Thursday , Feb 9, 2012
The 20 minute bus ride from Monte to Funchal steadily moved along with the evening rush hour traffic. A comfortable ride considering it was an old Volvo bus, so old I could swear it had liver spots. I was day dreaming when a sound emanating from a bag the old lady sitting next to me clutched to her lap, jolted me back to reality. The sound reminded me of a wasp in a bottle.
The old lady with the leathery face and gentle smile was dressed in black from head to toe, apart from the white Nike trainers on her feet. She shuffled through her bag and found her Blackberry - scrutinised the screen and asked me if I could read her text message as she had forgotten her glasses. I obliged with a sleepy smile.I thought it strange, comical even, that such an old lady would wear trainers and own a Blackberry.
The bus screeched to a halt and I joined the crowd meandering towards the city centre. The subject of my day dreaming flashed its way back into my mind, like a bolt of lightening.
I needed to stop at the supermarket and buy a forgotten item for the dish I planned to cook later that evening. The fifteen minute walk took me past several supermarkets, but I had long decided to visit the last one of the journey - the one I had just visited in my day dream.
During the bus trip I dreamed of her in the supermarket, buying toiletries - wearing her beige coat, light blue jeggings and ballet shoes. Strange, as I hadn't seen her in two months and women change clothing styles as often as finances allow. And her finances do allow.
As I arrived at the Mall - some 45 minutes after her usual finishing time - it dawned on me the chance of her being at the supermarket was minimal. After all, I didn't even know if she had gone to work that day or what shift she was working. Nonetheless I continued, trance-like, towards the entrance of the supermarket, as if seeing her was inevitable.
The wide glass facade allowed some ten or so aisles to be viewed from outside. My head immediately turned towards the toiletries section - and there she was!
Standing with her hands close to her face, smelling and choosing her products the way she always did - wearing her beige coat, light blue jeggings and ballet shoes. Her 'friend' stood beside her, waiting patiently as she moved from one product to another, expertly analysing the different aromas.
My instant reaction was to walk towards her and greet her the way I always did. With a big hug and kiss. My common sense told me it was not a good idea. After all, I am trying to get over her. I'm trying to move on, so to speak. And besides, her 'friend' may not have approved of my intended display of affection.
I furtively turned into the groceries section, away from her line of sight and picked up the missing ingredient I required.
I then waited behind a stack of Valentine's Day merchandise - some of which I may have been buying under different circumstances - until I saw her approaching the check out. Moments later, she melted into the crowd, away from sight and oblivious to my presence and discomfort.
I payed and made my way to the escalators. I thought about the meal I would be preparing later and wondered if it would taste as good as if it was prepared for two?
As I approached the exit an old Bob Seger song reverberated through the Mall - it's melody filling my head and it's lyrics draining the blood out of my heart.
Bob was singing "...if you can't love the one you love, love the one you're with..."