Episode 10a: Continuing our new online series – Will has further cause to question his views on women
Will looked at the solitary deflated fried egg glistening under the light of the breakfast buffet and decided to have the continental option. As he waited for his toast to emerge from the machine he glanced around and was pleased to spot Karin at a corner table.
When he had woken and taken in his hotel surroundings, he had been surprised that she wasn’t next to him in bed. He had felt good – pleased with himself, in fact. His conference paper had been very well received, the gala supper had been surprisingly enjoyable, and to top it all, he and Karin, after years of flirting at conferences, had finally made it into bed with each other.
He moved to sit beside her just as she was finishing her coffee and preparing to leave. He placed his hand over hers, smiling into her blue eyes. ‘Don’t go yet. We have a lot to discuss!’ Those eyes scanned his face with a cursory, ‘Do we? I don’t think so, Will. I have a train to catch.’ And then she was gone.
Will’s train was late and crowded. There were ‘problems with signalling’ so the journey would now take an extra 40 minutes. After fighting his way through to his reserved seat and finding it taken by a young woman and a baby, he upgraded to first class and ordered a gin and tonic. He kept thinking about the encounter at breakfast, and his previous self-confidence was beginning to fray. Why was Karin so frosty? In retrospect, possibly the sex had been a little rudimentary, but that was only because it had been so long since he had felt a woman’s body next to his. He dismissed any whispered suggestion that he was getting old. Next time it would be much better, he told himself, although he had to concede that his vision of an ongoing relationship looked rather unrealistic at this point. What was Karin playing at? Why are women so devious? The young black woman sitting across the aisle glared at him and he realised with a jolt that he had been openly staring at her.
He was stirred up and needed to calm down, he told himself. Work was the answer. He took out his notebook and saw an email from Georgia, saying she had enjoyed his paper and was thinking that some of his ideas might be applied to the Brazilian economy. Would he be interested in co-authoring an article? Cynically, Will thought, ‘so I provide the original thinking and you provide what, exactly?’ Another spike of anger stabbed him and he looked out of the window, trying to calm himself. She did have a very good writing style, better than his, and a reasonable reputation in her field, so perhaps it was worth considering. Another article in a four star journal would do him no harm, after all.
What did Karin want? He just could not get away from thinking about the night before and the morning after. The erotic traces of one were wiped out by the memory of the icy stare at the breakfast table. Supermarket man then walked across his mind, smirking. A terrible feeling of humiliation swept through his guts. Bloody Karin... what a bitch! And as for Jacqueline! Maybe his father had been right about women.
Just the thought of identifying with his despised father brought Will up short. He had a daughter who loved him, after all. He sent her a ‘how are you’ text, just to make contact. The reply came quickly – ‘good U ok will ring tonite oxford street crazy busy luv u xx’
Jacqueline was taking her shopping in London, he remembered. They would be arm in arm, giggling and gossiping, leaving him no space to join in if he had been there. It was a scene he knew very well, and the thought of it did not help at this moment. Another gin and tonic was probably not going to help either, but he thought it worth a try. Where on earth was he? He peered through the smeared window, but the light was fading and it was impossible to identify anything from the monotonous suburban landscape.
Then his phone buzzed. It was a message from Jessica – ‘Ur little girl, dad’ with a photo. There she stood, a beautiful young woman in a sexy evening dress, smiling seductively. The erotic kick was swept away in a wave of fierce protectiveness.
‘Wow,’ he texted.
‘ mum got it for me end of term ball. Xx luv u’
Copyright Chris Rose.
Chris Rose is a group psychotherapist, supervisor and author.
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© British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy 2011.