“I don’t know why you’re letting this upset you so much,” Annah said. Lovely Annah Cooper, head accountant at the Royal Opera House, 59 years old, happily married to Robert for 37 years. What that meant to Kendra is that she was in no position to really understand the situation. She was last in the dating game when Harold Wilson was prime minister and Kendra hadn’t even been born yet. What did she know about the intricate dynamics of the modern relationship. Way out of her league, Kendra suspected.
“It’s just that he never wanted to have a baby with me. With me! Why? What’s wrong with me?”
“Kendra, dear, I think we both know there is nothing wrong with you. Quite frankly I think you dodged a bullet. Imagine a child from Will. I doubt it would walk by the time it had to go to school having to carry the burden of that genetic lethargy.” Annah shook her head in dismay. She felt genuinely sad for Will’s unborn offspring.
Kendra stood up. She needed to stop thinking about Will and Maxy and their future babies. It was seriously doing her head in. She needed some fresh air to clear her muddled mind. “I need a coffee, can I get you anything?”
“Bring me one of those chocolate donuts they have, please, but I’ll stick with my tea. I don’t know how you manage that coffee, I won’t be surprised you don’t grow hair on that chest of yours it’s so strong.”
“That would be nice, hair on my chest, just what I need,” Kendra said. “That ought to have the men lining up.”
Outside it was one of those rare London spring days, sunny with a gentle breeze, a hopeful day filled to the brim with possibility, but Kendra barely noticed. She was so caught up with anger about Will and Maxy. She couldn’t get past the fact that he would have a baby with that ridiculous child-woman and not with her. Why? What was wrong with her? She’d be a perfect mother. She was practical and sensible and loving.
Maybe there was something wrong with her and she just couldn’t see it. Maybe everyone else saw it but was keeping quiet on the issue so as to not offend her. Maybe that was why she was 35 years old and completely single. Not a single man waiting in the wings. No hope of love or marriage or a baby and time was closing in on her. Soon it would be too late. Soon she would be a dried up old spinster. Spinster! What an awful, bitter word. She would be a spinster! What could be worse than that?
As she walked she tried to think of all of the things that could be worse than that in an attempt to cheer herself up. War was worse. She could be taken somewhere to fight in a terrible war. Or she could get cancer, or her mother could get cancer or Carmen could get hit by one of those crazy pizza delivery guys. And then she was crying. She sat down on a bench. She told herself- see? Spinster is good, considering. It didn’t work. She needed the big guns, she bought a custard éclair covered with a thick layer of dark chocolate to go with her coffee and walked back to the office.
“Here you go,” she said dropping the donut on Annah’s desk.
Annah looked up at her smiling, oddly. “You’re not going to guess what happened while you were out.”
“Yes, I’m likely not going to, so why don’t you tell me?” She sat down at her desk by the window in their cramped office. Her vile mood sat around her like fug of smoke. She took a big bite of her éclair and a sip of the acid that posed as coffee. She was in no mood for guessing games. “So? Go on then?”
“He called.” Annah kept smiling. Smiling as if she was about to explode with happiness.
“Who? Will? What the hell for? I told him to go and have a good life which to anyone else with any sense would mean piss off. He is such an idiot. What did he want the stupid wanker?”
Annah shook her curly, grey head. “No, not Will. The Egyptian.”
Kendra dropped the éclair back on to the bag and jumped up. “Asra? He didn’t.”
“He did!” Annah waved a paper. “And here’s his number!”
Kendra grabbed Annah around her tidy waist and they danced a waltz across the office. Both singing, “He called me! He called me!” to a ¾ beat.