As he opened the door for her, they kissed for the first time, tentatively at first, tenderly then hungrily. “I’d better leave now,” she said, “while I still can.”
CHASSE TO CENTRE TO REGAIN SHADOW POSITION
Sunday 1st May A coffee house in Codmanton
Steve arrived first at Costa’s. It was already quite full of Sunday-morning shoppers. He had expected Marjorie to keep him waiting, just as he hadn’t been surprised at her insistence on a Sunday-morning meeting. It was eleven-forty-five by the clock in the centre of the Retail Park.
He didn’t know what type or colour of car to look out for, but he recognised her easily as she got out of her green Ford car. She hadn’t changed. As she approached though, he was startled by how similar she was in appearance to Cathy in height, build, hair length, colour and style. There were differences, of course, but it made him wonder whether their similarities had been what attracted him to Cathy.
She saw him through the window, smiled and waved.
“Sorry I’m a bit late,” she said as she approached where he was standing, waiting for her, “Anyway, hi, how are you?”
“On top of the world,” he replied, “What would you like to drink – and would you like something to go with it.”
“Flat white double shot,” she said, “and may I have a blueberry muffin please?”
He ordered, and when he sat back down, asked her how she was as she sipped her drink.
“Come on then,” she said, “spit it out. You wanted to say something?”
“Okay,” he said, “this isn’t easy. In short, I want to apologise. No excuses. No hidden agenda. In the last few years of our marriage I now fully accept that I acted unreasonably. I neglected paying you the attention you deserved because I’d become obsessed by my new faith.”
“Right,” she said, “You did. What’s changed? Why now?”
“The straight answer to that is that I’ve changed,” he explained, “my understanding, underlying what I believed then, has changed; my realisation of the hurt that I must have caused you has become clear; and the need for you to receive the apology that you should have received all those years ago has become clear to me.”
“I realise now, what I should have realised all those years ago – that my obsession with Christianity was leading me to neglect you: to fail to give you and your needs priority. I feel that, although you must be much happier now with Julian, you may still harbour an amount of bitterness within you.”
“I don’t want that bitterness to spoil your future and, if a belated apology might, in some measure ease – if not entirely heal it – then I see it as my duty as a human being to make it while there is time. I hope that what I‘ve said may go some way to answering both parts of your question.”
She pinched her lips, looking at him, weighing up what she had heard.
“I’m curious, Steve, in what way has your understanding of your faith changed?”
“Just less than two years ago,” he said, “I was invited to undertake a course that would have led to me becoming a Reader in the Church. That would have resulted in me being fully licensed, quite soon, to preach and lead services in the church. I’ve already had to do both of those things under supervision. The studies included detailed reading and extended essays about current thinking concerning the Bible narratives, Church History, Liturgy and so on. As a result of those studies, my understanding has changed, and I now have difficulty being able to swear to some major articles of faith. In turn I have decided not to continue the course and to step down from my formal roles in church activities. It would be hypocritical to continue.”
“Blood and sand, Steve,” she said, “I can’t believe that I’m actually hearing this.” She paused. “So, all that misery that you put me through was because you were naïve enough to believe a load of claptrap?”
“In essence, yes,” he admitted.
“Do you know, Steve,” she said, “I actually believe you. Even Julian said that it must have taken some gumption for you to be willing to swallow so much humble pie. But let me ask you again. Is this late conversion because there is now someone else on the scene? That you want to clear your conscience and elbow me back into history?”
Because today’s post begins in a Costa’s coffee house, I used a photo to fit. My featured photo though was taken in a coffee house other than Costa’s. I’ve never been one for drinking their coffee – personally I find it too bitter. I like tea. So, while I was out taking photographs a couple of weeks ago I called into a coffee house – not a Costa’s – for a cup of tea and, while I was there, I managed to snap today’s photo.
I took the shot subvertly: okay that was probably wrong but I don’t see it as that different from any other type of street photography that includes people whose permission has not been sought. I used my Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera with a Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens.
EXIF data were: 1/8 secs @ f/4 and 24 mm. ISO was 160.