m not sure what happened to her after we came here, she never tried to find us so I suppose she didn’t care.’  I looked away from Lewis, trying to hide the tears that were welling up in my eyes at the thought of my mother.  If only I could remember her name.

‘So she’s still alive?’  Why wouldn’t Lewis just leave it alone?

‘I suppose so,’ I sniffed.  ‘But as I said, we’ve never heard from her.’  There was an awkward silence and I could tell that Lewis was going to ask another question about my mother so I hurriedly tried to change the subject.  ‘So you’re Mrs Carter’s grandson.’

‘Yes, how do you know her?’

‘Everyone knows everyone here, not much goes on so when something does happen then gossip spreads pretty quickly.  The fact that Mrs Kerin, the woman who runs the corner shop over there, has seen me sitting with an unknown young male in the café will set tongues wagging.’  I laughed at the fickleness of this town but Lewis didn’t seem to share my amusement.

‘I’m not going to get you into any trouble am I?’  He looked so concerned I had to try hard to repress the hysterics that were building up inside me.

‘Of course not.  There’ll be the pointing and whispering as there always is, but that will only last a few days and as soon as you become commonplace, everyone will forget about it.’

‘What will your dad think?’  As he asked the question I knew I was still a little sore from the argument earlier and replied quite snappily.

‘I’m an adult, I can do what I want.’  Lewis visibly jumped back as the words flew from my mouth.  ‘Sorry,’ I said, quickly backtracking, ‘it’s a bit of a sore spot at the moment.’

‘I’m sorry to hear about that.’

‘Don’t be, it’ll pass, these things always do in our house.’  I put on my smiley face again, looking at the clock on the wall.  ‘But having said that I should be getting home.  If I’m not back when Rupert’s made dinner then it’ll be fish and chips again.’  I laughed as we both stood up simultaneously and wondered what to do next.  Were we well enough acquainted to go for a hug?  Or were we still at the handshake stage?  Thankfully Lewis took the first step by going in for the hug and I wrapped my arms aroung him, hugging him back.

‘Well it’s been great meeting you, hopefully next time I see you, you won’t look like you’re about to kill yourself.’  I laughed at his slightly morbid humour.

‘I hope so too.’  I stood there like an idiot for a few seconds.  ‘This is the part where I go.’  I took my jacket off the back of my chair and put it on as I moved towards the door.

‘Oh by the way.’  Lewis rooted around in his jacket pocket before handing me a smart looking business card.  ‘There’s my number if you ever want to chat.’

‘Thanks.  How long are you around for?’

‘Not sure yet, but it’ll probably be for a week or two.’

‘OK then.  I’ll definitely see you around then.’  After this final exchange, I eventually made it out the door, feeling a bit of a fool for hanging around for so long.  ‘I’ll definitely see you around?  This is the part where I go,’  I muttered to myself as I headed home.  ‘What were you thinking Evelyn?

The End

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