Swim Where 16
Swim Where – Part 16
“I’m ready now to both ask the question and to hear the answer.” Back at his place, Belinda announced. Unlike his, her personal demons were of the sort that could be confronted.
“When you first asked me that question,” Scott grinned expansively, “I had no idea whatsoever of how I could answer it. So I dodged the issue and seemingly managed to put enough mystery into my evasion that you didn’t press me on it—whew!”
“That ploy won’t work twice.”
“If someone in the change room on that first day had asked me what you looked like, I wouldn’t have known because I completely ignored reporters—even female ones.” Scott answered. “Then I overheard your muttered observation. It was a truth that none of the others had ever surmised.”
“I didn’t actually believe it when I said it.”
“As I found out in the taxi.” He noted with a smile. “But that had already elevated your status from ‘non-entity media hack’ to ‘person potentially worthy of noting’.”
“Then I emerged and found you still there—in your schoolgirl costume that I was actually seeing for the first time. The first impressions you gave me were that you were attired to accept new knowledge and interested enough to be patient. Most reporters have approached me seeking confirmation of what they already think they know. Many athletes and public figures like being interviewed and that tends to make reporters act like they’re doing me a favor by shoving a microphone at me.”
“It was just my determination made me different: I would’ve slept on that horribly uncomfortable bench if necessary.” She giggled. “Had I experienced any previous successes, I might’ve been the same as them.”
“Again, I found that out afterwards: when I came to know you better. In retrospect, learning to accept you as a reporter gave me the ability to treat others of the same profession with the respect they merit as non-stereotyped people. But those were the favorable first impressions I had about Belinda Lyle.”
“You’ve actually taught me a lot about myself as well.”
“But seemingly nothing about keeping a discussion on topic.” He teased and saw her blush a bit. “Then we were in the restaurant watching the sun set into the sea and I experienced the oddest sensation. I wasn’t the focal point of my own universe: the ray of sunlight was aimed at you and it was illuminating you.”
“I felt that visual phenomena too.” She recalled. Then she remembered her wanting to slap him. “You intentionally frustrated me after that.”
“Hah! I recall it as the other way around. You had said we could have a nice chat but even without your notebook, you persisted on grilling me. I would try to think of an answer to spark a conversation but then I’d imagine you were wired up for sound.”
“Actually,” she pictured the restaurant debacle from his perspective and realized how it differed from her own, “I did have a recorder running in my purse.”
“Finally, you went to the washroom and when you returned, you were looking really hot! That’s when my notion of sex for an interview spontaneously presented itself. From there on my mind quested for clever ways to slip my idea into an engrossing conversation. But since we weren’t actually having one, I resorted to bluntly saying it. And so here we are today with the serpentine trail of our shared history winding back on the track to our initial meeting.”
“Where do you suppose our path will go to now?”
“I suspect that in the far reaches of our minds, we both already know the answer. So it may be better left unsaid. We’ll arrive at that final destination when we do.”
“Thank you.” Belinda breathed the words. Somehow it felt that he had lifted away the mantle of ‘tramp’ that she had wrapped about her own shoulders.
Belinda Lyle slowly usurped his apartment as her things gradually migrated from the small flat where she had lived. She set up an office in his guest bedroom, so she could do her work and keep Scott handy for occasional clarifications. She completed a few articles on various portions of his life and his assorted philosophies: these sold like fresh loaves of bread for the media’s ravenous appetites.
On her one trip back to her old residence, she remembered to collect the charger for her digital recorder’s battery. The device hadn’t been used since it ran out of power in her purse. That trip to here previous residence coincided with the appointment for her first ultrasound—where Belinda found out she was carrying twins.
The reporter’s brain quailed at the prospect of her keeping twins and a vision of an abortion swirled in front of her mind’s eye. As nothing more than a needed mental diversion, she replayed the recorder’s stored contents.
‘I’ll use the washroom while you’re busy.’ Belinda heard her voice saying.
‘Please comb out your pigtails so it looks like I’m dining with an adult.’ Scott’s voice replied. ‘I don’t want the scandal rags saying that I’m going out with underage girls.’
There followed a gaggle of voices, excited introductions and small talk with fans. She was hearing this for the first time, because when it was happening, she had been in the washroom crying. The recorder emitted the sound of Scott’s pen scratching out signatures and his spontaneous interactions with the restaurant staff.
‘If you don’t mind my saying,’ someone there remarked inappropriately, ‘your date for tonight is not quite the female that one would expect to see you with.’
‘Why is that?’ The swimming sensation asked. His tone sounded slightly defensive.
‘Well,’ the first voice backed down, ‘I don’t really know.’
‘One can’t surmise the contents of a gift from its wrapping.’ Scott defused residual tenseness from the encounter with a calm voice. ‘A worthless rock may be housed in a gold inlaid box and a priceless gem might be hiding in a paper bag.’
‘I’m sorry for sounding judgmental.’ The chef said.
‘I think if I could ask God for one boon,’ Scott’s words filled the recorder’s speaker again, “it would be for that woman to become the mother of my children’.
‘Can we quote that?’ Someone else inquired lightheartedly.
‘I’ll deny everything and demand to see proof.’ Scott was heard laughing and the fan banter resumed.
‘I’m not sure if that’s better,’ the tattle-tale recorder played back his words from the moment of her return, ‘or worse for my reputation.’ Belinda switched it off.
“Snugness wasn’t on his face.” The reporter remembered her mistaken impression. “He was displaying admiration and I completely missed it.” She then thought of the current issue. “If I were pumped full of septuplets, I’d carry all seven to full term.”
Swim Where will continue….