I'll Tell Her Tomorrow

Jack Dunne


© Copyright 2011 by Jack Dunne


Photo of a hand holding a telephone receiver.

The invitation said eight o'clock, so he decided that thirty minutes after that was time enough to make his appearance. On arrival at the apartment he was greeted by the host and the usual pleasantries were exchanged. It was a small apartment, located on the ground floor, there was only one bedroom judging by the number of doors that were visible from the hallway. He entered the living room, which consisted of two small sofas, a television, a small house plant in one of the corners, a sparsely filled bookcase and a dining table. There were no chairs around the table, probably cleared away to make more standing room. On the table there was the an array of food that could be found at events such as this, as he looked around there were fewer people then he expected, perhaps leaving it another thirty minutes would have helped. A quick look around at the faces confirmed she hadn't arrived yet. The host emerged with the drink that was promised on his arrival and then introduced him to the couple standing near-by. For once he was happy to be involved in the customary small talk.

It was over an hour later before she arrived, there was a natural tendency to look at the door as each guest arrived and therefore he saw her enter, her attire was casual and this surprised him but he wasn't sure why. It was over five years ago when they first met, it seemed longer. They exchanged smiles and she mouthed the word hello to him. He moved into the kitchen and joined in a conversation about horse racing. He was content to stay were he was, and was putting in his time so that his departure wouldn't be cause for that much unwanted attention. It was just after midnight when he left, slightly later then he had wanted but he did manage to slip away without too many people noticing. He had spent the last ten minutes or so in the living room, and apart from catching her eye a couple of times, there was no other contact. Even when he was going there was no more then a nod from both parties.

The rain came down while he was walking home but it wasn't heavy and he quickened his pace to get home that little bit sooner. Upon arriving home, he took off his coat and turned on the television, there was nothing of interest on. The phone rang, and he took it out of his pocket, glanced at the screen to confirm who it was, then switched it to silent and rested it on the arm of the sofa. It was still a distraction as the room was dark and the phones light was making shapes on the ceiling. He never used the message minder on the phone, so it could ring for a long time, and it did. When it did stop it was followed by a text alert a moment later. Even his basic curiosity didn't encourage him to look at it. After another ten minutes or so it rang again, this time he didn't silent the ringing but let it ring out loud. It rang for maybe two minutes, he picked up the phone, answered it. The conversation lasted an hour, after that he went to bed.

The next morning was warmer and brighter then it had been all week, he awoke naturally at about ten, and, as was his routine made some coffee. The nice weather encouraged him to go for a walk, and this took up the rest of the morning. Back at home he had lunch and decided to go into town for the afternoon, more out of boredom then any other reason.

As he passed the Shelbounre hotel en route to Grafton street he noticed her walking about 80 yards ahead. She was on her own. When she got to the art gallery window on the corner of Dawson street she paused to look in, if he wanted a opportunity to avoid her now was his chance. Instead he walked up behind her and placed his hand on her back while saying her name. The painting in the window had taken her away some place else, and she was startled to be brought back so suddenly. They laughed and then talked, they were both going in the same direction so it was only natural they should walk together. They stopped at various windows along the way, sometimes to make fun of what was being offered, or sometimes to suggest the other would look magnificent in whatever clothes or accessories were being displayed. They got to the top of Grafton street and continued walking towards Trinity collage, neither saying where their final destination was and neither volunteering that information. When they got to Nassau street he suggested they go for a coffee, she looked at her watch, and then agreed. They continued walking until they found a quite coffee shop, he ordered two coffees and they sat down and made themselves comfortable.

It was five o'clock before they got ready to leave, too much coffee was drunk but neither was willing or wanting the meeting to end. They walked outside and both seemed to welcome the fresh air again, it was still relatively warm for that time of the evening. She went to say goodbye, but he pre-empted that by insisting on walking her to her car. She didn't need to be persuaded. As they final said goodbye he walked back to his car, his mind still going over the events of the afternoon, the highlights of the conversation being replayed. He smiled and even laughed a number of times on the way to the car. He couldn't help but notice with most people, conversations were about things that had happened to them, reminiscing, regrets, tales of past glories. With her it was different, it was about the future, what it had in store, what adventures awaited and what harvest current plans would reap. She was different. That was the problem. It wasn't so much how he felt when he was with her, it was how he felt when he wasn't with her.

It was dark when he got home, he had stopped to get something to eat on the way. He sat down and turned on the television, after a quick scan he settled on a film that had just started. He watched it but when it ended he honestly couldn't recall what it was about, his mind was elsewhere. The house needed some tidying up before he would retire for the evening. It was done at a slower pace then usual. He wondered if he would sleep that night, but already knew the answer. When the last task was completed he picked up the phone, her's was the last number on it from the time she called the previous night. He called her, the phone rang out but no answer, he didn't bother leaving a message. It rang five minutes later, now was the time, he was going to tell her, they spoke for about an hour and a half. The call ended with a goodnight. He didn't tell her. He would tell her tomorrow. That seemed like a much better time to do it, today wasn't right, tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow would be perfect. He would tell her tomorrow.

The next day was a work day, he had to drive a lot for his job which suited him in lots of ways. Sitting in an office all day didn't appeal to him and the variety of his day was great. Also it allowed a certain flexibility to what he could do during the day. This particular day was busy, but he was glad of that, he welcomed having work consume most of his thoughts and energy. A busy day made for a long day and it was after eight when he eventually opened his front door. He liked cooking so even after a hectic day, making dinner was not a chore. After, he read for a while and then went for a walk. He liked walking late in the evening and got to know a few of the neighbours that way, most of them were out because they had dogs that needed to be attended too. When he came back he felt tired, so got ready for bed and it didn't take long before he fell asleep. This was the pattern for rest of week, apart from calling into friends one evening it was a fairly uneventful, even a boring week. There was also nothing in his diary for the weekend, which he convinced himself was a good thing, a chance to take it easy. So Friday night came around as it inevitable does, and the evening was spent watching television and then early to bed, the logic being that he would wake up early and squeeze more out of the weekend.

The weekend begin properly at eight the next morning, he awoke feeling the better for the early night. Later a text message came through advising him of a night out that evening. It was only a few friends and it was local, so it suited his needs perfectly. He replied to say he would be there and was already looking forward to it before the message was sent. In theory a weekend doing nothing sounds lovely, but in practice, its always nice to get out. The day was uneventful, it was spent grocery shopping, cleaning and other domestic duties. He arrived in the pub early, such was his desire to get out of the house. He ordered and choose a seat, there was a newspaper that someone had left behind so he began to browse through it. He enjoyed this down time. Over the next hour he was joined by his friends, and they had invited more people so it turned out to be a larger gathering then was promised. This was a welcome surprise and he found himself throughly enjoying the evening. He got talking to a woman called Rebecca and embraced her sense of humour immediately, he loved the stuff of nonsense and the ridiculous scenario's been painted by her musings. He never noticed that people had broken off into there own little pockets of conversations and it was just him and her left laughing at themselves. It was late now, and some people were talking of moving on to a late bar, he would have been happy to stay where they were all night but it was past closing time. They were asked if they wanted to join the others in the search for a new venue but she declined the offer and he took this as an opportunity to offer himself as an escort to the nearest taxi rank. When they walked the short distance there was plenty of taxi's waiting but they chatted for a while, eventually he asked for her number and as he held the door of the taxi open he made a commitment to call her.

Most of the next day was spent thinking of the night before. He had her number and couldn't wait to call her, but, when his thoughts started racing too far ahead he reminded himself that a great night doesn't necessarily mean a definite date. He stayed up late that night, and the phone rang just as he turned off the television, he didn't answer it, it was late enough to make the caller think he could be in bed.

On Monday, after work, he called Rebecca. The conversation on the phone was slightly formal and stinted but such was the way of these calls. They agreed to go out the following evening, a walk and few drinks were on the agenda. The following day he met her at the appointed place and they went for a walk in the nearby park. He felt at ease from the start and he was glad that the laughter and conversation flowed just as steadily in sobriety as it had done the first night they talked. Later that evening, outside her house, they kissed their goodbyes. This was the start of his relationship with Rebecca, they would eventually move in together. They would be together for just over three years.

In the early stages of the relationship the late night calls still occurred, and if he was to be honest he liked them coming and often instigated them. He told her everything about his romance, every detail and she listened, there was no reason to hide or hold back anything. Sometimes he would feel he was going on too much, but only because the conversation was about him and what he was doing, he would change the subject, allow her to talk about what was happening in her life. They rarely met during this time, occasionally their paths would cross by chance or at some social event.

Shortly after he split with Rebecca he tried to make sense of the romance, the good times and the not so good. One morning as he was stuck in traffic he wondered did he never want things to work out with himself and Rebecca. Sabotage was too big a word for it, but he never did allow them to grow or blossom. Moving in with her just happened, as if by accident. They were together for a year, he had to move from his rented apartment, her house lease was up. People were asking what kind of place they were looking for before they had even decided to move in together, it seemed an obvious thing to do, if not a natural one. So it was, they moved in and told each other they were happy. It was soon after she told him she loved him and he replied by saying he loved her. He enjoyed living with her, and they lived together for two years, he even found it difficult to remember any arguments they had. Not that they didn't have arguments, but there was no serious ones. He supposed thats why when he eventually told her he was leaving it came as such a shock to her, but he couldn't continuing living the way he was, he wasn't happy, and never would be. He moved into a hotel for a few days, to give her time to get her stuff together. He offered her the apartment but she declined, saying she couldn't stay in it after what happened. This made him even more guilty as he had no problem staying there. She moved out on the Saturday and he moved back in on the Sunday. Every trace of her was gone, it was clinical, she was completely removed from his life, what took over three years to build had disappeared without a trace in three days. Well, nearly without a trace, there was a note left on the kitchen table, he took it in his hand, read it, then folded the paper and put it in his wallet. A month later they spoke for the last time, shortly after that he was to learn she had moved to London for a new start. He hoped she got it.

The apartment was lonely and eerily quiet that first week after Rebecca had left, he didn't like it. He never felt the need to talk things through with anyone, I suppose he could be considered a private person but tonight he felt like talking. Not so much talking about his current situation but to talk about everything and anything. There was only one person to call, they hadn't spoken in a couple of months, but he knew he could call. Talking to her would be easy, he knew their thoughts would rhyme and he missed that. The phone had barely rung when it was answered, she seemed initially pleased to hear him and her voice was genuinely excited but it didn't last long. It was as if she had been caught unawares by his call and had allowed her giddy excitement to show before taking on a more demure persona. The conversation was standard for two people who needed to catch up after some time apart, he didn't mention the split, not a good opening line, he would fit that in a bit later. But, before this could happen, she said she had to go, couldn't talk. She promised to call later, or maybe tomorrow, but definitely by the end of the week, then they said goodbye. He knew they hadn't spoken in a while but the hurried end to the call seemed strange to him, if she couldn't talk now that was fine, but surely she could call later that night. Maybe she would call later, but he knew by her that was unlikely to happen. Lots of things went through his head, the conversation was meant to have helped him, calm him, but it turned out to make him anxious, worried. He was thinking of a myriad of situations that prevented her from calling, none of which he particularly liked. He needed to talk, the familiar desire of wanting to tell her what was going on in his head, very quickly rose to the surface of his being. It was consuming, urgent and a sense of restlessness was enveloping him.

He called her several times over the next few days but the calls where never answered or returned. Eventually, late one evening, she did call. He answered and chose to ignore that fact that she had taken so long to reply. Immediately he asked if they could meet up, she was hesitant at first, but he wouldn't let the call finish without a confirmed time and place for them to talk in person. It was to be the next morning, and after the arrangement was made, she hurried to get off the phone, suggesting that they could talk about everything tomorrow. After, he felt physically sick, maybe a couple of reasons for this. First of all, he didn't like the way the call transpired, the conversation was awkward, her reluctance to meet up and the way she wanted it to end after only a few minutes. Secondly, he knew he had to tell her all tomorrow, he had wasted so many years holding back. He had promised himself a thousand times he would tell her, but never did. This time it was for real, and he knew that, and that scared him like nothing else ever had.

The met the next morning, she was ten minutes late which didn't help his situation. He talked and she listened. He had told her everything, she seemed surprised but not shocked. He went to take her hand, but she withdrew it into herself. It was her turn to talk, she told him how she felt and explained her situation. After she was finished, she stood up, said goodbye and wished him well. He sat and watched her walk away, she never looked back. He went back to his house, went upstairs to the bedroom, closed the door, locked it, and pushed a chair under the handle to prevent the door being opened from the outside. It would give him enough time on the off chance someone would come looking for him that morning.

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