Travelling in parallel

artist 814616The years had flown since Tom had seen Daphne yet she looked exactly the same. He’d recognise those green eyes anywhere. She was still as slim, hair just as long and dark, assistance provided by a bottle, he suspected.

He’d booked the artists’ retreat as an escape from love, never thinking he’d rekindle it – create more than just a watercolour or two.

Tom said nothing about knowing her when they’d first met, been introduced by Flora Evans, shown the orchard overlooking the rolling French countryside. They’d laughed and joked over lunch; Tom, Daphne, Flora and three others whose names had escaped him, until they got better acquainted over the evening meal of veal, Dauphinoise potatoes and fresh vegetables from Mrs Evans’ garden.

Tom made sure he sat opposite Daphne so she would have plenty of time to see his face, remember it from primary school, secondary school then college. Two lives travelling in parallel yet never meeting until now.

“What do you do, Tom?” Steve had asked from the end of the table.

“Retired salesman,” he answered, smiling at Steve, but his mind still on Daphne.

“Selling what?”

“Light bulbs.”

Steve had uttered the one-word which usually followed; “Oh”, before starting to recount his life as a ship’s purser, his adventures rivalling that of Jack Sparrow’s.

As Tom looked back at Daphne she was gazing into Steve’s eyes, which Tom had noticed were as green as hers. Tom’s, his late wife had said, were dark and brooding, but he’d thought they were dull, lifeless, making him feel the same. Until he’d stepped out of the taxi and seen Daphne ringing the chateaux’s doorbell.


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