Hiding, secrets and lies – ways of being or qualities that I leant from my mother. To survive my childhood I had to hide, keep secrets and lie. Sadly, I took these characteristics with me into adulthood. They became friends that I could rely on.
From writing this piece, I can observe how lonely Lisa was and how unhappy. I feel compassion for Lisa and understand that hiding, keeping secrets and telling lies was the only way she could be in relationship with another.
‘Who was that woman who waved to you?’ Bob asked as they sat down. He turned to look at Lisa when there was no reply. Her light grey eyes were downcast, partly hidden by her dark lashes, but Bob could see they had glazed over and that she was on the verge of tears. He nudged her gently with his elbow, encouraging a reply.
‘My mother,’ Lisa replied in a small voice that Bob didn’t recognise. As she raised her hand to tuck her hair behind her ear, he noticed she was shaking. He took hold of her wrist. It felt slender and vulnerable. He pulled her hand across his lap and held it there. He curled his fingers warmly around it and tuned her palm up, rubbing at it with his thumb. It was moist and hot. He brought it to his mouth in a gesture so intimate, he felt a stirring.
‘Lisa, what is it, what’s the matter?’ he murmured, searching out her eyes whilst keeping his lips in the pocket of her hand.
‘It’s nothing. Please don’t fuss me. I’ll be all right.’ Lisa pulled her hand away, turned and kissed Bob’s mouth silent. Her face was pale, he noticed, naked with just a blush on her cheekbones. She held her mouth tight, the line of her lips straight and polished pink. Puzzled, but respecting, Bob turned to look around him, allowing Lisa the time she needed to compose herself.
The church was a modern, wooden constructed building. It was light and cheerful with a voluted and beamed ceiling. It reminded Bob of a very large Scandinavian chalet where the walls and the floor were of light-coloured pine. Sunflowers had been placed in vases on every window sill, their vast orange and yellow flowerpot faces contrasting with the purple and lilac of the stained glass windows. The effect was simple, but stunning. It seemed to Bob to be a fine choice for a wedding ceremony should he and Lisa’s relationship develop, but Bob wasn’t sure about taking that step and he had no idea what Lisa felt about marriage. She was different from any of the other woman he had dated and being in her late thirties, she certainly wasn’t conventional about marriage and having babies. She never mentioned it and he loved that about her, that she didn’t go on about women’s things. It enabled him to embrace his freedom and pursue his own interests. She fascinated him with her analysis and introspection of others, drawing him into an emotional world he had never before experienced. It was like entering a cave, part of him knowing it was dangerous to delve inside, but the other part wanting discover more, to take the risk. Being with Lisa was a heady mixture.
They had been living with each other for nearly a year, ever since she moved in with him last summer. They had retuned from their first holiday together and Bob had been surprised to discover that he needed the closeness they enjoyed whilst away to carry on. He appreciated her company and the way that she, like him enjoyed a tidy, serene and neutral environment. When asked, she had readily moved in with him, bringing with her little more than her personal belongings, her CD’s and books and a few choice pieces of homeware including an attractive copper lamp with a burnt orange shade and an oil painting of an african lioness in a gilded frame. Items that blended seamlessly with the decor of his carefully crafted home. He was mildly curious that she didn’t have any family photographs in frames to display but he had become used to the way she skilfully manoeuvred herself from a tight spot at any hint of enquiry about her past or her family members. Bob came from a close and gregarious family and it came as a relief to him that he wasn’t expected to be involved in another. Yes, he was happy and content with their relationship although had anyone asked, he would have admitted that it was slightly odd that he had never visited her home town nor met any of her family.