“…the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.”- Charles Warnke
“I told you; it’s important to me that you keep time,” Larina said.
Dave cursed under his breath. His shoulders tensed and he tightened his grip on the steering wheel. Drawing in a deep breath, he stole a quick glance at the front-view mirror then kept his eyes on the road- an icy stare that seemed to say: “Mess with me now and fire will jet off my nostrils and consume you.”
Dave had guessed something was up from the instant Larina had hopped onto the car. Her reply to his greeting had seemed forced. Upon settling down in the seat- back right as usual- Larina’s fidgetying had given away her discomfort. She had gazed at the front-view mirror a couple of times. Dave had guessed what was up. He avoided the mirror as much as he could even though he knew she couldn’t see him even if he stared. She was short-sighted.
Dave knew this and a lot of other things about Larina. Eight months of chauffeuring her had conditioned him to get the general gist of the kind of person she was; the kind of girl she was.
As Dave turned the corner and drove past the “Kate’s cafe” sign, his mind went back to his bar tending days. Dave had met Larina’s of all kinds then. He knew every girl’s story. Sometimes he was told; sometimes he inferred it; many times it was a combination of both.
He knew the Larina’s. He knew that girl. Larina’s were those girls who seemed to keep it all together. The ones who had probably not fought much with their parents except maybe when choosing between two very similar apartments when they were moving out. Larina’s were creatures of habit. They had fun,yes, but with their friends rather than with unfamiliar faces. They did not flirt much in the bar or give their phone numbers at first chance.
What distinguished the Larina’s most though was this: that they were non-confrontational. They were quick to accept apologies from late companions and did not make a big deal out of people’s shortcomings. This knowledge should have been comforting for him. On the contrary, it’s what made him certain his premonition of what would happen when he pulled up at the entrance of the plaza which housed her office would materialise. There was one thing about Larina’s: when they spoke up, they were fed up.
“Leave the keys at the reception. I will wire you your salary for this month. Pass my regards to Lizzie and the kids. And Dave,” Larina swallowed, “I’m sorry. You’ll land on your feet.”
Larina walked up the steps to the elevator. When she reached her office she rushed past her assistant and avoided eye-contact with anyone. She slid into the chair and switched on the monitor. There it was. That was what had put her in such a pensive mood.
Larina had been going through her “thought-book” as she referred to her journal, from two years ago the previous night. It had her ex-boyfriend’s footprints everywhere. It had stirred something in her; she did not know what.
As she closed the word document, she saw the words there on the screen: “I’m sorry. You’ll land on your feet.” That had been the last mention of him.
When they spoke up, they were fed up.