I’ve been thinking how finally I seem to have struck a good balance between my home and work life. George is happy, working hard and I am also doing my thing and happy.
Yesterday was my colleague Sheila’s big day. She recorded an interview for TV, which can be a nerve-wracking experience the first time you face the cameras. We’d spent the first two days of the week prepping and going over and over the same detail but she was still a bundle of nerves when the crew turned up at our office. It took just 5 takes and I am sure it’ll be received as a brilliant piece when it airs mid next week.
While the filming was going on in the boardroom, I ordered peppered roast beef sandwiches and vegetable samosas and Norma prepared ginger tea for me and a flask of coffee black just the way Sheila likes it. She came into my office when she finished filming and I could see a faint sheen of perspiration on her neck. Sheila had refused me to be there during the interview, she said I’d make her nervous. Although she said how much she’d enjoyed herself, it was clear the morning’s excitement had also sapped her energy. She sat across my desk and sighed, saying her high heels were killing her from all the standing around.
So I drew the blinds shut inside my office and I asked if she wanted me to rub her feet or shoulders since she was obviously exhausted. I know it’s scandalously outrageous, but this is how it is lately between the two of us. No one could see into the office and she also rubs my shoulders now and again when I’m tense. I can’t even remember where we crossed the line. Anyway Sheila said yes please do and kicked off her shoes. I took her stockinged size six and a half feet in my hands and started to rub the tension away as she carried on talking. After about fifteen minutes of this we both didn’t feel like being in the office and things have almost ground to a halt around here, so I picked up both my jacket and Sheila’s poncho and lied to reception that we were going for a client visit for the rest of the day. I needn’t have bothered, the guys were more interested in the platter of sandwiches that had gone untouched and which I offered them. We hadn’t discussed where we were going, just that it was for a quiet drink. Sheila drove her car and I followed in mine to her place along Lantana Road.
When we got inside Sheila’s 3rd floor apartment, you couldn’t fault her taste in furnishings or décor. She opened a couple of bottles of red, brought out the cheese board and we started dancing and trying to sing first Anita Baker's Caught up in the rapture (six times) and then Counting Crows’ Accidentally In Love (four times, volume turned up) from the lyrics in the cd jackets. It felt so indulgent doing this at two in the afternoon while most people were happily slogging away, but it won’t come as a shock to learn I didn’t feel any guilt. I was feeling so safe and cosy because I really really love my friend I can’t even start to tell you now, and there’s only that one secret between us. Then we sat on the settee and carried on talking about work and stuff, mainly she was talking because I like to listen more so that I can remember things. I was just resting my head raised on the arm of the settee and Sheila was twirling my tie which I’d removed, through her fingers. We were sipping the spiciest South African Shiraz and I could even smell the Thierry Mugler’s Angel on her. That’s how intense it was. I couldn’t think of anything except what an amazing person I’m listening to and I started to see she more than just likes me. The voice inside my head kept me in check, Tamaku, all these beautiful creatures are sent to try you…
Anyway so sorry to disappoint, there are no juicy bits yet because nothing happened and I don’t think anything will ever happen, we just chilled for the next two hours and I was careful not to drink more than two glasses although Sheila didn’t hold back. The party for two was interrupted by the buzzing intercom. It was the caretaker of the flats who wanted me to move my car and I knew it was time to leave. Sheila came to see me off at the parking and I was soon on my way home. Along the way I came across the mangled remains of a midnight-black Audi Q7 driven by teenagers that had collided with the back of a truck; such senseless carnage on our roads every day. The young dead were still strapped inside the car and I felt an overwhelming sense of grief thinking about their families. RIP poor kids.
At home over dinner I told George about everything I’d been up to in the afternoon, and now he says he wants to meet this Sheila (pun unintended) I’m spending so much time with. I said yes, we must arrange something.
Later I was trying to fall asleep lying in bed next to George but my mind was still ticking away. I couldn’t get the memory of the day with Sheila out of my head and I felt as if I’d brought a part of her home with me.