The car is pretty clean as cars go. Except for some sauce on the back seat. I’m not sure why crazy Mr. Robinson was making such a big deal. ‘Everything. Don’t be slacking off at the crevices. I want it cleaned and disinfected. Wash the mats, the boot. Do you know how to lift the seats? Good, below the seats too. And oil the doors.’
‘I have allergies,’ he had splutters when I’d stare at him confounded. ‘You disinfect everything. I’ll be paying you four times as much,’ he’d a added on, for possibly the fourth time.
Rumor was that Mrs. Robinson had left him. Perhaps that was making him loco. What do I care? Four times was good.
It was only when I was going to oil the door that things got a bit mucky, with hair and sticky stuff on the hinge. Hey! Wasn’t Mrs. Robinson a red head too?
You ask me to go with the flow. I’m scared. When ever I’ve gone with the flow, I’ve been met by a dam. Family, practicality, sentiment, you can call the dam anything you like, but it looms ahead, imposing, seemingly unsurmountable.
Thirty years and a marriage should have been enough to forget you. I thought I had. But you lingered in my subconscious, just out of reach, alive, pulsing, waiting for the tiniest of sparks to ignite.
Now the coals are simmering. Your every glance its fuel. Soon the embers will rise, the fire will seek, and the world as I know it will be set ablaze.
“The French Riviera is so beautiful. Be safe. Love u.” – mum
If looks could kill, Pia would have scorched the damn phone.
Be safe – Really!
If she actually cared she wouldn’t have dumped her off at her father’s place, knowing well that the man was never home. That was the reason for their divorce, wasn’t it!
But no. Now his workaholism is ok, cause it keeps the alimony rolling in.
There was nothing that she wanted from Guess or Boss or even damn Louis Vuitton. But she sure could max out the credit cards she had flicked from her father’s wallet.
Maybe that would get his attention.
I watch him watch me from the corner of my eyes.
He thinks I don’t see the subtle shake of his head, the disappointment in his eyes.
‘She’s cleaning those shells again,’ he whispers. Probably complaining to Dr. D!
Bless the good doctor. If it wasn’t for her, they would have tried to take these away too. She’s good people. She understands a mother’s responsibilities. When Annie comes back, she’s going to ask for her shells. They may say that she’s never coming back. But I know better. She never goes anywhere without her shells.
After the miles of wilderness, I had driven through to get here, this entire town was a riot of colours. I could just as well have been in Legoland. All the houses were either Brick Red or Royal Blue or Crimson Yellow. The doors were decorated with ornaments and string lights.
I reach the fountain with its beautiful translucent corals and turn right. Even this narrow alley has colourful umbrellas flying above, as if the starless sky was much too bland.
Mr. Chron’s mind travelled to the past, to when he was a gentleman of importance. When he stepped into the room, his arrival was marked by pomp and created quite a ripple. At Mr. Chron’s word, eager mothers would hush their little ones, while the gentlemen would set down their tea and get to pursuits of more imperative nature.
With automation, his role became more ceremonial. Yet heads turned, eyes shone, and little ones clapped in greeting.
Now, he’s just window dressing. He’s been staring at the room in silence, waiting for someone to wonder why he won’t retire to his chambers any more.