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Through the Belgian Glass

‘They’re wearing black.’

Barbara spoke, but was unaware she had spoken. Her thoughts often came out as words and surprised even her.

‘Who’s wearing black?’

Impatience in his voice, Grant shook his newspaper, folded it, and tried to assume an air of interest in whatever was gripping Barbara at the front window. She was a thin woman. Was it any wonder after all that worry? A fine pair of legs, no visible veins, and not a bad bum either. But her face wore traces of worry like the skin of a very nice pear left too long in the fruit bowl.

‘After all, it is a wedding and not a funeral.’

But she was talking to herself now. Now that Grant was showing an interest, Barbara didn’t need him. She had lost interest in Grant’s lack of interest. She was gazing with fond intensity at the wedding party, out through their new front window (a sheet of very expensive glass from Belgium). And then she rubbed with her forefinger in a circular motion at something on the window, as if the tiny spot she was rubbing was obscuring her view of the wedding. Grant was at her shoulder now, watching over it and out to the wedding.

‘Poor bastard – bet he doesn’t have a clue what he’s in for.’

But she ignored him and kept rubbing at the spot on the window. He’d only said it to get a reaction and the lack of reaction annoyed him almost as much as her reaction normally did.

‘I said, the poor bastard – I bet . . .’

‘Oh look, look.’

He was looking because now she was rubbing the spot on the window with the hem of her skirt. She’d leaned down and lifted the hem up to the window, revealing her white and dimpled thighs. He admired the skin leaking from her knickers – her bum, once tight and white, less firm, but still attractive. He touched her. Right there, where the line of her leg grew in a soft curve outward and upward, and only slightly droopy below her panty line.


She dropped her dress, forgot the spot she was polishing and carefully pulled the fabric over her backside, patting and stroking the material, the way Grant had intended to pat and stroke her bum.

‘Don’t be daft.’

Why did he always provoke her like this? This morning in bed she had tentatively fondled his foot with hers. But he’d been reading and had shifted his foot abruptly and sat up even further in bed, while she had curled foetus-like (knees almost up to her chin) and pulled the sheet over her head. And now, when she was here at her front window (who knows who could see her), he wanted to touch her. A young man on the beach had lifted the bride into his arms and she was gripping him around the neck and the wind had entangled their clothes, their hair and they were laughing – it must be the groom, she thought. The man had long hair and wasn’t wearing a tie – but look at the way he was holding her. Barbara’s favourite movie was An Officer and a Gentleman. The best moment was at the end of the movie when Richard Gere carried Debra Winger out through the factory. Every woman wanted that moment some time in her life.

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