A painting of the Greek islands... and a new dream
|The picture on the postcard looked like an oil painting, all bright blobs and streaks, and as Bob looked at it, he had to admit that it had a certain charm. After a moment, he could see that it was of a Mediterranean scene, with white, white houses and hot pink geraniums in pots around the doors. The sea was bright blue and sparkling, and the sky was the bluest imaginable. Bob felt like squinting in the bright light as he looked at it, then he slowly turned it over to read the other side. The tidy writing was so familiar that it seemed to be saying "Susanna!" in every line. Bob swallowed hard and started reading.
Well, she was enjoying herself, getting tanned and fit while hiking up and down the hilly Greek islands. She didn't mention other people, was that good or bad? Was there someone she should have told him about but didn't? Or was there really no-one she cared about enough to mention?
Bob examined the stamp, which had a picture of Delos, an ancient sacred site. The postmark was dated ten days ago, and Bob longed to phone Susanna up and demand to know what she was doing, who she was seeing, and to just hear her voice.
Silly, wasn't it, to feel like that, when he had told himself firmly that he had too much to achieve before he could get involved with anyone. He had once said something like that to Susanna, and she had just nodded wisely and said that she too thought that was best. Soon after that she had decided that one of her own important aims was to travel, back-packer style.
So there she was, back-packing around the Greek islands. She would come home when she ran out of money, she'd said. She had lightly suggested to Bob that he might like to have a bit of a holiday too, perhaps just catch up with her for a week somewhere.
And Bob had explained in detail how his dream was to get this business underway before he went on to do a Master's degree, and all his money was either paying off his student loan or getting poured into his business. Sue had agreed, telling him that he must follow his heart and his dreams, and she would do the best she could with her own.
Bob slowly turned the postcard back over again, and the picture burned into his mind. He looked at the drizzling rain outside, and at the account books on the table, and the colours of the postcard danced across the greys and blacks and whites. Why hadn't he just taken a week off, like Susanna had suggested? He had no idea where she was right now, and she probably didn't know where she'd be tomorrow.
The Masters degree and his business didn't seem so important now. Bob sighed, sat down and shoved the account books out of the way. He could feel a new dream growing inside him, that conflicted with the others. He propped the card up on the pile of books, swiveled his chair around to the bench and poured himself another coffee.
Forget the Masters degree. He didn't really need it to run the business; it was just to put more letters after his name. Could he get the business to a stage where he could afford to take a week off and employ someone to keep it ticking over?
He leaned back in his chair, took a long slug of coffee, and shut his eyes. He could see himself and Susanna walking through the white archway into the bright sunshine. They were painted in bright, bold strokes and were laughing together, and as he smiled to himself at the scene, they grabbed each other's hand and swung their arms like carefree children. Bob's eyes opened and he stared at the card, with it blurring in front of him. Just not let her fall for some handsome fellow back-packer!
He stuck the postcard on the front of the computer, and worked for several hours at his paperwork. He would get this business thriving, so he could leave it if he wanted to. He longed to tell her of his new dream, tell her how her postcard had got at him, ask her to be part of his life, to be more than a friend. If only she would come back, soon, and alone...