Danger in the Waiting by Maria Fokas
Helena packed a carry on and her friend Katherine drove her to the bus station.
“I’ll see you in a couple of months”, Katherine shouted sticking her head out of the window of her tiny blue car as Helena waved goodbye. She then headed for the ticket office.
“32 Euros”, said the young lady politely behind the counter. Helena handed her the money and got her ticket. She continued to platform 9 with no haste though the bus was about to pull out of the platform – no rush necessary was her motto. She didn’t believe in rushing and then wasting time waiting at any departure arena. In her mind too many people were rushing through life missing out on all the in-between, as too many were waiting too long for their journey to begin, and she was not going to be one of those people.
On the bus she relaxed back into the maroon velvet seat, took out her iPod from her bag, shut her eyes and the melody of the music carried her back in time. She began to recall their first words. It was all so long ago and though it had ended so abruptly, there was a comfort in her remembering his face. Submerged into the music she soon fell asleep and took no notice of the time passing. After three hours she woke to their song (Song for the Waiting). It was the first song she had ever sent him – three weeks after they met – she remembered him telling her that he had listened to it ten times that day.
She arrived at her destination now eager to see him. She got off the bus grabbed her carry on and headed for a taxi.
“River Front Bay” she said keenly.
The taxi driver looked at her smile as she finished her sentence.
“Where are you from?” he asked in a flirtatious manner.
“Thessaloniki”, she replied.
‘I knew it!”
“You knew what?” she asked.
“Only girls from your city have such a sweet smile”.
She said nothing being too engaged in what she was to endure at the first sight of him. The taxi driver followed her eyes from the rearview mirror.
“Will we be long?” she asked.
“No, not long Miss. Your first time here?”
“First time to this address.”, she said and laid back into her seat to enjoy the port they were driving by, known for its ancient legend in time.
He watched her intensely. “Our port is almost as beautiful as yours, don’t you agree?”
She gestured with a smile as she had no interest in small talk at a time like this.
Twenty minutes later he pulled up in front of a charming two-floor villa. He swiftly got out of the taxi, opened the trunk of the car and got her carry on out. She on the other hand seemed to be moving in slow motion. She took her time getting out of the car, got her purse out of her bag and paid him. He gazed at her for a moment and then handed her his business card.
“Here, take it just in case you’d like to see the rest of the city during your stay”.
She took his card and tossed it in her bag.
“I don’t think I’ll be doing much sightseeing while I’m here”, she said indifferent to his offer.
“One never knows about urges”, he replied.
And then she heard the front door of the villa open and turned instinctively. A man came out with a backpack, walked down the three steps meeting to the sidewalk, and stood a breath away from her. She smiled at his sight but no words to break the ice. He took her hand in his and she remembered the first time he had touched her. A warm sensation rushed through her body like a feeling of coming home after a long cold journey.
“This was not part of the plan – remember what we had said?” he whispered in her ear.
“I wish there was another way” she replied.
He held her hand tightly but for a moment and then looked over to the taxi driver.
“Ready for another costumer?” he asked rhetorically with such confidence as if he owned the whole city.
“Of course, Sir”, the driver replied.
The man got into the taxi with hesitation as she thanked him over his shoulder.
“No need to thank me”, he said getting comfortable in the back seat of the taxi.
He then rolled down the window.
“Ok, don’t strain yourself, taking it into all hours of the night”, he chuckled.
“You have to stop worrying about me my love”, she replied playfully taking him back in time.
And as the taxi drove off, she captured a glimpse of his smile disappearing.
She stood silently for a moment to take it all in, A knot in her throat emerged as her heart began to ache with the distance increasing between them. The autumn breeze welcomed her, and with it brought back all the promises they had made to each other; one by one fading in and then, fading out of her mind as she made an effort to freeze those thoughts.
She took a quick glance at her wrist watch forcing herself to recall the reason she got on the bus in the first place. It was 2pm. She walked up the three steps and unlocked the door with the key he had given her. She pushed the heavy wooden double doors open and the scent of his cologne went through her like a tempter. She had forgotten her iPod on and as she pulled her carry on into the villa, the first notes of their song came on again.
To be continued –
© 2014 Maria Fokas