“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?”
“When you rang me, Marjorie, you asked me that question in almost the same words and I denied it,” he said, “I’m not trying to elbow you into history. I do wish that I could clear my conscience, but what I did to you and Peter will always be a cause of deep regret to me. However, although what I said about a new love interest was true at that time, in the past ten days I have become romantically involved with someone else. I swear to you that I could not have foreseen that happening.”
“Oh my God!” she said, “I need to hear more. Who is she and by what miraculous process did this take place?”
“her name is Cathy Denton,” he began, but Marjorie jumped back in.
“Cathy?” she asked, incredulously, “Cathy from the Library?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Go away!” she said, “Never! I never had her down as a churchgoer.”
“She’s not,” he said, “She’s been going to the dance sessions even longer than I have. And as for her being a churchgoer, she’s actually an atheist.”
“What!” Marjorie said, tears of laughter running down her face, “You fancying an atheist? You’ve got to tell me the whole story now. You can’t leave it there.”
“Okay,” he said, “but it isn’t as cut and dried as it sounds. Cathy has been making jibes about my beliefs for years. I’ve always given as good as I got – until now. In the early part of April, we were at a dinner party and she had another crack at me. However, only days before then, I’d already resolved to tell George Wilson and the Vicar about my change of heart. In fact, I rang them just the day after the meal. But at the dinner party itself, I realised that I could not, in conscience, answer her challenge so I gave her a non-committal answer.
During the next two days, she apologised – she realised that her comment had been unfair and even in bad taste. We agreed that the time had come to try to resolve our differences. Over the next two weeks – a while after our chat, Marjorie – Cathy and I met a couple of times to talk and a new respect for each other changed to something much deeper. Within the next two days after our second discussion, we had acknowledged it, between ourselves – and, since then, to Peter and to Cathy’s children.
On the other hand, we are aware we are really still only at the beginning of a new situation: that we know practically nothing about each other, but we have started a process of putting that right before we make any major steps.”
“Well, I never,” she said, “Steve, that nugget of news in itself was worth me coming this morning. As for your apology. Thank you. It’s water under the bridge. I’ve moved on – and, you know, it’s time for you to move on too. I wish you both true happiness, and I’ll tell Cathy too. I often see her when I take classes to the Library. That’s amazing. Did I hear you say that you’ve already told Peter?
“Yes, I did,” he said, “ I didn’t ask him to, but he said he wouldn’t say anything to you in case it muddied the waters for today’s meeting.”
“Well it was worth waiting for.” She assured him.
As they stood, she gave him a hug.
At the next table, Cathy’s Information Assistant had overheard Cathy’s name being mentioned and saw Marjorie hug Steve.
I began today’s episode with another photo of a Costa coffee shop and I’m featuring another image of a coffee shop – though not a Costa one. This second photo is one I took while walking past the shop and it shows two people talking. I could see how I’d be able to use it, so here it is.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped-sensor mirrorless camera plus Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens.