It is 3pm.Trish has spent the last hour debating on what to wear. She hasn't actually gone through the ritual of trying things on and then taking them off, but she has certainly gone through her entire wardrobe in her head. At one point she makes a decision, pulls on a pair of old designer jeans that have been washed so often that their color has faded to almost white. She pulls a white T-shirt over her head and finishes off with a man's blue denim shirt that she leaves unbuttoned. She combs through her hair and ruffles it free with her fingers. A little light makeup, a bead necklace and her wristwatch and she is ready to go.
James hasn't thought for a moment what to wear. He almost always wears flannel trousers, usually light gray, and a sports jacket. Today is no exception except that he has put on what is for him, a very modern tie. He, however has been very preoccupied with what he is going to say to Trish.
Trisha arrives at "Spooning" , the cafe where they decided to meet, at about ten past four. As before, James is sitting at a table for two near a window. He gets up when he sees her and pulls out her chair for her to sit.
Trisha: Sorry I'm late, I came up the wrong elevator.
James: That's OK, I only just got here myself. What would you like to drink?
Trisha: First things first "Hi, James, how are you ? Why do you look so worried""
James: Sorry Trisha, I'm forgetting my manners. I'm fine, what about you ?
Trisha: Fine, just fine.
James: You look very sporty. Dressed like that you look 20 years younger. Oh dear, that isn't what I meant. That is I did mean it but..........
Trisha bursts out laughing and James goes bright red. Trisha leans over the table and lays her hand on James's. This is the first time that they have touched apart from formal handshakes. Trisha notices that his skin is dry and warm. When she sees that James is still blushing she withdraws her hand.
Trisha: James, Now you look about 16. When was the last time you blushed. In any case anything that makes me look younger is OK by me. No need to be embarrassed.
The waitress comes over and they order . James has a cafe-latte and Trisha an iced herbal tea.
Trisha: Now don't start saying anything about herbal tea making me lose weight or you'll start blushing all over again. I knew it, you are blushing again.
James: Stop it Trisha. I'm beginning to feel like a 16 year old as well as looking like one. Let's talk about Sunday's dinner at your sisters.
Trisha sobers up in a split second.
Trisha: OK, You talk, since you're the one who wants to go more than me.
James: Well, let's get to basics. Now I'm going to try and say this without blushing so please don't make it difficult. Firstly, I like you. I had a great time the other evening. I felt really alive for the first time in ages. I felt as if the dust was falling off me. Secondly, I have nothing to hide and I am not ashamed of being who I am. Thirdly, there is no commitment. My going to your sisters means no more than my going to your sisters, if you see what I mean.
Trisha: I'm not sure I do. My sister is going to try anything to make me feel small and make you feel embarrassed. She is going to dig out all kinds of skeletons from family cupboards and make both of us never want to see each other again. I'll tell you something, James, I like you too. And I feel that this dinner is going to put a lot of strain on what is really only a second "getting to know each other" date. If this dinner would be in six month's time - assuming we were still together, we would have a basis, a foundation to rely on. What have we got now ? Not much. My sister knows almost as much about you as I do. Why rock the boat before we've even left harbor ?
James: Quite a speech. I told you, Trisha, that I will agree to whatever you decide, but one day you are going to have to face the problem of your sister. You are going to have to break the old pattern of her bullying you and you being the victim.
Trisha: I'm not a victim, she's a bitch.
James: Maybe she is a bitch, but only because you allow her to be one by being a victim for her. Please don't misunderstand me. I don't think you are a victim at all but this relationship with your sister seems to have turned you into one as far as she is concerned. I'm no psychologist but I do have life experience. That, As I gently pointed out to you the other evening, is one of the great advantages of being older. One of the great faults in being older is thinking that one can't change. That it's too late, Set in one's ways. Well, I don't accept that. So why don't we take the bull by the horns and give it a try. What's the worst that can happen? Is she going to pull out a 45 and shoot us both, or just me, which would be worse, I think. Come on Trisha, you can handle it, lets try and break the mold.
Trisha: You have a way, James, of being very persuasive. I'm not sure that it will work. Two weeks ago I didn't know you existed. By next Monday you may have returned to oblivion. What do I have to lose except - being a victim. I don't believe it but I'll give it a try.
James: So what do you have to do ?
Trisha: Call her up and say that I have discussed the matter with you and that you accept her invitation.
James pulls out a mobile phone from his pocket and offers it to Trisha.
James: Be my guest.
Trisha: Thanks, very clever James, making sure I won't get cold feet .
Trisha makes the call. There is noone home at her sister's so she leaves a brief message on the machine.
Trisha and James chat some more. James calls for the check and pays it quickly, waving aside Trish's attempts to pay herself, or split the bill.
They get up and walk to the entrance to the mall.
Trisha: Could you pick me up at my place on Sunday evening at about 6pm.
James: Sure, It'll be a pleasure.
Trisha steps towards James and kisses him on the cheek.
Trish: Bye, James.
James: Look at me, nary a blush. I must have broken the pattern. Bye.
Part V: Coming Soon