She laughed, “You’re wicked, but you’re right. A Sunday meeting it is.”
“Hmmm!” he added, “And don’t appear too keen to grant absolution. Arrange it for a few weeks’ time. You’ve had to wait more than ten years for an apology – he can’t complain if you make him wait two or three weeks to grovel.
“Cheers!” he said. They clinked glasses.
Monday 11th April Steve’s House
It was after nine that night when Steve’s landline disturbed him as he dozed. His face was head-down on some school paperwork spread across the desk in his ‘spare room.’ He hadn’t been able to keep his eyes open after almost three hours of checking essays.
He didn’t recognise the number on his Caller Display, so he was cautious when he answered – as with many people he received too many unwanted calls, and they were getting more frequent.
“Hello,” was all he said, so as to try to force the caller to identify themselves without revealing anything about himself.
“Steve?” the familiar female voice inquired.
“Oh! Hi Marjorie,” he said, “Sorry. I didn’t recognise your number.”
“That’s okay,” she said, “it pays to be cautious these days. You never know when it might be an angry parent – or worse.”
“Agreed – or a revengeful pupil,” he began, “but anyway, thank you for calling. I assume that Peter passed on my request for your number.”
“Yes,” she said, “and he outlined why you wanted to speak to me. I’m just ringing to let you know that the message got through and to tell you that I’ve discussed Peter’s call with Julian. We have a proposal for you.”
She paused for a reaction.
“Okay,” he said cautiously, “How, when and where?”
“You forgot ‘who, what and why.’ The ‘what’ is that we do it by a meeting. ‘How’ is to be face-to-face in a neutral location. ‘Who’ is just the two of us – Julian agrees. You’re not daft enough to think that any change of mind that you may have had is going to bring us back together. The best that you should hope for will probably be less than reconciliation, and certainly not restitution. Where was I? Ah, yes. ‘When’ and ‘where.’ I propose the Costa coffee shop in the Retail Park near your house, and that we make it Sunday, 1st May at ten-thirty. The ‘Why’ will be for you to explain when we meet.”
“You should have been at Yalta in 1945” he said, “Stalin would never have got away with as much as he did.”
“Yalta?” she asked.
“The agreement between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill about topics such as Four-Power occupation of the defeated Germany,” he explained. “Stalin walked away with much more than he deserved. He won huge chunks of North East Asia and Eastern Europe for too few concessions.
“I’d forgotten that you’re an economist, but I bet Maggie Thatcher would have got a better deal than Churchill. We women are better natural negotiators – we’ve always had to be.”
“It’s nice hearing you laugh again,” he said.
“Well, don’t build too much on it. I wouldn’t want you to think that flattery or flirting is going to soften me up.”
I don’t have any indoor shots of conversations – especially telephone conversations – but since this whole story centres on dancing, and this conversation is a verbal dance, I’ve featured another image from the social dance I visited for my photos.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera plus Fujinon XF 10-24 f/2.8 lens. 1/1000 secs @ f/2.8 and 36.5 mm. ISO was 6400.