Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Random Acts Of Kindness



Kathy watched Ron – an accounts clerk in his late twenties - come into the West End bar, riffle through his change for the price of a pint and sit in the corner. He stared at his glass, throwing occasional burning glances at girls at the surrounding tables.

She looked at Ron’s cheap suit and the anguished hunger in his eyes. Pasty and knobbly, he looked like a throwback from black and white movies. The girls around him, media secretaries and the rest, ignored him. Kathy, returning to the States the following day, had a spare evening on her hands and something stirred deep within her as she watched him trying to ignore his loneliness.

Although Kathy was very attractive, it took almost two hours to get Ron to pick her up. He seemed to think that a girl like her showing an interest in him was against natural law.

She inveigled him for a Chinese meal, where he pushed noodles about and back to his room where, with an apologetic smile, he pushed his noodle into her. She spent the night, giving him every attention, unconditionally. Then at around seven in the morning, she took a cab back to back to her hotel, picked up her luggage and flew home to the West Coast.

Ron held onto that night as an unmerited and uninflected glimpse of paradise. He married a girl from Despatch called Tricia, large and prone to blushing. They made diffident love and three babies, one of which suffered from sensitive skin.

As he trudged his way up through the generations, Ron would sometimes stop and wonder why Kathy had singled him out. He developed a warm appreciation for her generosity. But sometimes the anomaly made him shake the tears away.

3 comments:

No One In Particular said...

This is the thing you've written that has moved me most, Chips. Obviously I'm a sentimental fool with a barely honed appreciation of the bleaker aspects of life your work often touches on. And I've had those tears. People are just as nice as they are cruel. It's lovely to hear the niceness reported once in awhile.

Chips said...

Nice of you to say so, too.

Anonymous said...

yikes! it makes me sad that there really are people who think like this. how terribly sad, and unfair to their partner.

ultimately, love is about being comfortable and feeling good with whoever you're with, more than how much of a trophy you can display.