Nathalie and I are marooned in her office at the university with no power or heat and to make things worse, in a fit of rage, I smashed my i-phone.
All my pent-up frustration at being ignored or worse yet, rejected by her, has exploded inside me and I’m taking it out on her.
I know she doesn’t deserve to be treated this way but anger has its privileges, especially when the jilted male ego is involved.
I’ve been ignoring her pathetic attempts at conversation—probably in a puerile attempt to put her in her place.
I’m expecting to see a haughty look or an angry flush creeping up her neck, but her eyes are soft and vulnerable.
“I guess we’re really stuck, huh?”
Her voice wavers and she looks frightened.
I notice the temperature has dropped in the hallway and figure there’s no heat as well.
“I have some candles in my office,” she whispers, “at least we’ll have some light.”
Who the hell has candles in their office? I answer my own question by realizing she’s into yoga and probably uses them for meditating.
“Well, we might as well light those candles and settle in for a long winter’s night,” I sigh.
“It’s kind of an adventure,” she says half-hopingly.
“If we don’t freeze to death,” I grumble, staring out the window at the gathering darkness outside.
“At least we won’t starve to death,” she laughs. “I went shopping this morning at the market and have several shopping bags of food in the trunk of my car.”
The old male hunger triumphs over the male ego every time. “Really?” I ask eagerly. I realize I’m suddenly starving.
“Ivy and Aline were going to come over tonight for wine and cheese at my apartment—but it looks like we’re going to have the party here.”
“A moveable feast,” I say sarcastically.
I take her keys and head out into the storm and bring all the bags inside—including several bottles of Yellow Tail Cabernet—my favourite.
Nathalie’s thinking out loud, because if she’s talking, I’m not listening. I’m on strike—I’ve had it with aloof women.
“They say one taper candle alone can give enough heat to keep you alive—I have six pillar candles.”
I roll my eyes. I don’t want to go through this forced socializing—I just want to go home.
“Just light two or three—in case they don’t last the night. That should provide enough warmth and heat.”
She holds up her empty coffee cup. “Oh dear, I don’t have glasses—just this.”
“No problem,” I sigh. I have one discoloured slightly crumpled paper cup just like hers back in my office. I retrieve it from my office wastebasket.
She lights the candles while I use a corkscrew tool from my Swiss army knife to open a bottle of Yellow Tail.
“Aren’t we resourceful?” she says, eyes dancing.
“Well, no big deal on my part,” I say frostily. “I would have just pushed in the cork—but I guess it’s more civilized without fragments of cork in your cup.”
“Much more civilized,” she smiles encouragingly.
More romantic too, I muse—candlelight and wine—a jug of wine a loaf of bread and thou. Damn! I’m getting bitter. I’ve got to let go of my resentment.
She sets out several different varieties of cheese and breaks a French stick in two.
We sit on the carpet and picnic in the candlelight.
Flashes of green lightning waver outside and illumine the windows. She seems anxious.
Well, karma is a bitch they say.
I could take pleasure in the fact that she’s the one suffering now—get back a little of my own, so to speak, but is that really what I’m all about?
I don’t know what feels worse—being conflicted or being rejected, but sometimes life demands a response.
What my response is going to be, I have no idea, but I’m about to find out.