The Meal - Original Writing The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps
alight-hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the sideboard
behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whiskey. Fresh ice cubes in
the Thermos bucket.
Mary Maloney was ...view middle of the document...
For her, this “Tired darling?” was always a blissful time of day. She
knew he didn’t want to speak much until the first drink was finished,
and she, on her side, was content to sit quietly, enjoying his company
after the long hours alone in the house. She loved to luxuriate in
the presence of this man, and to feel-almost as a sunbather feels the
sun-that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were
alone together. She loved him for the way he sat loosely in a chair,
for the way he came in a door, or moved slowly across the room with
long strides. She loved intent, far look in his eyes when they rested
in her, the funny shape of the mouth, and especially the way he
remained silent about his tiredness, sitting still with himself until
the whiskey had taken some of it away.
“Yes,” he said. “I’m tired,” And as he spoke, he did an unusual
thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow although
there was still half of it, at least half of it left.. She wasn’t
really watching him, but she knew what he had done because she heard
the ice cubes falling back against the bottom of the empty glass when
he lowered his arm. He paused a moment, leaning forward in the chair,
then he got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another.
“I’ll get it!” she cried, jumping up.
“Sit down,” he said.
When he came back, she noticed that the new drink was dark amber with
the quantity of whiskey in it.
“Darling, shall I get your slippers?”
She watched him as he began to sip the dark yellow drink, and she
could see little oily swirls in the liquid because it was so strong.
“I think it’s a shame,” she said, “that when a policeman gets to be as
senior as you, they keep him walking about on his feet all day long.”
He didn’t answer, so she bent her head again and went on with her
sewing; bet each time he lifted the drink to his lips, she heard the
ice cubes clinking against the side of the glass.
“Darling,” she said. “Would you like me to get you some cheese? I
haven’t made any supper because it’s Thursday.”
“No,” he said.
“If you’re too tired to eat out,” she went on, “it’s still not too
late. There’s plenty of meat and stuff in the freezer, and you can
have it right here and not even move out of the chair.”
Her eyes waited on him for an answer, a smile, a little nod, but he
made no sign.
“Anyway,” she went on, “I’ll get you some cheese and crackers first.”
“I don’t want it,” he said.
She moved uneasily in her chair, the large eyes still watching his
face. “But you must eat! I’ll fix it anyway, and then you can have
it or not, as you like.”
She stood up and placed her sewing on the table by the lamp.
“Sit down,” he said. “Just for a minute, sit down.”
It wasn’t till then that she began to get...