When he hugged her, well no, it wasn’t a hug was it? It was an embrace, two arms holding her, protecting her. Least that’s how it felt, and warm, so warm, like pumpkin pie with hot treacle sauce, only she doesn’t have a sweet tooth…
Eva had struggled this year with one thing and other, but in one foul swoop, or clasp of limbs she was transported to a place where anything was possible. That they’d known each other for years didn’t matter, it was a new sensation, much like taking a jaunt across a familiar land with a different destination.
‘It’s so good to see you Eva! You look really great, how have you been?’
Will’s eyes bristled with energy and his smile made her blush, for no other reason than it seemed it was entirely for her, a smile no one else would ever see.
‘Oh, I’m good thanks, yeah, thanks, I think I’m good, yes, I guess I’m good, you good? You seem good, ha, lots of goods, good!’
Blundering fool she mumbled in her mind, chastising herself for tripping over her words, she was determined, perhaps too much, to be effortless. But Will carried on smiling and proceeded to introduce her others in the congregation.
She gingerly shook hands with his colleagues, her voice carrying the confidence that allowed her to engage politely as she observed his interactions. He seemed to carry a boundless enthusiasm that she yearned for, rather mourned for. The vitality of youth she mused, hating the sound of her voice again. Suddenly she was dour and resentful of all these happy people with their regular incomes, forward direction and works drinks on a Friday night.
No! Enough of this nonsense! Eva hated giving into the darkness that travelled with her, a sour companion if entertained for too long. There’s no reason I can’t put on my mask for the night, make out I have a life beyond coping with a decaying property, a dwindling bank balance and no good husband who has spent my inheritance on horses and…
‘So Eva, can I buy you a drink? I want to hear what’s been happening,’
Eva broke sharply away from her internalising and raised her now alert and smiling face to meet Will’s once more. That look again; she was almost breathless, but she couldn’t let him know.