Continues from here.
So I did actually to manage a little sleep that night. Thoughts of Simon jangled through my head each time I closed my eyes, they were the pleasant thoughts, the thoughts of sex, the thoughts of pleasure, the thoughts I hoped would put me to sleep, and they may well have eventually but it took a long time.
The thoughts I had when my eyes were open were the ones that kept me awake because I kept rehashing them wishing I had handled them differently. The scene at Simon’s dinning room table, the scene where she came into the cafe and the damn scene where she paraded her kids past my house. For each one I had a head full of multiple scenarios that would have been better than what I actually did. Picking up the papers and calling her bluff, removing her from the cafe before she made a scene, staying inside the house longer, all may have worked but they were all too late and would change nothing, but my mind wouldn’t rest.
I did try to close my eyes often, not just because the images when they were closed were more pleasant but because I was really trying to go to sleep, but each time they closed it was like an invisible power forced them open again. But like I say I did eventually get to sleep.
I woke up crabby from a lack of sleep but by the time I’d made coffee and some toast for breakfast I was feeling a little better. In the hot shower the cascading water running down my bare skin continually reminded me of Simon’s touch and our hot and sweaty encounter of the previous night. As I soaped up my body the feelings intensified and I found myself wishing he was standing under the water with me, but I knew that was not going to happen and rather than get myself excited I rinsed and got out of the shower.
Like most days I arrived at work first and began the prep work for the day. Prep work was a good and peaceful job it gave my mind time to relax into work mode, I know that sounds kind of weird but that’s the way my mind works. Sometimes I listened to the news on the radio, sometimes music but most days I just preferred the silence until Sonya arrived.
By some stroke of luck Sonya didn’t pick up any weird vibes from me, something she’s usually good at, and by lunch time I found myself wondering if there was something wrong with her. It’s not that I wanted to tell her about my previous night but for some strange reason her not picking up that something had happened had me concerned.
“Something wrong kiddo?” I asked as she came into the kitchen to make herself some lunch. Usually the ‘kiddo’ comment would get a reaction, she didn’t hate it but that didn’t stop her telling me she did and I only used in a caring manner when I thought something was wrong. No reaction gave me the answer I needed.
“No, why do you ask?”
“You haven’t been yourself all morning. You didn’t even react to the kiddo comment. So come on tell me what’s up.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” She grumbled as she went looking through the fridge for some bread.
“And how often don’t I want to talk about things and you drag them out of me anyway.” I asked
“How is it different?”
“Because you need help with your love life.”
Now we were getting somewhere. “Oh so it’s about a girl? What happened? Has Tracey done something to upset you?”
“I said I don’t want to talk about it.”
Sonya continued to make her lunch. It’s something I always encouraged of her, I saw no reason for a permanent staff member to bring her own lunch when there was plenty here for her to eat and for the effort she put in lunch was a small price to pay over and above her generous wage.
“Neither do I half the time but you still make me now sit down and tell me what’s going on or I’ll fire you!” She knew I wouldn’t but she decided to sit down anyway.
While I continued to make the incoming orders Sonya and I spoke, she didn’t eat much lunch because she was feeling so down but I did notice she had eaten something the few times I returned from delivering orders to the front counter. What I got out of her was that Tracy the girl she’d been dating for nearly four years had been keeping secrets from her. It wasn’t secrets of a sexual nature, there was no ‘other’ woman, or man for that matter, it was secrets about her personal life.
It took me a little digging but what I found at was that Sonya’s girlfriend, Tracy, had been hiding the fact that she had been diagnosed with depression and was receiving counselling for it. Sonya claimed, and I believed her, that she saw some signs when they were alone but no more than can be seen in most people these days and when they were in public, which was often, there was no signs of it at all. I reminded Sonya that she was not a doctor and that a person can become good a hiding things from the ones they are close to, it didn’t make her feel any better but she did agree.
“It’s the fact that she didn’t want to, or couldn’t tell me that hurts the most.” Sonya said quietly with her face down looking at the table. “I mean we’ve shared some of the most intimate parts of our lives, but she couldn’t tell me she was having issues. Does she not think I can handle it? Does she think I’ll dump her because she has a mental illness? Seriously what does she take me for?”
I hadn’t had any close dealings with people with a mental illness before and each of Sonya’s questions did seem entirely valid but what I did know was that they were questions that I could not answer for her, Tracy was the only one that could answer them.
“I’m sure it’s not like that.” I started with my rather weak effort of support, but I had nothing else. “I’ve seen the two you of together, she loves you I’m sure of it.” Sonya didn’t look convinced. “I’m serious, look I don’t know much about mental illness other than it effects all people differently but I’m sure she had legitimate reasons for not telling you until now.”
“She didn’t tell me! I found out because she left some paperwork out and I could help but see it was her psychiatrist’s report.”
“Does she know you’ve seen it?” I asked.
“She knows I have it but I haven’t been able to face her since she asked me if she had left it at my place.”
Stating the bleeding obvious I said. “Girl you need to go and see her. If you really do care about her and bugger me even I can see you do, she needs your support not your absence.”
“How do I bring it up?” Sonya asked, I couldn’t believe how the girl who had stood up for me so confidently against Simon’s ex-wife was crumpling before me.
“Straight up and quick in the best advice I can give you girl.”
Sonya was more than pleased for her lunch break to end and although she left the kitchen with less weight on her shoulders I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d left a weight of a different kind on them. The next few times I saw her enter the kitchen she still looked worried and not herself and at 3:00pm I told her she needed to go and talk to Tracey. At first she disagreed saying that work was better for her than a broken heart. However given her persistence with me and Simon I wasn’t going to take no for an answer and told her that if she didn’t go and talk to Tracy I’d sack her…again.
Twice in one day with a threat of being sacked, she really knew I was joking but something in her mind must have kicked in and decided that talking to Tracy really was the best thing because she eventually agreed to leave work and go and see the girl she cared so much about.
Even with the lunch rush over and the number of meals needing to be prepared dropping off it was still a fairly busy afternoon and the two part time girls and I were moving pretty quickly. It wasn’t until I saw Simon standing at the door of the kitchen I finally remembered that I had invited him in for a chat. What we were going to discuss I didn’t know but it was my invite he was taking up.
Looking at him as he entered I said. “Awe shit, I’m sorry I forgot you were coming.”
“That’s ok I can wait.” he replied sweetly.
“I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a while. I had to send Sonya home because of a love life crisis and we are run off our feet. I’m not going to have time to talk.”
“I may not be an a-grade chef but I know how to do dishes.” he replied and stepped up to the sink full of water.
“Simon, I’m thankful but I can ask you to do that.”
“You didn’t ask.”
For the next two hours we worked side by side not once did Simon complain and if he couldn’t work out what to do with something he asked. He was like a model employee, so much so that I nearly considered offering him a job.
At 4:30pm as we began to wind down and shut the kitchen off for the day Simon finally stopped cleaning things.
“Thank you so much for your help.” I said putting some of the dried dishes away in their right place. “You really didn’t have to stay and help.”
“You’re right I didn’t but you invited me in this afternoon for a chat, and I wasn’t leaving until we had that chat.”
I guess I owed him that much after the effort he put in and thirty minutes later the front door was locked and I was making coffee for the two of us.
“So where would you like this chat to start?” he asked me as we sat down in the outside smoking area that no longer got used for smoking.