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Tasha Is Tonights Girlfriend

Tasha Is Tonights Girlfriend

Brian Warbrick gloomily gazed through the train window at the passing countryside. There was nothing new to see; everything was all too familiar as he made this monthly journey. He was a Yorkshireman with all the characteristics associated with the people of that county. His voice was redolent of the north, flat-toned with short vowels, though only slightly accented. He was taciturn and appeared to be dour.

As a department manager in a large American owned manufacturer of bathroom equipment he was in a position of some responsibility. In earlier days, years before he had started work there, the locally owned firm had made boilers, but an American take-over had led to a change of policy. Boilers were out; fancy bathrooms were in.

Once a month there was a departmental meeting held in the London headquarters of the company. There were two more factories in the UK as well as several others in various parts of the world. The American bosses liked to keep an eye on their world-wide organisation and that meant key people gathering to make their reports. Brian couldn't help thinking that computers could do just as good a job without the necessity of meeting face to face.

Nevertheless, until two years earlier the trip had always been welcome as his wife, Marie, accompanied him She spent the day looking around Oxford Street shops, whilst he was in the meeting. In the evening they went to the theatre or a concert. It was a regular interval in the daily routine and both of them looked forward to it.

Brian was twenty when they married, Marie being a year younger, and were close to their twelfth anniversary when tragedy struck. The street was bereft of traffic as Marie began to cross it. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a car screeched towards her at high speed. It was driven by a fourteen year old boy who had 'borrowed' it from his father. Marie didn't stand a chance. She was dead upon arrival at the hospital; so was the baby she was carrying.


Tasha Is Tonights Girlfriend
The couple had loved each other deeply since their teen years and were inseparable. Losing his wife reduced Brian to a pale, silent shadow who had no interest in work or pleasure, in life itself. If he had contemplated suicide he kept quiet about it, but his friends and relatives believed he was often close to it.

Aged only thirty-four, Brian's hair was greying, there were dark shadows under his eyes, his face was permanently veiled in a sad mask and he walked with hunched shoulders. Although not previously renowned for his gaiety, now he was positively melancholy, refusing all attempts to lighten his load.

"You can't go on like this, Brian." His sister, Andrea, had invited herself to his house.

"Like what?"

"Sitting cooped up in here brooding about what might have been, but will most certainly not be. Not with Marie, anyway."

"You don't have to remind me. I have nightmares about that car and the fourteen year old maniac behind the wheel. Night after night I see Marie being hit and rolling over and over as the wheels go over her - all four of them!" He put his head in his hands.

Andrea gently put her arm round her brother's shoulder. "I'm not saying it's easy to forget, love. I don't suppose you ever will. Something like that's awful; and with the baby, as well. Two lives, just like that. And the boy didn't get more than a wagging finger and a bit of community service. But, let's face it, there's no real way to pay for what he did and nothing's going to change things. What's done is done. You're still here and you've got to get on with your life."

"I am. Best I can."

"No, love." Andrea shook her head. "No. That's just what you're not doing. You're stagnating, not going anywhere and seeing no-one."

"I go to work every day."

"Bet you wouldn't even do that if you didn't need to earn money. If you were a millionaire you'd wrap yourself up in a cocoon and shut out the rest of the world entirely."

"Maybe."

"When you go to London nowadays, what do you do?"

"Attend meetings. Endless meetings."

"But after. You and Marie used to have a night out."

"That was the two of us together. Now I stay in the hotel and go to bed early."

Andrea clucked in disapproval. "It's time you went out again."

"It's only been two years."

"It's time, love." She squeezed his shoulder.

"I don't like going to the theatre by myself."

"Then find someone to go with you."

Brian pulled away from her, walked across the room and looked out of the window. "It's not as easy as that. I don't know how. It was all so natural with Marie. I didn't have to think about it. We met, we fell in love, we decided to get married. I've no idea how it happened; it just did. I....I can't think about trying to make it happen again. Besides, it's too soon. I don't want to forget Marie."

"You don't have to - and you won't. But, she's the past, love, no matter how loud you shout and kick. She's gone; faded into a memory. But she'll always be there as a memory. No matter who you might meet now - even if you love her as much as you loved Marie....."

"Impossible!" Brian retorted.

"No, love," said Andrea, softly. "There's more than one right person for all of us; the snag is finding them. Once, you're lucky; twice is a miracle, but it does happen."

"What the hell do you know about it? You're divorced."

Andrea shrugged. "Nigel wasn't the right one. I've still to find him, but I'll keep on looking until I do, or until I'm too old to try any more." She crossed to him and laid her hand on his. "You keep looking, too."

Disembarking from the train at King's Cross, Brian swiftly made his way to the cab rank and climbed into a waiting taxi ahead of the queue that would inevitably form with the new arrivals. The pavements were crowded with hurrying people of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities. Stopped at traffic lights, he studied the young women passing-by; how was he supposed to get to know any of them? After the meeting he could go to a bar, he supposed. But he drank very little and was completely incapable of chatting to a stranger, male or female. He needed time; and time was something he lacked.

He thought about the women he knew, nearly all of them associated with work in one capacity or another. Many of them were around his age and attractive enough, but he never thought of them as anything but colleagues and knew little about them personally. Anyway, he disliked relationships in the work-place; too distracting. No, it was impossible; he could never find someone to take out.

The answer came quite by chance. He suddenly became aware of some litter on the floor of the cab. He bent down and picked it up. It was a business card. A casual glance told him that the business was an escort agency.

Escort.

That could be the solution to his problem. There was a play in town he fancied seeing; it had a good cast and the reviews were excellent. Reading about it in his Sunday paper had whetted his appetite. He could go by himself; many people did. After all, you sit in the theatre and get taken into a different world. You can't talk; it's an anti-social event. On the other hand, it's nice to be with someone; to be able to discuss the play with them; to have a meal; to have.....

"Ridiculous," he said out loud. The taxi driver on the other side of the glass partition didn't hear him.

Ridiculous; but on the other hand he hated the thought of going alone. Paying someone to keep him company seemed a pretty desperate measure and he had a slight feeling of self-loathing, but it was that or nothing.

During the lunch break Brian used his mobile to phone the agency and then to book tickets for the play. He was all set.

*****

"Is Toby all right?" Christine anxiously asked.

"In a bad way," replied her sister, Margie, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief.

"Oh, no!"

"But the doctors think he'll pull through all right. Some broken bones and squashed bits."

"That doesn't sound very medical."

"You know me. I run a mile from anything to do with illness and injuries. I couldn't take in everything they were saying."

"Burying your head in the sand," Christine grimly said.

"I suppose so." Margie sniffed. "You were always much better than I was at dealing with unpleasant things."

Christine took her sister's hand. "You've had more to deal with than I have, I must admit. A difficult birth, a rocky marriage, financial trouble..."

"The list is endless." Margie sniffed again, feeling truly sorry for herself.


"What happened to Toby?"

 

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