‘Really? You must have received an old copy of the information.’ He glanced down at the floor for a moment before meeting her gaze once more. ‘I’m a widower. My wife passed away eighteen months ago.’
‘I’m sorry, George.’ Her words were heartfelt.
‘It wasn’t your fault.’
‘No, but losing someone close to you is never easy.’
He nodded. ‘You’d think, seeing death as often as we do, that we’d have better coping mechanisms in place.’
‘You’d think so, but it’s rarely that cut and dried. It can take many years to get over a loved one’s passing.’
‘See?’ He held one hand out towards her. ‘That’s exactly how I think. You…get me.’ He sighed. ‘Many people don’t.’
‘They expect you to move on with your life?’
He nodded. ‘I know I’ll have to—eventually—but…’ He stopped.
‘When you’re ready, it’ll happen.’ Her words were soft. ‘I haven’t lost a spouse, but I have lost close friends and family. Grief takes time and that time is different for everyone.’
‘Yes.’ He raked a hand through his hair. ‘And then you meet someone new and that person makes you…feel.’
‘Just feel.’ George shook his head. ‘You made me feel today, Melody. That’s what I’ve come here to tell you because I don’t understand it and I didn’t ask for it and… I just wanted to be open and honest and clear.’
‘Clear? About what?’ Feeling emboldened by their frank discussion, Melody took it one step further. ‘That we’re attracted to each other?’
‘You feel it, too?’ His words were soft, deep and filled with a mixture of confusion and longing.
‘Well… OK. Uh—I guess the next question is, do we do anything about it?’
‘That is the question, and I don’t know the answer.’ She shrugged her shoulders.
George leaned against the bench and the two of them stared at each other. ‘Neither do I.’
LATER, AS MELODY drove home from the hospital, she reflected on the way she and George had just stared at each other, neither of them sure what to do or say next. They were attracted to each other and she was relieved they’d actually discussed this openly. Her past relationships had been riddled with lies.
So many lies. So many deceptions. So many mistakes. That’s what her adult dating life had consisted of, which made George Wilmont’s open frankness all the more appealing. It ran true to form that the next man to make her heart pound would be another unobtainable man, although thankfully not for the same cheating reasons as before.
George was single. George was devastatingly handsome. George lived over nine hundred kilometres away from her.
‘It’s just your luck in men,’ she told herself as she opened the door to her apartment. She headed to her room and changed from the expensive evening gown into her comfortable pyjamas. It had been a long and hectic day, a day that would be seared in her memory for the rest of her life as it was the day she’d met George. She could clearly remember her father saying, ‘Most days just run one into the other and then, out of nowhere, comes a day that can change your life for ever.’
‘Oh, Dad,’ Melody whispered. ‘You were so right.’ Her mind was full of mixed emotions—happiness, confusion, excitement and anticipation. What on earth would happen tomorrow? In order to wind her mind down from the hectic and tumultuous day, Melody headed to bed and pulled out the copy of her latest medical journal. She opened it to the paper she’d read the night before—a paper by Professor George Wilmont. Now that she’d met the man, when she re-read the paper she could hear his voice coming through the words on the page. That deep, sensual, melodious voice of his that was soothing and divine and…and that mouth as it moved to form words and…
When she almost dropped the journal on her face, Melody realised she was falling asleep. Putting the journal down beside her, she switched off the light and snuggled down, all too clearly recalling the way he could stand in front of a packed lecture room and enthral his audience. With visions of him in her head, she drifted off to sleep, a small smile on her lips.
The smile was still there the next morning as she awoke to her alarm with thoughts of George Wilmont still dancing around the edge of her dreams. She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. ‘I dreamed about George.’ She closed her eyes and turned off her alarm. How could she dream about a man she hardly knew? He was only here for another four days.