LILLIAN ON SUNDAY

Reads: 285  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 5

More Details
Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
She makes friends easily.

Submitted: August 21, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 21, 2016

A A A

A A A


LILLIAN ON SUNDAY
by Lionel Walfish
 
It was a breathlessly hot Sunday in August, and the noon day sun, a steaming ball of hot orange, hovered over Mount Royal in balloon like suspension. Even the tall green elms that lined the western slope of the mountain drooped heavy with humidity, offering little relief to those few who sought salvation under the still branches.
 
Lillian made her way down the winding wooden steps that curved along the mountainside. She paused for a moment to catch her breath. Perhaps it would be best to return to the coolness of her air-conditioned apartment. There was little to do in the way of cleaning up after last night’s party. She had awakened early and put the living room in proper order. When she had finished rinsing out the last of the glasses, she knew that she had to get out. The night before had been another pathetic attempt at gathering together the few people she counted as friends, and the evening had ended as did all others, finding herself alone. Achingly alone.
 
During the week, the days passed quickly for her. Her job, as a court stenographer, kept her busy enough and when she returned home in the evening, sometimes after eight o’clock, she was happy to soak in a hot tub, eat a light meal and then re-check her text messages.
Sundays however, were something else.
 
She continued her descent, circling slowly down the curving
path until she reached the iron-barred railing that protected
pedestrians from the steep slope on the other side of Pine
Avenue.
From here, she could see the entire business district of
Montreal to the south, and directly beneath her, a staircase
leading to a small patch of beautiful park.
 
Even with eyes half closed, he was aware that she was
watching him. He had not noticed her from above, but had
seen her look at him when she had descended and entered the
park through the iron gates. He was accustomed to these
particular kinds of glances. She was older this one, at least
forty, and when he turned over on the flat of his stomach he
avoided looking back in her direction
.
Lillian walked across the stretch of grass and settled herself
down, a few feet away from him. He peered up at her from
under his folded arms.
 
“It’s very hot, isn’t it?” Lillian said. She wanted very much to
see what she thought she had observed from a distance; the
delicately featured face, a brush of soft brown hair over the
forehead, and a firm sensuous mouth that perhaps she could
coax into a smile. He had not heard her. She cleared her throat
and made a second attempt.
 
“This must be one of the warmest days we’ve had all summer.
I used to live in New York City and the summer heat there
was unbearable. Not much better in this city today though.”
 
He mopped his forehead with the striped cotton shirt that lay
by his side and pushed back the hair that had fallen into his
eyes.
 
“I can’t imagine people being able to stay out too long in
weather like this,” Lillian continued, “Of all days, I had to
pick this one to climb the mountain. It really does get to you
after awhile, doesn’t it?”
 
He was distracted by a swooping pigeon that appeared from
nowhere, landing on the grass and settling beside him.
 
“Normally I love this type of afternoon,” Lillian rambled on,
“But sometimes the heat makes me think I’d be much better
off having a cold drink in my air-conditioned apartment. What
about you? Would you like to have a cool drink with me?
I only live over there” she said, pointing south to a new highrise
apartment building, just beyond the park.
 
He smiled shyly, showing fine and even white teeth. Would
this be a repeat of all the others, he thought. It had always
been so difficult for him to make friends. Most of his
encounters were of a fleeting nature.
 
“It’s really quite pleasant inside and there’s a beautiful view
of the city. "Come,” she said, standing up and smoothing out
her slacks. Deep inside, she heard her voice echo the
invitation, and she quickly dismissed a moment of hesitation.
 
He reached for his shirt and, brushing a few blades of grass
from it, stood up and started walking slowly beside her.
 
“Yes, I believe in reality,” Lillian said as she reached for a
bottle of Perrier from the fridge. “You know, last night I had a
small party. Just a few friends. Would you believe that I can
honestly say that I really don’t know any of them? I mean, not
really. At one point after dinner, I looked at each and every
one of them, these supposed good friends of mine, and they
were strangers to me. The conversation was so shallow, and
nothing was registering. Can you imagine that feeling?”
 
Lillian handed him a glass, and he took a swallow of the cold
liquid, smiling gratefully.
The open good looks of his handsome face once again caught at her. “Sometimes it’s so
hard to figure out. These people last night. My friends. I think
we just spend time using each other.” She paused a moment
before continuing. “You know, I’ve been doing all the talking.
I mean I really have.”
 
She paused again, waiting for a response.
“Do you think that is was wrong of me to have asked you
back here? I mean I can only imagine what you must be
thinking. Honestly, the truth now.”
He looked quietly at her and shook his head.
 
“Well then, you do understand don’t you?
That sometimes strangers can be more like friends and that
they can relate better than the people you number as friends?
Oh I don’t know, it all sounds so mixed up, but you know
what I mean, don’t you?”
He smiled softly and looked down at his knees, balancing the glass between them.
 
All of sudden she knew, even before he looked at her, issuing
small unintelligible guttural sounds from somewhere deep in
his throat. He pointed to his mouth, shaking his head while
watching her become undone
. “Oh my God,” was all Lillian could manage.
 
Miraculously the telephone rang just at that moment, and she
excused herself, rushing to answer it in the bedroom.
 
Moments later, she re-entered the living room. Friends would
be arriving at six o’clock. She pointed to her wrist watch , indicating that it was getting late. For some reason she found herself whispering and motioning with her hands.
 
He understood.
Whatever thoughts she had entertained in the park, had vanished. She wanted him out of her apartment as soon as possible, and he knew that.
 
When the door closed behind him, Lillian sighed with relief.
It was good that there would be company that night. She
needed people around her on Sunday.
Thank goodness for her friends.
 
For one brief moment she looked blankly out the window watching the heat patterns
vibrate over the Saint Lawrence River, and for only a fraction
of a second, deep within her, she experienced a sharp pang of something lost.


© Copyright 2017 Lionel Walfish. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Lionel Walfish

JALNA'S DELIGHT

Short Story / Humor

piano follies (About Me)

Short Story / Non-Fiction

LEPIDOPTERA

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Popular Tags