Translation to English: Elizabeta Bakovska
WINTER AFTERNOON. IT IS ALREADY GETTING DARK. This time she arrived to the restaurant precisely on time, which rarely happens. Although she comes directly from work, she can not exactly predict when she would arrive, but her apologies don’t help her. If she is five or ten minutes late, she experiences this as an irrevocable loss. She thinks that she could have spent this time with him, listening to his voice, looking at his face.
He leans above her and lightly touches her cheeks with his lips, first one of them, then the other. She deeply inhales his familiar scent.
They have about an hour and a half, two at most. For her, this is the only time that counts before she sinks into the familiar everyday rhythm again.
She looks at him. He catches his breath a bit, he was in a hurry. His forehead is a bit sweaty, despite the cold weather. His high forehead. Smooth, without a single wrinkle, the forehead of a handsome, young man. She looks aside, she does that sometimes when she sees that she has looked at him for too long, with that look. As if she is hungry. That is how he once said, you look at me as if you are going to eat me up. Of course, she remembers every detail of that scene: the way he sat across from her at the conference table, how he avoided her eyes at first, stubbornly looking at his coffee cup, how he turned towards the professor next to him and discussed about something with him for a long time.
I am hungry, she says with a smile that she uses trying to cover her real hunger. She does not dare to speak any further, to complete her sentence. I am hungry for you, she would say, is she dared. But there are no such words between the two of them.
Her unspoken words burn in her throat as she swallows them.
She wonders if she is successful in this cover-up and why she covers what so obviously exists between the two of them at all, the desire to be together. But she knows that the answer is so banal that sometimes her head hurts: she has to refrain. He is so much younger than she is and maybe such looks on her side at a public place would embarrass him. Maybe the waitress would notice it and she would be disgusted with the older woman who is definitely not that young man’s mother since she stares at him so hungrily. But isn’t his shy avoiding of her eyes a childish behaviour? If she warns him that he acts immaturely, maybe… At the moment he reaches for her hand, her doubts quiet down.
She knows that they will both order the apple cake. Later, at home, she would eat some of the previously cooked dinner, together with her husband. Her husband does not like to eat alone. He can eat lunch alone. But not the breakfast and dinner, though. It would be infidelity, he will be angry as a child whose favourite toy has been stolen. Sometimes it feels that food, those two daily meals that they eat together are the only thing that keeps them together. But she knows that is not true and that sometimes she is unjust to that man, who is important to her and whom she has no intention of divorcing.