Gordon looked at his watch that was nearly as old as him and imagined to himself of the lines he wished to tell her. Malena. She filled his heart for the past year and a half. He remembered lying naked on his bed, gently brushing her hair as she smoked. He spoke of his future with her then. She had laughed. The next moment, she kissed him passionately. He now doubted whether the action was a mere response to her professional call or to his longing.
He had loved women before and lived with a few as well. But none loved him the way Malena did. Or maybe that is what he wished to think. For younger men, yet to taste love, it is an exciting fantasy adventure. But Gordon was not young. He was old enough to know what love meant. He was aware that loving a woman like Malena, was an obsession that burns like a candle, consuming itself in the process of giving light and removing the darkness. Sex was a mere expression of this obsession.
Gordon looked at the portrait of his two wives. Both were failed marriages. One lasted nine years and the other lasted seven. They produced children who loathed his presence. He regretted them now.
He looked at his watch again. Malena was always on time. Perhaps, she had a trouble with her client. She always knew a way out of these sex starved men. He was expecting her to call any moment. His mobile rang. It was Malena. ‘Gordon, I am sorry. I know I am late. I will be there in thirty minutes.’
Gordon was always surprised to see himself calm when responding to Malena. His friends had noticed the absence of his temper. They believed it to be because of his age or because of his desperate need for company. Only Gordon knew that his life has altered because of Malena.
He was looking at his bookcase. As he was arranging it, one fell down. It was an old copy of On The Road by Jack Kerouac. He was obsessed with that novel as a youth when he held the reins of his life. In it was an old colour photo of a young woman he had once loved. Jamie. He had met her during a trip down south. They lived together in a motel for a couple of months before carrying on with their lives. During the time they lived together, their time was consumed by this obsession for passionate love making. ‘It is time for puppy love!’ as she always used to say.
The doorbell rang. Gordon was lost in his own thoughts of a past he wished to forget. He remembered the last time he had heard Jamie’s voice. It was during his office hours. She had come a long way just to see him as he was not answering her calls anymore. The receptionist had informed him that a pregnant lady was waiting to see him. She was crying incessantly and in order to avoid the attention of others, she had asked her to sit on the bench near the parking lot. It was an embarrassing moment. He looked at the teary eyed Jamie.
‘Gordon, I am…I am carrying your child.’
‘Jamie, look, I am not ready to live with you. Please don’t make me angry. I don’t want to end up hurting you. Just go away.’
‘You are the child’s fucking father. Don’t you understand? How can you be so cruel?’
‘Jamie! No, I am not. Don’t try to get me into this. You want money… take these two hundred dollars. That is all I have now.’
He stormed off back to his office after yelling at her. He did not bother to see her again or even speak to her. Was she alive? Did she abort? He did not know. The doorbell rang again.
He knew that welcoming smile of his woman. She was wearing the pearl necklace he had gifted for her birthday. Malena kissed him on his lips as she came in, noticed the sweat on his face and her eyes darted towards the books lying around Gordon’s bookshelf. ‘Rearranging your bookshelf again? You are becoming old, sweetheart!’
She calmly took out her handkerchief to wipe away the sweat on his forehead. In all this time with her, he had never seen her eyes. They were blue. He had seen those eyes earlier. He was not sure. They headed to the terrace where he had arranged a table with her favourite Italian food, cooked just for her. They ended up having a good conversation.
Malena listened to him intently and occasionally chipped in with memories of her childhood. ‘Gordon, I have never seen my biological father. My mother died when I was fourteen years old and her partner married again. He did not want to keep me in his home. I got into a relationship with a teenage drug peddler and that is how I ended up here. I want to show you my mom’s photo. Here it is. Have a look. She looks beautiful in those blue jeans.’
Gordon recognised it the moment he saw. Jamie. His breathing became heavy. ‘Gordon, are you okay? Wait, you have not got water here…I shall get it’. The memories of his past came rushing down like an avalanche now.
Malena passed through the drawing room and saw the Jack Kerouac book on the table next to a photograph of a woman she knew.
If things can go wrong, they will go wrong.