Ingrid left Emma as she feinted to head home. Theo had left them to meet Talitha and with that on Emma’s mind the company she was keeping was sadly deficient. Ingrid had peppered her with questions, first about Theo and her, then about his new girlfriend which was what Emma supposed she now was, and then Ingrid seemed intent on grinding her down by relentless questions on who she was interested in.
Emma thought back over her final answer, that there was no one she was interested in at the moment, that no one since she’d moved to London a few months ago had taken her fancy. And she thought that that was true. It was only Ingrid’s persistent questioning that caused her to flash back to think if she was interested in Theo on any level at all. With something of a surprise Emma realised that her emotions were something akin to jealousy as she drew out of the recess of her mind and soul the fact that Theo was even now plotting his future relationship with someone other than her.
What made it worse for Emma was that she had been the confident that had aided him on her way. She had been reluctant and her natural conservatism came to the fore as she counselled him against asking her out quite yet. But when she had seized the initiative she pushed him to respond in kind, this was the not the sort of opportunity to let slip by. How often thought Emma do we have the one who we have been pining over for months turn around and declare their love for you? She did not blame Theo for seizing the chance, Emma blamed herself for letting her get so wrapped up without even realising it.
As she made for home she remembered it would be a lonely place, with Kathy away for the next few days, she thought of heading to see Sam, but he too was away. That they both were heading to Liverpool had not occurred to her until that moment, as she wryly wondered if they would have a chance to try again at their failed date.
Emma couldn’t ever quite get out of Kathy why she had waited for so long before turning up. She thought she knew her, Kathy could be difficult and stubborn and passionately independent but Emma hadn’t thought it would be worked out in such a extreme and hurtful manner. Kathy was sometimes the person that Emma wished she was, but more often a thorn that frustrated her and allowed her to silently and subconsciously feel just so very slightly superior.
When Kathy was the person that Emma envied she was at ease in a crowd, she was popular and she drifted from one situation to the next with winsome charm and effortless grace. But the more Emma had dug into Kathy the more she had realised that it was mostly a charade. Kathy was vulnerable and insecure, she had not got a clue what she wanted to do and instead floated around managing to get by in each successive situation for long enough without the trauma that might force the situation to a resolution.
Emma picked at the hardened gum on the seat before her, barely aware of her actions, they whistled over the bridge, as the the rain lashed across the windows and the wind buffeted against the high sides of the vehicle. She doubted that Kathy’s latest idea would come to much. She had declared one morning that she was going to be a missionary to Benin. There was no pre warning, no planning, not a scintilla of indication that this was a potential avenue of exploration. Just a fait a complis announcement with pre departure training, short term trip, and then long term placement if all went smoothly. Next September she would be setting up a life in a country far from home which Emma confessed not to know existed until Kathy read from the guidebook she had studied furiously in the twenty four hours prior to her training which appeared to also double as an interview.
Despite the current intensity and the declarative intent to commit to this course of action Emma expected her to return either carrying the wounds of rejection or frightened off by the realities of life in the mission field. It also seemed a slight over reaction to standing one guy up on a date, because as far as Emma could tell, that was the genesis of all this.
Sam was an idiot she decided, he’s due for a date with a beautiful girl and he naively starts causally chatting to the hot girl next to him at the bar. It caused Emma to laugh because if he had been trying to chat her up it would have gone hopelessly wrong, but in his innocence he probably made fairly comprehensible conversation. It had started as a bit of fun, she never expected anything to come of it and was a bit taken back when both Sam and Kathy had agreed to her proposition. Now that it had so spectacularly failed she had a desired to redeem it and make it work.
Kathy would walk all over Sam, Emma decided, it wouldn’t work, her brother was not sufficiently forthright, or at least he wasn’t unless he was debating theology. Emma wondered how he would deal with the next couple of days, he loved theology but she couldn’t understand why he would put himself in a place where he had to lie about his views, and pretend he was arguing a counterpoint instead of articulating his deeply held beliefs. And still he went to that church, Emma resolved not to try and understand and instead thought she’d see how Theo’s date had gone. But Emma stopped herself before hitting send on the text, it was possible, she thought, that if I texted now, asking about how his evening went it might show that I’m sort of interested. The reasoning she relied on to not send the message was that because she couldn’t decide whether she did feel anything towards Theo it was better not to raise the possibility in his head that she might be. Not least at the very moment when he was beginning a relationship with another girl. Relationships she decided as she turned into her street were not really worth the effort. If only she could also do away with attraction and infatuation, Emma gasped.