Thomas looked at himself
Thomas looked at himself in the full-length mirrored wardrobe. This morning, with Felicity up and doing, he had a rare chance to get dressed in daylight, and he checked his outfit with pleasure. Not quite sure about the pink. Maybe it was too much? He hadn’t time to change. Maybe it would be all right.
What? Oh dear. Felicity, as usual was absolutely on point. Deadly accurate, her sharp observations were about as enjoyable as walking barefoot across burning sand. But she was right, he acknowledged. She was always so right.
To shake off that heaviness, he left quickly. His arrival early at work was met with favour, but not the pink shirt, on which his co-worker’s eyes – all right, that was Alicia – lingered mockingly. At least she spared his feelings. For that he was grateful, and smiled with genuine feeling.
His genuine feelings had long been buried beneath the silt of matrimonial disappointment and routine. He didn’t mind, he preferred not to feel things too deeply. He was traditional, not one given to outbursts of emotion, though there had been times when his feet could have left the floor, he was so happy. Now, he was content not to be targeted. Unhappy at work, he mistook his wife’s froideur for indifference, failing to understand – no matter how often she told him! – that a certain woman needs excitement, drama and a bit of tension to make her feel alive. The line of love had gone saggy, no electricity.
And then, suddenly, a miracle! There she stood before him. Beautiful, alive, her hair washed and freshly cut, her clothes a step up from her usual, bright, fizzing with excitement. What an astonishing transformation, which he watched with pleasure. For a month, exactly when the weather was at its warmest over Summer, she danced before him, dazzling and lovely as he had remembered her.
Then as the Autumn came in, that season of mists, she wilted, and he was sad with her; while she looked at him kindly.