The first time she saw Andy, she was taken aback


She was filled with joy and happiness at the sight of him. How could he
be so dry and look so happy, his eyes shining with love which she felt she
could see in his gaze? She stood there, her hands resting on her hips. She
waved a slow hand in front of her and it seemed to calm her racing heart.

Andy walked into his house, pulling off his wet jacket and hanging it up. He
stepped towards her and she felt a warm sensation wash over her.

‘You look like a drowned cat. Come in.’ He said, as he began to dry
her hands.

‘If you’re going to sit down, I am; get on with it,’ she complained,
but she made no attempt to resist and went with him. Afterward she stood
still at the doorway, listening to him. He sat down on a chair which she
picked up and pushed him into. He sat with his head bowed, looking at her.
He looked very serious when she stood by him; he suddenly seemed to have
changed. What was the matter? she asked herself, but the moment passed and
she remembered her task. She found the kitchen knife and cut the string at
the bottom of her handbag. She felt a strange thrill run through her at the
thought of the mysterious contents. She did not know why, but it suddenly
seemed wrong that she had not opened the bag. She found the key to the
basement and opened the cupboard, but the bag remained untouched. She made
a mental note to herself not to do so again.

Later that day Andy finished his work in his shop and went home, telling
his mother that he was going out for the evening. ‘Well, if you’re going to
spend too much time about it, we can have a day in bed then,’ she said, but
he begged to stay with her for the evening.

She wanted to go to bed too; she had heard many a story in her life of ‘good
mothers who never went to bed at the right time,’ and it always ended in
disaster. So she said, ‘Well, if that’s how you feel, you can stay up
with me.’

After they had bathed and eaten a hurried breakfast, they sat in the living
room and watched the television. It was a Saturday and his mother was
unable to take part in the programme; it would have been awkward watching
two old people watching television in a room full of kids. But Andy was
excited about the programme and kept watching eagerly till the end when he
cried as if he was happy.

‘It’s a television programme, isn’t it?” he said. ‘No, no,’ said his
mother, ‘it isn’t.’

He looked at her, looking for an explanation.

‘It’s a television programme with a picture on and a voice like the voice
of a recording,’ she replied. ‘I can’t understand it; it’s like something
from a dream.’

‘It’s something from a dream,’ he said, but when she tried to explain him,
he remained silent. At this point his mother felt weary and was about to
leave the room, when he put his hand on her shoulder.

‘Come with me,’ he said. ‘Come and have a drink.’

He walked through the kitchen and into the living room. She followed him
there and put the drink in a glass. ‘Here, you sit down and have a drink,’
he said.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked. ‘Why are you so solemn?’

‘Have you ever watched a television programme before?’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but I didn’t understand.’

‘Well, I understand it now.’

‘But why?’

‘Because it’s from a dream and I dreamed it myself. Go and bring me another
glass of sherry.’

She finished her sherry, the glass was almost empty and she sat in the
easy chair. Andy sat in the armchair opposite her. She tried to get up but
he held her down. He had been sitting very close to her and she had
noticed his cold hands. He was very close to her and she felt embarrassed
because his body was so close to hers, but she was so surprised to find him
sitting close to her that she did not dare move.

‘Is there something the matter?’ she asked.

‘No. Let’s forget about it.’

‘I don’t understand it either,’ she said, ‘but I don’t think it’s the
right time to say anything.’

‘Are you going to give up your job?’

He had asked this question so casually that she was surprised. She had
thought it would be something else.

‘I suppose I shall take that up at the end of the week, I mean if I think I
can hold on through the end of the week.’ She added that when she gave the
man who had been hired for the post-box in the shop he had asked her why
she did not go out at weekends.

‘I don’t know why I didn’t,’ she said.

‘You just don’t like to go out,’ he replied.

But she looked at him, and he seemed so serious, so sad that she thought
that he was going to say something important.

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