فصل 15

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فصل 15

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

An old photograph

Huw was right. Megan did need time alone. Here she was, a woman of sixty-six, and two men wanted to marry her! Of course she was not going to marry Huw. He didn’t really love her. He’d just flown half way around the world, and in two days had met his old love and a daughter he never knew he had. It was not surprising that he was saying things he didn’t really mean.

The next morning, Megan did some more packing. But it was difficult for her to escape from thoughts of Huw. Everything that she put into boxes or cases seemed to throw her back to some time in the past. And the past was Huw.

She rang Paul to check what time he was arriving the next day. He asked her how things had gone between Huw and Beth and she told him it had gone well. They talked for a while about other things and then Megan told him that Huw was joining them for dinner. Paul said that was fine. She didn’t know if that was how he really felt. But it was nice and easy talking with him, and she felt safe.

After she’d put the phone down, she remembered what Huw had asked her: Are you happy every time you hear his voice?’ What kind of question was that? It was the sort of thing you felt when you were in love for the first time, not when you were her age.

Then the phone rang again and this time it was Huw. He told her he’d been walking round the village and had met someone that they’d been at school with, and how they’d had a laugh about the old days. Then he said that he’d like to meet her for a drink and maybe dinner if she would like to.

‘Seven o’clock at your hotel?’ asked Megan. ‘It’ll be good to escape from the flat tonight.’

‘Wonderful. See you then,’ said Huw.

The conversation had been light, friendly and… and Megan had been very happy to hear his voice.

Just after seven that evening, Megan joined Huw in the dining room of his hotel. Huw could see that she was a little tired so he didn’t talk about the two of them. He told her about the wonderful wild areas in the north of the country, and funny stories about the art world in Canada and how much he loved living there. Two hours passed in easy happy conversation.

‘Now, you tell me something,’ said Huw, smiling at her.

‘Well, you know you said you saw Brian Perkins earlier today,’ said Megan. ‘I found this - look.’

And she passed Huw a black and white photograph. He looked closely at it and saw a group of about thirty children aged thirteen or fourteen, all standing very straight and smiling at the camera. It was an old school photograph.

‘And look, there’s you at the back with Brian Perkins,’ Megan laughed. ‘And there’s me, just below you. We all look so young and fresh, don’t we?’

‘And I’m the only one not looking at the camera. I’m looking at you! You see, even then I was only interested in you,’ said Huw.

Megan moved on. She didn’t want to give Huw the chance to talk about her. She had brought some other photos for him to look at - photos of friends and her family, and photos of Beth when she was a baby. She gave the ones of Beth to Huw, saying, ‘Would you like to keep these?’

Huw put them in his pocket.

‘Time for me to go, I think,’ said Megan.

‘I’ll walk home with you,’ said Huw. They walked to her home through the quiet streets of the village.

‘I’m happy I came back to see Tredonald,’ said Huw. ‘It’s not the terrible place I remember. I’m sure I can put the past behind me now.’

‘Good,’ said Megan - and then thought, ‘Does that mean me as well?’

But at her front door Huw said, ‘Megan, I can feel that all evening you’ve been hoping that I won’t say anything about us. And I won’t, except I meant what I said yesterday.’

‘Please Huw, let’s not talk about it,’ said Megan. ‘Tomorrow you’re going to meet Paul - the man I’m going to marry.’ Megan took hold of his hands. ‘Thank you for a lovely evening. I’ll see you here tomorrow.’

Megan went to bed that night knowing that tomorrow’s dinner was going to be difficult for all of them.

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