Today, as usual, she will speak with that young editor about the new issue of the magazine, the book reviews. This is a business meeting, every meeting that they have is a business meeting. They speak of the texts that she should translate.
They avoid speaking about themselves, about the life before their meeting.
He closes his eyes as if he also needs a moment to pull himself together and transport himself into the reality of the restaurant. Then they talk. A lot, passionately. She thinks that his words are replacements for touches and that he might be aware of it. She focuses on the sound of his voice, deep and pleasant, the confirmation that he is here, with her. They are both here, together, at the table of a dark restaurant. They can not stop being together. They do not touch, they only talk.
Now he speaks of the new book that she has just started to translate. That is how she manages to follow. While he speaks, his eyes are unbearably turquoise, as the sea on the posters about the Caribbean in the tourist agency shop windows. She thinks that this colour is quite surreal. He himself is somehow surreal. He keeps appearing in her life for quite some time once, sometimes twice per month, and then he disappears. It would be unbearable if they saw each other more often. Their fragile relationship would turn into usual meetings or it would grow into something dangerous, suicidal. She is afraid that he is too young to be aware of the feeling that he causes inside her. She is the one that runs away from the meetings with him, she avoids going to the office, she invents reasons not to come to the meeting. Still, she is aware that he senses something from her look on his skin, his face, as if she caresses him. A touch without touches.
As soon as they agree on the date for the next meeting, she expects it for days in advance. She changes from early in the morning, not a single peace looks good on her. Her palms sweat, she feels slightly dizzy, her hear beats faster and she is nervous from excitement. For some time now, she is scared from her own body than from their meeting, from its needs.
Now, her warmth reaches him across the table. He takes off his coat. He smells of tobacco. She can not stand the smell of tobacco. She does not allow her guests to smoke in her apartment, only via the open window. The smell of tobacco on him is magical. Because it mixes with the smell of her skin, which she hungrily breaths in. As the two of them lean over the pages of her translation, she feels again this smell that makes her lightheaded. She tells him that he poisons her with the tobacco smoke evaporating from him. He laughs, his teeth are white and straight, his lips full.
That smile. She yearns for it. She would cup his face in her hands with pleasure, she would draw him to herself and she would press a kiss on it? Why should not she do it, at least once, nobody knows them in the restaurant anyway?
Their age difference is sometimes confusing to her. Sometimes, when she says him after a long time, she feels concern, motherly concern, which has no place between them. She looks for signs of fatigue of diseases, sometimes that would reveal more about him. He does not want to speak about himself. There is something soft about him, some vulnerability, almost child-like, because of a sickness that he had as a child. Without any reason, she imagines him as a small child, bed tied, with a book in his hands. Then he runs, plays football, he wants to be the same as the other boys in the school and defeat the sickness. And he manages. His muscles of an athlete show under his clothes. He is no longer a boy, but his vulnerability, which he hides well, has remained. The exciting mixture of a child and a man which would seemingly accidently touch her on the shoulder. Or when he leans to her to draw her attention to a word in the text.
She hates herself when she feels concerned and she tries to imagine him at the moments when they are not together. Just as now, at the table, in the restaurant. With a plate with apple cake and two glasses of white wine in front of themselves. For the two of them there is no other time than this. And there is no other place except this restaurant, which does not look dark in the winter twilight.
As she sits with him at the restaurant table, she feels completely present, focused on him. She does not hear his voice any more, she only hears it as a distant rumour. Only his presence and the excitement that fulfils her matter. Only the time when they are together matters. She wants him, she wants to be with him, but she does not do anything to attract him. She only becomes more and more aware of her own transformation with every meeting. The young man on the other side of the table turns her into a woman again. It is enough to look at him, for him to smile at her. He enlightens her with his smile, he makes her visible. He is the beautiful and deceitful mirror that has the power to show her a different version of herself.
She knows that it is unjust to her husband, with whom she would sit at a table in half an hour and listen to his familiar, soothing voice. A soothing voice, that is the difference between them.
One voice soothes her. The other one upsets her.