Molly reached towards the beer she’d set down on the table, and picked the cup up, taking a long swallow before setting it back down. “Penny for your thoughts?” she asked sweetly.
“You were staring. I like to know what you think of me, but…”
“Oh God. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,”
I quickly said apologetically, blushing slightly at the realization that I’d been caught looking where I probably shouldn’t.
“Don’t be sorry. Like I said, a woman my age… It’s nice to be stared at.”
“I didn’t mean to. I mean.”
She leaned towards me and rested her hand on my bare forearm. “It’s okay,” she said softly, almost soothingly. “I understand. I’ve seen it so many times. It’s been what, almost a year I think I heard? Yet it seems like yesterday?”
“Yeah,” I agreed with a nod.
“I understand,” she said softly, letting her fingers stroke the hairs on my arm. “I could leave if you prefer. But I hope this doesn’t sound too forward. But I will like to stay, if you don’t mind.”
“I. Um. Sure. I don’t mind,” I finally managed to answer.
Molly smiled in response, her fingers starting to slowly and gently stroke my forearm.
“You said you’ve seen it so many times?” I asked curiously after a couple minutes of silence.
“I’ve had to counsel many over the years that are going through what you are. The loss of a partner after so many years can be devastating. Some sink into a sense of loss that they just can’t break out of, others, well, with help, they manage to climb back into life again.”
“So you’re a counselor of some kind?”
“I’m actually a clinical psychologist. I’ve helped my share of both men and women who have lost partners. Many, sadly, don’t seek help until it’s too late.”
It didn’t take me long to put two and two together. “Well. Thank you. But you can tell my sister that I don’t need a psychiatrist . I just need to be left alone,” I said with a scowl, leaning back in my chair so that my arm pulled from her reach.
“I’m sorry!” she said quickly, seeming to be shocked at my statement.
“My sister. She put you up to this? Right? Her brother wouldn’t go get help so they brought you help to him?” I asked, not trying at all to hide my irritation. “I thought you were too good to be true.”
She opened and closed her mouth several times, almost as if she wanted to say something but changed her mind.
Finally, she stood up, reaching for her handbag, that was still in front of me.
“I’m sorry. I came and sat by you because you looked lonely, and I know that I’m feeling a bit lonely at the moment, and you’re an attractive man. I wasn’t hired or coerced or even suggested to come and treat you. I came because I was attracted to you. I’m truly sorry you feel the need to be alone, but I will respect your wishes,” she said, before turning and starting to walk away.
I could hear the anger in her tone even though her face remained completely neutral. Maybe it was that anger that allowed her mind to not be on her actions as she walked, almost stomped, away from me, her body sending the anger message even more effectively than her tone had.
I was just starting to regret my outburst towards her when I saw her go down.