The Moon in the Window

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Memories of a past romance.

Submitted: August 02, 2015

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Submitted: August 02, 2015

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THE MOON IN THE WINDOW

 It was really rather amazing when you think about it, that the only people who knew about the affair were the two involved. In the majority of romances, someone who was a friend or acquaintance of one of the couple, had some inside information about what was going on, or had no inkling that things were a bit different.

 

Anisa had needed a holiday for a long time, even before her long-term partner had called time on their relationship. She felt burnt out both emotionally and at work. There are some ages, when getting over things is much easier, but as you get older you prefer to let things slide, and leave it up to destiny or fate. There’s also the cosy factor, or in some cases just plain inertia, that pulls people back from making a decision they would rather the other one made. The vast majority prefer to be able to say, that it was the other one who walked out, rather than to be the instigator.

One evening, when she was all alone in the flat she had shared with her ex, Anisa took a long hard look at herself in the wardrobe mirror, and saw a pasty white body that was in desperate need of fresh air and sun. Her holiday experiences while with the ex, had been dictated by him. Anisa had never given much thought about where they went, and so now she was in charge of her life and could do what she wanted and go where she pleased.

Her work companions were always going somewhere, except for those married with children, who catered their tastes in the direction of what the children would like. Anisa took to navigating the web for ideas of where to go and get a suntan and feel better at the same time. The company where she spent eight hours a day, was dedicated to finding jobs for others who had trouble finding them by themselves. The companies were only too pleased to leave the placing of personnel to others, and had no qualms about paying well for the time saved on interviews. When there was a slack moment, Anisa and some of her companions went surfing for new employment for themselves. In the event they found something good, they sent off an application and managed to get the job. Then the boss employed a new person from a pool of those who were in need. In all, it worked out very well. It meant that the work situation was not as stagnant as was generally thought.

Anisa had two thoughts on her mind: number one was a change of work, the second was a holiday of some sort or at least a rest. After a few efforts in finding new employment, Anisa found a job that suited her very well. She had always liked music, and there was a job going in a music publisher’s to begin in the autumn. She applied and was accepted, especially as she only wanted to get out of the rut she was in, and created no problems with the salary or the hours. The next thing she did, was to take a good look at her bank accounts. She wasn’t as flush with money as she had been with her ex-partner, but she still got to the end of the month with all her bills paid. The next question she posed for herself was, how long she would want to be away. A month seemed quite a long time and two weeks maybe not long enough for her cure-all.

Anisa handed in her notice, and worked out, that she wanted to feel free and go to different places, and not to have to stay in a place she wasn’t interested in. At the end of July when rain was pouring down on Britain, Anisa caught a plane out to Spain, an unknown country for her. She had read before leaving that the temperature was on average thirty degrees. Although she should have been, Anisa was not at all excited, but when you are over forty perhaps that’s how life gets you. She was worried that a lot of young people would be in certain holiday resorts, so she chose to stay in an hotel and try to see as much of the country as she could.

 

Freddie was engaged to be married, but he felt he needed some time before tying the knot. He was not so young any more, but nearer forty-five than thirty, although he had spent a wild youth. It was due to his mother’s interference he had got engaged. She was determined to see him settle down before she died

 

He went to Spain to meet up with friends from way back, and he had explained to them his fear of being trapped into a negative marriage. They flew out to Cadiz, where they had set up a base for the summer. The beach was tempting during the day and at night there were all kinds of bars with dancing and music. Every evening when the sun had gone down, there were people dancing on the beach. Freddie and friends hung out all over the city until evening, visiting all the local sites, of which there were plenty. Some lit bonfires when it got a bit cooler. Freddie wanted to mooch off by himself, and left Cadiz, and rented a car to take him to other destinations.

 

He was still feeling unsettled when he met up with Anisa, who was sitting at a bar. At that hour there were not so many customers. Freddie felt a bit daring, and asked the unknown woman, “Let me buy you a drink?” he said to Anisa.

“How did you know I’m a Brit?”

“I didn’t. It’s that I don’t speak much Spanish. I’m Freddie, by the way,” he said, holding his right hand out for her to shake.

“I’m Anisa,” she responded.

“That’s an unusual name,” Freddie said, staring at the brown-haired woman sitting at the bar.

“It’s short for Anna Isabelle.”

“Are you staying here?” Freddie asked her.

“I’m trying to see what I can of the country before returning home. And what are you doing here, apart from trying to chat me up?”

“Shall we sit at a table? It’d be more comfortable,” Freddie suggested.

“OK. Fine by me,” Anisa replied.

They found a table in a secluded spot out of the bright sunshine. Freddie was not one to hide, so he went straight into his being engaged, and to getting married in the near future.

“How near is the wedding?” Anisa asked him.

“I think it could be before Christmas.”

“If you’re afraid, why don’t you say so to your mother?”

“I suppose I don’t want to disappoint her at this stage in her life. She’s done so much for me, it wouldn’t be fair.”

Anisa sat in silence wondering what sort of man Freddie was. “Freddie, I’ve just come out of a long-term partnership and, believe me, it’s hard going. That’s why I’m here, in an effort to shake it off better. If you’re not sure about getting married, then perhaps you should put it off  or live together.”

Freddie said, “I’ve had partners before, but now I’m approaching fifty it seemed the better option.”

Anisa stood up, saying, “I’m leaving tomorrow for Algeciras. I might go to Gibraltar.”

“You’re daring, aren’t you?” Freddie said, his voice full of admiration.

“Why don’t you come? You might just as well. I have no interest in you, other than someone to talk to.”

Freddie laughed, and said, “That’s OK. I don’t really want any more romances at the moment, not with what I’ve got looming up in front of me.”

Anisa and Freddie shook hands on their arrangement.

 

The next day, they went to Algeciras and booked themselves into an hotel. They spent their time walking around the town and trying out the typical Andalusian dishes. At times, Anisa wondered why she was travelling with a stranger, a man she knew nothing about. Perhaps it added to the sense of adventure that had led her to going away independently, instead of joining a group of singles. They spent some time looking in the shops, and even managed to pay a visit to a water park. The screaming and shouting of the children there, livened up their attitude to the trip. Gibraltar was a bus ride away, and they thought it better than going in Freddie’s rented car.

They crossed to Gibraltar and made the decision to see as much as it was possible to. They had been advised to take a taxi to see what they wanted to. The taxi driver took them to places where they knew he was just doing business for himself. Eventually when they had seen St Michael’s Cave, the Botanical Gardens, Catalan Bay, and the Macaque monkeys, they left for the last - the Trafalgar Cemetery. They got out of the taxi in the Main Street, and went window shopping, buying anything they thought was a bargain. They spent the night there, and it was in Gibraltar that Anisa told Freddie, she wanted to spend the rest of her travel alone. Freddie was a little taken aback, but went along with her decision.

“It’s been nice knowing you, Anisa, but as we both have personal issues, it’s better we separate. Do you know where you’ll go next?”

Anisa had worked out what she would say to Freddie, and knew it would be a whopper. “No, actually I prefer to leave things to chance. I don’t want to think about where I’m going, I just want to go. I wish you all the best, Freddie, and hope you make the right decision.”

With those words, Anisa and Freddie parted company.

 

Bit by bit, Anisa made her way from Gibraltar through Seville and Madrid, till she got to Santiago de Compostela. She wandered around the city and took in how the pilgrims arrived with torn skin on their weary feet. They were given a scallop shell and a certificate showing that they had done the long walk to the sanctuary.

One night in Santiago, she woke up to a full moon shining through the bedroom window. It spread its silvery white light all over everything in the room, including Anisa. The moon gave the room a ghostly air, but at the same time Anisa had a sense of clarity regarding her life and herself.

 

Gijon was the next place of interest on Anisa’s list as being of great interest. She was quite happily walking around, when she heard her name called. She couldn’t believe it, and entered the nearest shop to see where the voice had come from. To her dismay, she saw Freddie standing a few metres away. She wasn’t sure what to do, and guessed she’d have to brazen it out. He was with a group of men around his own age. They were carrying rucksacks and travel bags, and she then understood they were on their way to Gijon airport. Anisa wondered if she had ever let slip out that she would return from Santander to Plymouth. She couldn’t remember ever mentioning it. The friends had to be the ones he had told her he was escaping from. Anisa was disappointed on seeing Freddie, but less so when she saw he wasn’t alone. The group walked away from where Anisa was able to see them, so she slipped out of the shop and went to a nearby café to fortify herself.

 

A man sitting on what appeared to be a kitchen chair was playing a xylophone. The sound of the mallets hitting the notes seemed so out of place. It fascinated Anisa. A healthy crowd began to gather to listen.

“Hello, Anisa.” It was Freddie, the very person she thought she had succeeded in avoiding.

“Hello, Freddie. How are you?” she said, incapable of ignoring him.

“I’m fine, but you, on the other hand, look rather tired. Been here long?”

“No, not long. And you?”

The xylophonist finished the piece he’d been playing. The bystanders gave him money.

 “I thought you were supposed to be getting married before Christmas.”

“I haven’t finished working it out yet. I’ve made some moves as to what I don’t want. Now I have to wait for reactions and replies to my e-mails.”

Anisa was hungry and tired, and wanted to return to her hotel room.

Freddie noticed, and said, “You’re hungry. I can tell. Let’s try some local food. Then you can go back to your hotel.”

Anisa was more than curious as to why he was there, but she resisted temptation. Freddie wasn’t a bad type, she simply wasn’t interested in getting involved again, and Freddie was supposed to be getting married.

 

The next day they left for Santander and the ferry. Anisa had hankered after a trip on the ferry for a long time. The journey of twenty hours, made it more irresistible, to her the trip would be more like a mini-break, than going from here to there like other ferries.

They stood out on the deck, and Freddie said to her, “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“No I don’t.”

“We had a summer romance in Spain once before. How come you don’t remember?” Freddie asked.

Anisa suddenly knew why she hadn’t felt strange with Freddie. They had met twenty years ago, when they were young and frivolous, and had enjoyed a romance.

He asked, “I’ve never forgotten you, so how come you’ve forgotten me?”

“I’ve been very busy working. Please forget about me. You’re getting married soon, and it isn’t to me. Just think of your future wife, please.”

Freddie stared in disbelief at Anisa’s words. He knew then, that he was still crazy about her.

“What made you retake the route we took all those years ago?” Freddie asked her.

Anisa swallowed hard, “I didn’t know I’d been to all those places before.”

“Well you did, and with me.”

“Have you been keeping an eye on me?” Anisa asked.

“Yes, I have, and you seem to be in need of protection from yourself. Now you’ve finished with the ex-partner, you might be in a better situation.”

“Not with you!”

“No, not with me.”

 

Anisa was lying in her bunk and let her mind drift to many years back, when she was in her twenties and carefree. She and Freddie hadn’t known each other long, and were in the throes of getting romantically involved. The two of them went everywhere together and did all kinds of things together. Diving and snorkelling were just two of the things they enjoyed doing. Life was easy and without responsibility of any kind. All the young people they met were mirror reflections of them. The young were out for a good summer and fun, the thoughts of settling down and being serious citizens were as far away as the moon. Many months were spent on the beach, even sleeping there when they felt like it, instead of going back to the cheap hostel. Both Anisa and Freddie, at that time, were burnt to a dark mahogany brown, a far shade from their usual English pasty white. It was all part of the situation. Everyone in their own way thought they were different, but in the end they were all the same. Many times they even thought they were having a good time, when people began muscling in on what they considered to be exclusively theirs, then Anisa and Freddie would up and leave for another beach or village, where they would be able to do what they wanted, without being hassled by those who were just away from home for kicks. Freddie tried to learn how to play the guitar, and he did make an effort, especially when there was a group of them on the beach dancing around and paddling in the sea, or sitting out in the countryside at night.

The villagers couldn’t make them out, a young man and a young woman unmarried and living together. Freddie learned how to plant all kinds of vegetables, and picked whatever fruit there was to be picked. Anisa saw in her mind’s eye the peach juice running down Freddie’s chin. They were so juicy and tasty. The long hot summer never seemed to come to an end. They ate fresh fruit and vegetables and soft creamy cheese. The food was the best they had ever tasted. It was natural they would eventually return to the beach and the warmth. Nearer the end of August, there were several storms heralding that the end of summer was not so far away. Neither Anisa nor Freddie listened to the words of advice from those in the village, that summer was almost over, and they left for the beach anyway. The storms had given the beach an untidy appearance. There were few sun-shades out, and those that were, belonged to late tourists. The sea was inviting, but colder and rougher than when they had been there some weeks before. They stayed in a better hotel the second time and felt better for doing so. There were the usual restaurants still open, and they saw some of their old contacts sitting inside, filling themselves with food. They had little chats with them, but no one had anything really interesting to say. Now the edge of the adventure had gone, so the vast majority were returning home, to do something more positive with their lives. Anisa and Freddie had no such intentions, and were determined to stay away for as long as their money held out, and the weather too. Now the beaches were filling with older tourists, those of over sixty, who go away for a short holiday before winter starts. No longer were the coastal walks crowded by young men and women with long flowing hair. The colour of the hair now was white, and anything but flowing. The brown bodies had been exchanged for bodies that hadn’t seen the sun and sand for many a long year. Anisa and Freddie were so wrapped up in each other, that they were totally unaware of autumn fast approaching. They made their way slowly back to Santander and the ferry. When they got back to England, they said their goodbyes on Paddington station. Freddie said he would always look out for her.

 

 Anisa stopped her reminiscing and set her mind in the present. Was it true that Freddie had always been looking out for her? She found it hard to believe, but perhaps it was true. She would probably never know for sure. Anisa got up from her bed and went to knock on Freddie’s cabin door. He opened it smiling, “To what do I owe the honour?”

“Can we have dinner together and go for a walk on deck?” she asked.

“No, I’d rather gaze at the sea from the balcony in your cabin.”

“Come on, now, don’t start all that teasing again. I’ve been thinking about what we were like twenty years ago. We were quite daring, weren’t we?”

Freddie said, “We weren’t daring, we were just the same as people have always been, but never told anyone about what they were up to.”

“We had a good time, didn’t we?” Anisa said. “But now you must concentrate on your fiancée.”

“I know. But in the meantime, let’s have dinner.”

 


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