I watched them as I approached and somehow, I began to feel the weight of my problem trip off my shoulders. I sensed some sort of cosmic peace between the two. I’d seen them on two occasions before that evening and I’d had the same feeling.
The picture they cut was of a big sister, aunt or cousin, taking the newest addition to the family on an evening stroll.
I waited until they came abreast of me, then I said, “What a pretty child you’ve got there.”
“Oh, thank you,” she said with a shy smile that lit up her face like a thousand fluorescent tubes.
“Mind if I walk with you?” I asked, feeling suddenly that female company and a pretty one at that, could do me a world of good.
“There’s no problem”, she said and I’d fallen into step beside her and the child.
“What’s his name? I asked.
“Merlin,” she told me.
“Oh yeah, I’m Kerin”.
“Funny how our names rhyme.
Yeah, it’s surprising.”
“Well, now that you know my name, I suppose I could ask yours.”
“So, what is it?”
“It’s a real pleasure meeting you.”
“Same here,” she said, turning to give that same shy smile. We walked for a while in silence. The boy whimpered once and she hushed him. I offered to carry him. She didn’t mind, I lifted the boy into my arms.
“Be careful, your shirt!” She said.
“That’s no problem, “I told her, then as we walked on, I added.
“You know I’ve seen you twice on your evening stroll. You do it everyday, don’t you?”
“Yeah. My house is so boring and I get tired of staring at the teevee or reading books. So, for exercise and a breath of fresh air, I take this stroll every evening. I think it’s good for him too.”
“Fresh air is good for everybody,” I said.
We were on my street when we went past, I heard my cousins yell out from the top floor.
I waved and said, “That’s my place.”
“Oh, yeah? And I pass here every evening”.
“That’s where I spotted you from,” I said and threw Merin, who was getting restless, up into the air. He took in air and giggled in that special way children do, then stayed quiet.
We walked on saying nothing but staying connected. We’d gone quite some distance when she walked up to a gate and rang the bell. The house was a big one. I’d seen it a couple of times on my strolls even though I didn’t use that route much.
“This is where I stay. I’d like you to come in and keep me company for a while, if you’ve got nothing lined up, that is,”
“Oh, I’ve never been known to deny a pretty lady’s request,” I said smiling as the gate was thrown open.
There were two guards inside.
“Welcome, madam. “They greeted as we got in. The house was beautiful even from the outside and I couldn’t help exclaiming aloud but she paid me no heed.
She’d led me inside and my breath had stopped short. The interior was breathtakingly beautiful. Persian rugs, well sculptured seats in pure leather, enchanting chandeliers and state-of-the-art electronic gadgets all lit up the place.
“This place is beautiful,” I enthused but she’d only smiled her shy smile and said nothing.
She sat her son on the rug, flicked on the forty inch teevee set and turned to me.
“What do I offer you, a bottle of beer, whisky, wine?”
“A bottle of beer would do. Guinness.” I told her and watched her walk across and disappear through a door. She looked little and athletic. She’d taken off her sandals and her toes were well tended and polished. Now that I was seated, I could really take a better look at her beautiful legs. She had on cut-off jeans shorts.
She came back with two bottles of Guinness sout on a tray. There were two glasses too.
“I don’t drink except when I entertain.” She said as she set the tray down. She had leaned over towards me and I caught sight of two chocolate mounds of fleshy boobs.
As she sat down, the boy began to whimper and she excused herself to go get his food.
She came back and began to feed the child cornflakes and biscuits.
“Where’s the mother? I asked as I poured drinks.
“I’m the mother!” she announced without missing a beat and my hand stalled in mid-air, surprise and amazement making me immovable.
“You are?” I asked again.
“Yeah. Don’t I look it?” She asked, looking from the child to stare at me.
“You look too young,” I told her.
You don’t know my age,” she said.
“You can’t be more than 23,” I told her, downing the drink in my glass.
“I’m 26,” she announced but I didn’t believe her.
“You’re kidding me”. I said.
“No, I could show you my passport,” she said, pushing away her son’s food and reaching for her beer.
“Boy, you sure fooled me. I thought Merlin was your brother, cousin or nephew. Not your son.”
“Well, you thought wrong,” she said and laughed softly. I joined her.
“You like music?” she asked.
“Blues?” she asked.
“Yeah.” I said nodding.
She’d reached for the battery of remote controls on the table and flicked the teevee off then with another one, she flicked the CD player. Boyz II men came on.
We drank in silence. The music playing softly. Her child soon fell asleep and she took him to bed. She came back with another bottle of beer and a large chunk of cake.
“Sorry, I haven’t got anything cooked,” she said, sitting beside me on the leather couch.
“Don’t tell me you stay here all alone,” I said.
“I do, my husband spends more time abroad than he does here.”
“You don’t have house helps?”
“No. Someone comes in to wash and clean the house every other day. I had my sister with me but she just left”.
“So how you manage with Merlin?”
“Merlin doesn’t stay with me. My mother takes care of him. She’ll be here to get him tomorrow morning. She says I’m a lousy mother and lets me have him for just a little while”.
“You’re a strange one,” I said and emptied my glass.
Silence reigned. I poured some more drink, cut a piece from the cake and tried to think of what I was doing with a married woman who was as pretty as a mermaid and who was doing sweet, sweet number on my emotions.
…TO BE CONTINUED