It was the perfect way to end what had been a blistering hot day – having a nice pint with his female friend Rose. They had decided to go to their favorite pub, The Cavern after a trip down town. Well, by favorite, what they really meant was to the only easily wheelchair accessible one with no step to try and get up or one with impossibly tight angles to try and traverse through. No better way to saviour an incredible summer’s day. They decided it would be best to head out back to the smoking area where they could enjoy their beverages in the shade.
Andrew, better known as Andy by his friends was having his favourite tipple, a nice cold pint of Guinness. Rose, on the other hand was having the much more sophisticated glass of red wine.
“So, any luck on the jobs front?”
Andy had not worked in the over three years since his accident – A car crash. Not his fault. A car swerved onto the wrong side of the road. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel killing her, and her two daughters. There was nothing that he could have done, even the Gardai (Irish police) said so. No human could have reacted fast enough. Still, at times he could not help but feel guilty that he had survived and they were now buried in a remote graveyard outside of town. He was left though, paralyzed from the waist down and that was after many broken bones, including a pelvis had gradually healed.
But, he was trying not to think of all that today. It did him no good to the focus on such things.
“No, nothing yet. I’ve only just started sending out some CVs. I’m expecting it to take some time. After all, Mullingar is quite a small town. Not a huge amount of opportunities, but hopefully I’ll find something. Life can be very boring without a job. You know what I mean? I felt now is the right time to start looking.”
“Yeah, of course,” she replied rubbing his arm.
They had much to talk about as they hadn’t had a proper catch up in quite some time. Rose was a great chatterbox. They had been best of friends since long before his accident. Rose was petite, thin with brown curly hair. Today, she was wearing a blue tank top and trousers. Time passed and they decided they should order some food. Andy told her what he wanted and in she went in to order.
The minutes passed and Andy started to wonder where and what she was getting up to. The entry door was heavy and Andy really didn’t want the strain of opening it himself or the awkwardness of asking somebody at one of the other tables to do so.
Then the door opened and in she came with a wide smile.
“Eh, I was nearly going to send out a search party!” Andy said with a smile.
“Oh sorry! I just got chatting to a lovely lady out there. You know me when I get in a natter! Actually, she says that she knows ya.”
“What’s her name?”
“Oh, what was it now. Charlene, no Charlotte. That was it. An old flame or something?”
“No, she used to go out with a mate of mine back when we were all doing the Leaving Certificate. Wow, that must be like ten years ago, how the years fly. Then, they broke up and well with college and stuff, haven’t seen her. We always got on well.”
Ten minutes later someone put their hands over over his eyes.
The feminine voice and soft hands gave it away.
“Eh, I don’t know Charlotte maybe?”
With that, the hands were taken away and she went to sit on the other side of him from Rose.
There she was. The last person that he had expected to see that day. She looked just as pretty as he remembered, shoulder length blonde hair, eyes the colour of a clear blue sky. She was wearing a black jacket, which gave her looks a dangerous look vibe.
For the next ten minutes, the three of them talked; Charlotte talked about how she had studied physical education and was looking for work; he told her about his accident and painstaking recovery. Rose mostly just tried to take the piss out of Andy like blurting out that he could do with a good woman.
“Afraid I better get back to Leanne. She doesn’t like being left on her own,” Charlotte said somewhat contritely, “but we should keep in touch Andy.”
“Yeah that would be nice,” Andy replied.
With that, they exchanged mobile telephone numbers and then she was gone.
So happy I met that girl Rose. Without her, I would never have know Andy was outside in the beer garden. It was so good to catch up with him. He still looked as good as ever, with his brown eyes and jet black hair. I heard about his accident a few months after it happened. I wanted to reach out but didn’t have his contact details and presumed, probably correctly that he had more pressing concerns on his mind.
I dated Ed, Andy’s friend for four, maybe five months just before we all went to college and our lives led us down different paths. Ed was athletic, strong, brooding. A true alpha male. I loved his strong arms and rugged good looks. I knew it was never going to last, but wanted a boyfriend to make out with. He never struck me as the type that would resist temptation, but we were all young at the time.
Andy was there much of the time. Whether it was round at Ed’s house or out at a niteclub, they came as a duo back then. I always got well with Andy. He was the more thoughtful type. He even checked to see if I was okay when Ed gave me the heave ho and said that he hoped we would remain friends. It was probably said with the best of intentions but college life stopped that from happening. Perhaps, he would have made better long-term boyfriend material.
I wonder what it would be like to date somebody in a wheelchair? I guess it would depend on the person, but it would surely come with some difficulties. It was not something that I ever thought about before.
Buzz. A text message from Andy.
- Gr8 to c u the other day. Hope we can catch up again soon.
Charlotte felt an unexpected flutter of excitement.
- Yeah definitely. How did the rest of the drinks go down? Any plans for the day?
With that they texted back and forth for the rest of the day.
“So, tell me!” Rose implored.
She had called to Andy’s house to see how he was doing as she did most weeks.
She always knew when Andy was holding back something on her, and she knew he would spit it out eventually especially now that he had started turning red.
“Well, we’re texting each other regularly enough.”
“And nothing. I’m sure she has a boyfriend already. We’re just mates.”
Andy was trying to look everywhere, except at Rose.
“Yeah, yeah I believe you,” Rose teased deciding that she had put him under enough pressure for one day.
“She is quite a pretty girl though, if I was so inclined…”
This raised a laugh from Andy. Of course, she was pretty, Charlotte was one of the most beautiful women that he had ever met. He thought so from the first moment he had set eyes on her in that niteclub. He had actually seen her before Ed, but didn’t have the confidence to approach her. Ed had no such problems.
If he couldn’t win her heart then, what chance had he now with his paralyzed body?
No, better to just stay friends. At least then, he could have his dreams.
Late that night, Andy is once again texting Charlotte. Then he receives a text that suddenly brings him to a halt.
- So do you have a gf?
Charlotte woke up at her house feeling anxious. Andy had not responded to her last text. She couldn’t help but feel disappointed and had to admit that unknown to herself she had developed feelings for him. Perhaps, she should not have been surprised when she thought back to her first year in college and how she had missed the comradery of the summer months. She had such fond memories of that time. She wondered why he had not responded, she didn’t think she had been too forward.
As she looked in the mirror, disheveled and without any make-up, she pondered
Maybe he’s just not that attracted to me? I could definitely do with losing a few pounds.
Maybe it’s out of loyalty to his friend Ed? Nah, that was years ago.
Maybe he has a girlfriend? She wouldn’t be surprised.
With that she got ready for work as a fitness instructor. It was a job that she loved but it only just about paid the bills, especially in an expensive city like Dublin. Her first client was Jade. An obese forty year old, recently divorced woman looking to put her life back on track.
The session lasted just over an hour and Charlotte quickly went to check her mobile. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw that Andy had responded.
- Soz I fell asleep. No gf. U any bf?
Charlotte couldn’t help but feel elated. She texted back that no, she didn’t.
After work, they texted back and forth for hours. She told him stuff that she had discussed with anybody before. All about her difficult relationship with her mother and her hopes for the future. As she lay in bed, texting him she wished that he was in the bed beside her.
She was feeling sleepy now and found herself texting him goodnight, but this time she put an “x” at the end of it.
He quickly responded likewise.
“Ya dirty dog.”
That was Ed’s response when Andy told Ed about his growing closeness to Charlotte. They were out with their common friend Michael having a few pints in The Cavern of all places.
“Can ya not find your own womin?”
“Well done Andy,” Michael interjected with a wide smile.
Fortunately, Ed wasn’t too concerned either. He just liked winding up his friend.
“Well, I hope ya treat her right. I was always kinda fond of her. But since, there’s a baby on the way I’ll have to let it go.
That was Ed’s way of telling us that he was about to become a father, again.
Then it was back to the serious business of drinking. Andy was glad that he had managed to clear things up with Ed. He had been feeling a bit guilty about going after a mates ex, even if it was years ago.
He was quite intoxicated by the time he got back to his bed. Charlotte said that she could make it down to Mullingar the following Friday and that maybe they could go for dinner or something.
He now sent a text back that, that would be an excellent idea and that he would definitely be free.
Andy waited patiently at the bar drinking a glass of red wine and trying to get into the right frame of mind for the date. He was half an hour early just as he had planned. This was in case something unforeseen would happen causing him to be behind schedule. Fortunately, that had not happened. He was in the agreed waiting spot for her. Everything in his life now had to be planned that bit extra. It irked him immensely, but there was no way of getting round it. If he had his own car rather than relying on other people, that would be of help. He put it on his mental to do list, alas that list may yet become a bit foggy after a few drinks.
He was trying to drink slowly. The last thing that he wanted to do was ruin his date by being intoxicated. This was not something that used to bother him, but he was immensely fond of Charlotte.
Then, there she was, a fashionable fifteen minutes late. She looked gorgeous, in a black tank top and trousers. He hadn’t seen her so dolled up in many years. But, she looked more beautiful now than ever.
“Sorry for being late, traffic. Will we head in?”
Andy responded in the affirmative and they made their way to the table in the restaurant. Andy knew what he wanted to have the salmon dish, he had been looking forward to it all say and was now feeling the pang of hunger. Charlotte took a few minutes to decide, before settling on a dish of turkey and ham. The setting was quite romantic, with a candle in the middle of their round table in a darkened room. The tables around them were mostly empty. It was like they had the whole place to themselves.
Andy is looking so good tonight and he smells great. I don’t recognize the deodorant, but I’d love to snuggle up to him. He’s obviously put in a lot of effort. A good sign. The dinner is lovely. Just wish I could have a drink too, to settle the nerves but I have to drive.
We’ve been talking for the last while about our hopes for the future. Despite everything, he is still a man of great ambition. I do hope things work out for him as planned. It must be difficult for him at times.
The only problem now is that he can only stay for a limited time before he has to go. A modern day Cinderella. I won’t let this opportunity slip. Not after pining for him all last night.
Our eyes meet and I say –
“There’s no need for us to be so far apart.”
I move my chair right next to his wheelchair. There’s no point stopping now and I move my mouth towards his.
I love it when a woman takes control. She has the softest lips and our tongues swirl in unison. A dance of pure pleasure. I was told after the accident that although sensations in some areas had disappeared, in others it would be amplified. That is what is happening now or maybe it’s all Charlotte. The best kiss I ever had. The world now seems that bit more beautiful.