She loved everything mystical, from incense and oils to tarot and Feng Shui, she looked, felt and smelled the part. He saw her in soft focus and wondered if her heart and mind were also not as sharp as they could be. While soft focus is a virtue for the heart it’s an impediment to the mind. They met five years ago and from the beginning they were opposites, and, as if to comply with the laws of nature, they were attracted. The beginning is a wonderful place, where the things that annoy become trifles and the things that please become sublime. His ceaseless tapping on the table would once have driven her to distraction, it would again, but for a while, this, and her habit of changing the subject mid sentence had no significance.
He was bemused by her heptagon of purple velvet, laid out carefully and surrounded by gently flickering candles and crystals of various colours, shapes and sizes, that was where she focussed and meditated, deftly wielding the shiny amethyst crystals among a pot-pourri of star signs, cards and numerology, all reflected and distorted beyond recognition by a crystal ball that had once belonged to a “real gypsy”. “I’m a Cancer” she’d said, and he’d chuckled to himself, hoping she was benign.
She believed in preordained love, it was in the numbers. He resisted her desire to do his numbers, imagining himself as currency and her as the accountant, separating his various denominations and allocating each to its correct column. In pieces, he amounted to no more than debits, credits, assets and liabilities. To her, it meant getting the numbers to balance, she knew the way, and then they’d ‘fit together’ and ‘live happily ever after’.
His stolid resistance yielded to nothing more mystical than her feminine charms. Her first creative calculation offered tangible hope. By sleight of hand the balance became perfect and, to her unbridled delight, the numbers spoke beyond doubt of another child. She had one and he had two and between them she saw another, it was right there, the numbers said two for her and three for him, it was destiny. A smug cynical grin masked his secret….he was fixed, ‘firing blanks’, the pathology proved conclusively that she had the wrong numbers, no third kid for him.
The blinding optimistic tint of rose coloured glasses faded, the incessant table-tapping and confusing mid sentence topic changes took their inevitable toll. Within a year they unceremoniously closed their joint account. He heard she had another kid a couple of years ago after a brief fling.
He didn’t think of her often, though the occasional sweet tantalising scent of a woman wearing rhododendron oil sparked temporal cynical reminiscences of her number worship. His cynicism took a fatal blow last week when he received a call from a young woman boldly claiming to be his twenty year old love child. He knew instinctively it wasn’t a wrong number. She’d been there all along.
© Matthew Penfold 2009
Written for Graphic Scratch
Theme “wrong Number”
Word count = 500