His belt is silver tipped. It peeps out from under his deep green turtle neck sweater. He likes green. A lot. That dull scummy shade of green that really doesn’t do much for his pale pinkly complexion.
One blue eye is slightly smaller than the other. In a charming, attractive sort of way.
He glances up every now and then to comprehend why she’s taking so long to make sense of something so simple. Sometimes he does it just to get a good look at her.
“What are you thinking?”
Nothing. She’s sick of this shit. She’s rehashed the same damn thing five times, and right now she couldn’t care a rat’s arse. She’s blank.
Hmmm. He’s NOT going to be judgemental. He’d promised himself before boarding the flight that he wouldn’t be judgemental. But this is just not going anywhere. It’s just so simple and yet… nothing’s moving forward. Why can’t she just put it down? It’s just a damn three-minute story for heaven’s sake!
“It’s a tough topic this one, don’t worry. It will take time,” he offers. It’s been ten minutes and nothing’s moved. He felt obliged to speak.
She knows what he’s thinking. She can tell how frustrated he’s getting. She can see he’s making an effort to be patient. And right now, she can’t help but be amused at how hard he’s trying. Story be damned. This is funny. Ha ha. Ha.
She looks up and smiles at him.
He’s confused. He doesn’t expect a confident bold concentrated gaze from her. She’s the one who’s supposed to be struggling over here. Uh?
He leaves her alone and turns back to cleaning the timeline and shifting files from bin to bin. One frame here one frame there.
She’s relieved. It isn’t exactly easy to concentrate on a script with a pair of expectant blue eyes watching every squiggling scratch on paper. She tries to write a whole bunch of meaningless nonsense [just to look busy and productively engaged] as indecipherably untidily as she can. Bad idea, because now she can’t read it herself. Ha. This is just not working.
“Right. I think I’ve got it.”
Oh has he now?! She should be offended, but all she can feel is this bubbling mirth well up. This is fun. He knows what I should say in a story about myself. Right.
“Well, so you start with – I love the… and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be… and you end with so today this is what I am”.
She writes it down as he dictates it. She’s tempted to say “can I get you cup of tea please sir, after the dictation?” But she daren’t. He’s being wonderfully helpful. This isn’t his job, and she knows she’s being rather arsey.
She smiles again. He’s not amused. There’s something about her smile he can’t place… it seems to bore through him, gently. It makes him…
He pulls out the recording device and asks her to read out what they’ve just written. She reads it. It sounds terrible. But she can’t complain. As she ends with “and today this is what I am” she can’t help let a long suppressed giggle escape.
She wants desperately to share the joke. This is terrible prose. It stinks... But he refuses to look into her eyes.
She feels stupid. Chastised. She shuts up.
The day has already come to an end. The voice-over sucks. Everybody can see that. So can he. And finally now it’s hitting her that she’s holding a headless baby. Her baby.
Fark. Fark. Fark.
Things are really looking shitty.
Besides she’s already heard from the others that he doesn’t like to stay at work beyond 6:30 pm. It’s 8:30 pm. she’s feeling guilty and all she wants to do is go home and die. Three days of no sleep. She can’t take anymore… least of all his judgement.
“Listen, I was thinking we could stay back another hour and crack this.”
She’s startled. But… but, doesn’t he want to go home?
She declines politely. “I’d rather go home and figure it”
She’s surprised at the puzzled look on his face.
“Ummm. Are you sure? I was thinking maybe we could...”
“No. Really”. She surprises herself with her firmness.
“Well. Ok. But call me anytime. Err… that’s if you need to sound off something… err if you give me your number I’ll send you my guesthouse number and umm… yeah”.
“Hey, and don’t worry about calling me any time. Seriously. I’ll be ummm… yeah. Just call.”
He told her later that he thought she was the most efficient and organised and focussed of the lot he had worked with, as he gazed sweetly into her eyes over amritsari fish and paneer tikka.