Felicity and Thomas
Today, having no-one else to please, and as the breeze wafted through the house on this warm, autumnal day, redolent of excitements chased away, Felicity watched Thomas, and Thomas saw Felicity, appreciating the closely-known signs that she was content: the smile that almost shone at her mouth, the way her curves relaxed in that dress – which he had not seen before, had he? – the sound her shoes made, complacently skiffing across the hall carpet.
“Shall we go somewhere?” he asked, greatly daring.
“Yes, oh yes, Lets!”
“Where would you like?”
Thomas had no clue that costings, prices might make any difference – one reason, Felicity realised, why she had loved him. His constant patina of worry over his bank balance never translated into meanness or parsimony, but rested as a frown might, on his forehead, only wanting to be soothed away with her smile.
So she smiled, relieved that her judgement of men had been good (in a jaded girl so young) and said, “Oooh, anywhere you fancy, why not?” and resisted adding, “It needn’t be expensive…”
“The Hydro? They are doing a weekend rate, just now.”
“Perfect. Two nights?”
“Yes, otherwise…” What would be the point of one night only?
He phoned the hotel while she packed a few clothes into a large suitcase, three quarters empty, that left room enough for a few hopes, perhaps a book or two, some ideas.
Their weekend was a success. They could float apart, and come together when they chose, for meals, chats, for the in-house cinema. When he fell asleep in the dark, holding her hand, she reflected that nothing much had changed in their twenty years together. A tenderness surfaced, a tolerance that answered, “He may be a nuisance at times, but I’m so glad that he chooses…to stay with me.”