Eduard had to remind himself he hadn’t engineered the situation. He’d known Sophie and Gordon when they first arrived. He’d put Sophie on at the hotel and then found work at a shopping centre for Gordon. Those first jobs put them on their feet.

The recession wasn’t his idea—heaven knows it nearly sent him broke. The factory job he found for Gordon after the store cut his contract was a favour Eduard could barely afford.

Sophie had come to him, worried that the long nightshift hours had changed Gordon. Eduard had been a refugee himself years before. He was as close to a friend as she had.

They started meeting to share coffee and the honey rich cakes of their homeland. There was comfort for them both in this. Sophie talked of her frustrations and her fears. On one meeting she’d put her hand in his as she recalled the war they’d fled to get here. Eduard had closed his other hand over hers, and they’d remembered in silence.

Eduard began thinking about how hard he’d worked. One of the things he’d forgone had been company.

Then, quite suddenly, Sophie’s spirits had lifted. It was Gordon, she said. He’d found his old spirit again. The exquisite possibility Eduard had only begun to realise faded.

 

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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