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Thursday, September 28, 2006

An Interlude to Lunch

As Mr. X's daughter walks out of earshot, B asks, "Did you have to invite her to lunch?"

"B, I'm surprised at you. You're usually only rude to people you don't know."

She raises a dark eyebrow, "That's what you think."

"What exactly do you have against her?"

"Nothing..."

"But?"

B gives me an even darker glance as we approach her vehicle. A few feet away, the young girl is already in her own car. We can hear the engine's waiting purr.

"It's just that she's butting into our lunch - with you're help, that's all."

I open the car's passenger door, "With your help, Honey B and don't you forget it." I get in, without a break in speech, "I don't know what's going on in your head, and I don't want to know, but if something has backfired now, that's not my problem. She was there, it would have been rude not to invite her."

"And what is 'with my help' supposed to mean?" B gets in the driver's side, and sits down with an indignant shake.

"Why did you tell Mr. X's daughter all those things about me?"

"What things?"

I reminded her about certain parts of my conversation with the young girl before B had arrived - about roses and things.

"Oooh - those things."

"Those things."

"Why not? You know me, I say what is in my head at the time. I tell everyone. Oh, it's no use pretending - You know I don't keep secrets and tell everyone everything."

I recline back in the seat, a man resigned to his fate. We are not here to change people, I think. What can you do?

"Well I did one more thing - I gave her your number, yesterday." B rushes the last part, before I get a chance to speak. "Now, before you go ape on me, she could have got it from anyone - including her dad."

Calmly putting the seatbelt on, I reply, "Why should I be mad? You know what you're doing. But she could've asked me."

As B turns the key in the ignition, something splutters to life along with the sound of turning pistons. "Come on, B," I ask. "Why didn't she?"

I can see she is arguing with herself over something, and suddenly one side wins - though which side I can't guess - and she decides to reach behind to the back seat of the car. I watch her pull back with a Manilla folder. She opens it, and picks out an envelope from in between some legal papers. Throwing it at me, she says, "I was told to burn it."

I look at the white epistle lying innocently on my lap, "What is it?"

As B checks her rear mirror, she responds, "Open it."

"B, you know I hate games."

"Humour me."

I sigh, "Don't I always?"

"No, you don't kiddo. But, please, do it this time."

My ears perk up at the sound of the word "please". It must be serious. I open the purple paper sheath without saying another word.

"B, this isn't funny." I shake the contents of the envelope at her. "How am I meant to read that?"

"It was meant for you, but she lost the courage so she tore it up - and gave it to me to throw away."

"Who - oh."

"Yes - oh."

"Why did she give it to you? I didn't know you and she were that close."

"We're not. I'm a means to an end I guess."

I look at her. "And I'm the end, is that it?"

"Well, she wants your e-"

"Okay, okay, B." I put the envelope filled with letter confetti on the dashboard. "Just this once at least can't you try not to conform to type and leave off the smart remarks."

B holds the steering wheel and looks at me. "What's wrong - I know this isn't the first time a girl is sending you things."

I look out of the window, across to where Mr. X's daughter is waiting in her car. She is looking at us. For some reason I am reminded of the cat that fell asleep on my lap a few days ago.

"It's too soon," I say, and as B is the friend she is, I need say no more.

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