Page 9 - POTB Issue 11
P. 9

Daniel Does Lunch


                         is mobile trilled as he crossed the foyer.  He glanced at its tiny screen.  Mira.

                  He touched a button.   “Yes?”

                  Although the phone turned everyone’s voice metallic it couldn’t counterfeit the
                  raw steel in Mira’s tone. “It’s me.  I know today’s special, sweetie, but something’s
                  come up.  Can we do dinner instead?  We could go to Marco’s.  I’ll book.”

                  He paused to keep the disappointment from his voice.  She became impatient,
                  insistent. “Daniel.  DANIEL.”

                  “Ok, Mira… dinner then.”

                  “I’ll ring you when I’ve booked.  Bye sweetie.”

                  She was gone, the signal dead before he could say goodbye.  He could see her,
                  already on the way out of her office, on the way to whatever had come up.  There
                  was an advert exactly like it.  A meeting that couldn’t happen without her.  She
                  would rush in, a fan of papers under her arm, apologising for her unavoidable
                  lateness, toss her hair back, smile around the table and everyone would be glad
                  she was there.  He wished she was here.

                  He pocketed the mobile and wondered what he should do now.  Too late to join
                  the office crowd at the pub and anyway, he didn’t want their birthday greetings:
                  silly string and sillier gags, too much beer and a hangover before dinner.  He had
                  failed to keep his birthday secret from them; one of the secretaries had e-mailed
                  them all.  On his desk lay the collection of chocolate willies, joke Viagra and foil
                  balloons with ‘Stud’ and ‘Big-Boy’ in red letters - that had been their response.  His
                  was an office of energetic executives, the cream of his generation.  He was amazed
                  at their childishness.

                  No point in sulking, he thought to himself, what’s wrong with childishness anyway?
                  He had loved being a child, especially birthdays.  His mother had a birthday
                  scheme for all four of them: on your birthday you chose the meal, no matter what
                  it was, and everyone ate it.  His sister, Ruth, had once chosen jelly baby sandwiches
                  and Lucozade and they had all dutifully scoffed them, but he always chose
                  something he knew they liked as well.  When he thought about it, he had never
                  actually chosen the meal that he wanted.  “Always pleasing others…” his Mother
                  had said.  Had it been entirely a compliment?

                                                               Pushing Out the Boat 11                         7
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