When she first walked in and introduced herself, I was busy typing away. Marilyn requested the report be on her desk by 3pm and not a second later. It was 2.45pm and I had only begun to work the conclusion. We were halfway through a new pilot scheme for our summer school designed for failing Year 10s, and already I knew we were not going to meet our objectives.
“Not now Beatrice, I need to get this report to Marilyn in exactly,” I quickly glanced at my watch, “twelve minutes.”
I continued to type, my fingers furiously dancing across the keyboard.
“Right…okay Afia…it was just…”
I swung my head round. “What is it?”
I hadn’t noticed her next to Beatrice, unfinished sentences for the report’s conclusion hung above my head like a smog.
“Well?” I asked, the tips of my fingers rapping the wooden desk.
Beatrice stood watching me with pressed lips, there was something coy in her demeanour today. She gently pushed back her eyeglasses, stopping it from sliding down her round nose. She cleared her throat. I eyed the tiny coils poking out the thick box braids she’d had in for the last month while she spoke.
“Afia, I wanted to introduce the newest member of our team.” She tapped the shoulder to her right. I pried my eyes away from her braids and followed where her hand landed. “This is Anna. She will be covering Jennie’s maternity leave in finance.”
Anna stretched out her long arm to meet mine.
“Nice to meet you Afia.” She chimed.
Stunned, I shook her hand and focused on her full lips.
“Okay,” I cleared my throat, unnecessarily. “I must really get on with this report.” I said still holding onto her hand.
When they left to continue their rounds in the office, the smog of unfinished sentences lifted and I felt light. I stared blankly at my screen, I could only think of how moist her full lips were. Marilyn poked her head round her office door, conveniently adjacent to my desk, and pointed at the wall clock. Nine minutes, great.
I arrived home to the aroma of bolognese and pasta.
“Smells lovely!” I yelled down the hallway as I hung up my denim jacket and kicked off my tired adidas. Tucking my feet into my slippers, I headed towards the kitchen and found Peter uncorking a bottle of Merlot. He was so engrossed in the task at hand he didn’t notice my presence until I ran my fingers across his back, up his neck and planted a soft kiss on his nape. He turned slightly and smiled, returning my kiss with a peck on my forehead.
I wanted to lean against the marble counter-top like I usually would, but I couldn’t get her moist lips out of my mind. I wanted to smile an aloof smile, ask perfunctory questions, grab my plate and head to the dining room like I was in the habit of doing but I couldn’t. Her soft cinnamon lips teased me, its fullness erupted something inside of me, something I thought had died long ago. I looked at Peter, watched as he bit his thin bottom lip, as he successfully removed the cork. I ran my right hand against my wedding band and felt a bubbling below my navel. I scrutinised his limp mousy hair tied into a pony tail and thought of her full earthy afro, her tight curls.
I watched as Peter poured the wine into two crystal glasses he had laid out, its rich fragrance wafted and I took a long and thirsty sip.
“Long day?” He laughed.
Our eyes met. I pulled his face into mine, kissed his lips hungrily, drinking every last drop of wine in his lips, his gums, from his tongue. His eyes widened, I could see the calculations going on in his head. It had been six months since I’d been on the pill, six months of me not wanting to be touched, six months of undesired celibacy. I watched his confusion steadily melt into surrender. He shut his eyes, I kept mine open. I pulled his band, let his limp hair fall loose. He grabbed me by the hips, throwing me on the marble counter-top. Our crystal glasses slid and shattered, wine dripped against my thigh, drenched the hem of my dress. I pulled on his hair, imagining what her earthy curls would feel like between my fingers, underneath my nails. I sucked on his lips harder, wondering whether I would really taste cinnamon in hers. Six long months and she saved me. It was there, on the marble counter-top, that I thought I should really take her out for lunch.