He had given up trying to get close to her months ago now, with every effect rebuffed it made it a futile effort. Soft furnishings, school projects and her endless social events took pride of place in her life, leaving him quite forgotten. He glanced at his phone, at the last message she had sent to him earlier that morning and felt despondent. Outlining dinner plans (not including him) and asking him to let his mother in law into the house so she could hem the living room curtains, it was impersonal and indifferent.
In 1994 Hamish Carmichael had married Beth Simpson in a lavish ceremony in the grounds of a country estate. It had been a well planned and even better executed event that had hosted over one thousand of their closest friends and family. Hamish was dazed by the grandeur of the wedding, and in awe of his new wife who had stormed into his life quite suddenly and changed it almost beyond recognition. He had basked in her adoration of him, with not even an inkling that eleven years down the line she would take more joy in the prospect of redecorating the hall way then anything he could do for her. Sometimes he looked across their pristine dinning table at her while she ate, her perfect mouth chewing carefully, her eyes glazed over to feelings. She talked during dinner, although she never quite met his gaze, and around twice a week she laid him out an outfit and indicated he accompany her to an event. She always looked stunning on these evenings, and spoke to everyone, including him, animatedly smiling and gracious. She held on to his arm, and introduced him magnanimously to everyone with twinkling eyes. On these evenings Hamish would wait in hope that on returning home the twinkle would stay but it never did.
He looked at his phone hoping she would text again but he knew she wouldn’t, and with his ever increasing disappointment he opened his desk drawer and stowed his phone away.
For as long as he could remember Hamish had taken his carefully packed lunch down by the river to eat, even when it rained. He sat on a bench staring at the water swirling over the rocky bed and mourned his life, and his lack of courage to change it. It was rare to see people down on that patch of river, apart from dog walkers and he liked the fact he could sit there and eat in peace. He twiddled silently with his wedding ring gazing at nothing and so was only half aware of another person sitting down beside him, until she spoke to him.
‘Your shoe lace is untied.’ He turned his head, suddenly very aware that a young woman had sat herself down, lunch box in hand, on the bench beside him.
‘Your shoe lace, its dragging in the mud.’ She indicated with delicate fingers at his ancient brogues, and met his gaze. ‘I thought maybe you hadn’t noticed.’
‘Oh, thanks!’ He said, pulling himself together and bending down to tie the lace. She smiled at him nodding her head in acknowledgement and began eating her sandwich. He returned his eyes to the water.
‘I just got a new job, started today in fact.’ He turned his head back to her, acutely aware of how pretty she was, and watched her take two huge bites of her sandwich before she spoke again. ‘I thought it was going to be boring but its ok.’ She looked up at him. ‘Do you mind me talking to you? It’s just you looked quite forlorn sat here on your own and there aren’t any other benches.’ He swallowed a piece of tangerine and shook his head. She smiled taking this as an indication to talk more, and so it began…