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A love in hiding

I was watching the last of the soap suds disappear down the plug-hole of the kitchen sink, when I heard a knock at the front door. I looked at the clock on the wall, that smug look on its face, proudly telling me it was very late. I sighed to myself because I knew exactly who was behind the knocking. It had to be Jodi. Only she would be found knocking my door at this time of night. And it was only she that I would ever open it for at such an hour. Jodi was my neighbour; but she was more than that to me; although she didn’t know it.

I opened the door to find her leaning against the doorframe. Her make-up had run where she had been crying, and her long dark hair was soaking wet due to the pouring rain. She had a red rain soaked coat draped around her fine shoulders. Rainwater had crawled a good few inches up the denim at the bottom of her blue jeaned legs also. Her blue eyes were framed by red eyelids. But it wasn’t just the crying that had turned them that way; she was also very drunk.

‘He’s done it again!’ she cried, ‘how could he?!’

‘He’ was Mark; Jodi’s miscreant of a part time boyfriend. I say part time because they had spent as much time apart as together since they became an item. I never understood why she bothered with him. He never treated her right; I knew for a fact I could look after her better than he did; that was all I wanted to do; just look after her forever. She fell through the doorway; I helped her into the living room. She kicked her heels off, threw her coat on the floor, and then slumped onto the sofa. I lifted her legs up onto it and made sure she had ample cushions to lay her head on.

‘He’s a complete bastard!’ she moaned.

‘What’s he done now Jodi?’

‘What hasn’t he done!? I should find myself someone better; in fact I deserve someone better!’

I wanted to say something but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I went to the bathroom to get a towel for her wet hair. When I got back she was sat up furiously composing a text message on her phone. I had a good idea of who it was being sent to.

‘Is that really advisable? You’ll only regret it. You should let the dust settle for tonight. Things will look different in the morning.’

She ignored my advice, ‘any danger of getting a drink around here?’ she demanded.

‘Certainly, I’ll pop the kettle on now; white no sugar yeah?’

‘Hilarious! Now if you would be so kind, I’ll have a glass of wine please.’ She opined.

I couldn’t help myself. I acquiesced and went to the kitchen to execute Jodi’s instructions. I returned to find her fully reclined on the sofa again. She was staring at the ceiling, clearly deep in thought. I placed the drink next to her on the floor and then positioned myself in the armchair opposite. The silence lasted for a few minutes. Jodi looked over at me,

‘You’re a nice man.’

Her voice was softening as she continued, ‘a very very nice man indeed.’

She then reached out for her drink and raised it slowly to her lips. She took a few sips and then reclined again. I watched as she gently closed her eyes. I knew exactly what was going to happen next, I had seen it so many times before. She turned on her side, clamped her hands her into chest, and then fell asleep. I decided to keep vigil for an hour or so. I listened to her gently breathing as she slept; I thought of how much I loved her, yet how afraid I was to tell her. That was obviously because I was a nice man as she said. But I couldn’t help but feel that being nice was getting me nowhere; nowhere at all. Mine was obviously an unrequited love, the yearning I had for Jodi was so strong, but I knew I couldn’t face it if I told her how I felt and she rebuffed me. So I continued to be just a nice man, a very very nice man indeed. As she slept I thought back to when I first met Jodi. I figured it must have been three years since. It was the day I moved into the avenue. She kindly kept the removal guys and myself in tea and biscuits all day. She seemed livelier then; Mark had obviously crushed some of the spirit out of her since she started seeing him. I remembered their first big public argument. I say first as there had been dozens since! I was sat watching the television one evening when I heard the slamming of a car door. I went to the window to see Jodi angrily walking away from a taxi. Mark was sat inside it. He was shouting at her through the passenger window; he seemed to be enjoying the profanities pouring from his foul mouth. After the taxi had left I took it upon myself to go and see if she was alright; but she wouldn’t answer the door to me.

And now here she was again. I’d lost count of the number of times she had called in on me at some ungodly hour. And I always welcomed her in; I loved nothing more than falling into her world, however upset, however drunk she was. I continued to watch her sleep. There was a gentle purr emanating from her lips as she lay there. I then went to the spare bedroom and pulled the quilt off it. I returned to Jodi and gently lay it over her. I left her and went to bed.

The following morning I found the sofa empty except for the quilt and a wine glass with its stale contents sat inside it. She had gone, but she had left me a hastily scribbled note. I read it slowly;

‘Thanks for being there and listening, hope I wasn’t a nuisance!’

The note was signed with a flourishing letter ‘J’ and a huge kiss. As I held it in my hand I wished I could kiss her for real. But I knew that all I could do was wait for the next knock at the door.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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