When evening came he was undecided what to wear to the group meeting. He wanted to look sharp but not like he was on the prowl. He decided on a nice pair of slacks, a short sleeve shirt and a pullover sweater. He polished his shoes and his look was complete. He checked the address and headed out.
Parking was easy and he made his way up to the second floor of the community building and walked into the room. All eyes were on him at once. There were around twenty people there, most of them much older than him; something he hadn’t considered might be the case. It was about a sixty/forty mix of women and men and of the women only a few in his range. One in particular caught his eye.
A dark haired beauty with soulful eyes sitting away from the others, her hands folded in her lap. He took a seat not far from her and went back to surveying the room. Most of them seemed to know each other. The meeting soon came to order and he paid attention.
They started by going around the room and introducing themselves. Some of them identified the type of cancer they had. He skipped that part and simply stated his name and that he was ill and was interested in what they were doing. He was greeted by most, but not by the one he most wanted it from. She didn’t make eye contact with him.
Time crawled and he was soon bored with all the talk about feelings of helplessness and loss of control and all the other complaining about living with the disease. When it came around to him he declined to participate, saying he needed time to acclimate and perhaps he would contribute next time, not that he anticipated there being a next time but he left that part out. The woman who had his attention also declined, shaking her head when she was invited to speak.
They took a break for coffee and cookies and he decided to make his move. She was standing by herself sipping from her paper cup when he approached.
“Hi. I’m Colin. Are you new here too?”
She looked up and he had the strangest sensation that she was looking right through him. It gave him the creeps.
“You’re going to die” she said and took a sip of her coffee.
“Whoa. That’s…well…aren’t we all?”
She shrugged her shoulders and stared at him. He was nonplussed but decided to press on.
“Why would you say that?”
“Well…you didn’t answer my question.”
“Some sooner than others,” she said and walked away.
He stood rooted to the spot holding his coffee cup out in front of himself watching it go cold. He had never encountered anyone like her before and he was frightened and excited all at once. There, walking away from him was a challenge. He could not let it pass. He waited until the end of the meeting and approached her once more as they left the room.
“I’m sorry, perhaps I got it wrong. Could I at least know your name?”
She looked him up and down and kept a noncommittal look on her face.
“My name is Amelia. Are you in the habit of chatting up women at cancer support groups?”
This was better. He felt more in control. “This is the first one I’ve been to, so no. Look, I just, well, you seem interesting, and I meant no offence.”
“None taken. Perhaps we’ll see each other again.”
With that she walked away and he knew it was pointless to try to get any more out of her. He hadn’t planned on returning the following week but his plans had just changed.
Part 5 Tomorrow