Continuation… (From Tell Eddie: Like aDeserted Road)
He gave the driver his address and settled into silence. He leaned back on his seat and digested the candy his mouth had been playing with earlier. The taxi coursed smoothly; the fresh pine scent of the ambience tickled his nose. The radio was not playing and the only noise was the crackle of raindrops on the windows. Yet, it was music for him, the rhythm like quick strums on a guitar, a song in guise of loneliness. He felt relief, and in his heart, he loved the peace.
“Will there be a storm?” he broke the spell himself.
“I think so,” the driver said and took off her cap. Her hair, wavy and dark, slid and rested upon her shoulders. She gave him a smile. “The rain’s threatening.”
Equivocally, and for quite a moment, he stared at her. Automatically, his mind registered her every features – the small round face, deep maudlin eyes, frail lips, high cheekbones, and all.
“A woman driving a taxi,” he finally said. “That’s something. You really got me. Very amusing.”
“Amusing?” she rode with his delight. “Am I the first and the only woman taxi driver in the world?”
“Maybe not, but you are the first I know. Like a rose among thorns,” he answered, restraining his smile from becoming wider. “By the way, I’m Amos. You’re?”
“You know what, taxi drivers are hotheads. They are the most cheerless, irritable and dull creatures I have ever known. Are you?”
“What do you think? Am I cheerless? Irritable? Or dull?”
“Well, let me discover.”
Amos let out a crispy laughter and she answered a hearty one, slightly arching her head back, exposing her long feminine neck. The vision of her angled neck and dark hair subdued Amos that he resolved into instant silence, staring at her again.
“Don’t gaze too long at me, boy. You might fall in love.”
He smiled again. The little teasing led to conversations about their job, the various places in the city, the country’s political and economic problems, and the unpredictable weather. When they ran out of talks, Amos got himself to thinking again. God, this woman is gorgeous and smart, he thought, I can really fall for her.
Consequently, his eyes scrutinized the inside of the cab. Only then he saw the box of expensive chocolates and the single stalk of red rose, its petal wet and fresh, atop the radio compartment.
“Beautiful,” he said, fighting the urge to touch the flower.
She nodded, knowing what he was referring to.
“From your man?” Amos dared ask. But it was none of his business, so he expected a reproof, or at least, silence from her.
No? his mind snapped. Then you are the one to give?
“I buy them,” Linda said, answering his unspoken question. “They’re for Eddie.”
So he’s Eddie, his mind retorted, But why do I care? Amos became ashamed of himself.
“Peace offerings,” she continued. “We had a terrible fight last night, the greatest as far as I can remember. We argued over something.”
“What – “ he did not finish. Truly, they were getting too personal. He felt he should not be mixing up with her business.
“I hit him,” she nonetheless confided. “I hurt him. I even told him harsh things. I didn’t mean to. It happened so fast. And I am sorry, very sorry for what I did.”
Outside, the world was in chaos. Nothing was defined for the downpour had raged. Raindrops pounded more explosively on the windows. Yet through it all, Linda’s words were perceptible, reverberating in his ears.
“Have you ever loved?” Linda directed him the question. Taken off guard, he could not answer. He could not think of the right things to say, for never had he been intimate with the subject. “If you had done something wrong to your beloved, you would truly find ways to mend the breaches. Then you would reassure that person of your love, and he or she in return would love you more than before.”
“How much do you love him?” Amos asked.
“With all my life. He completes me, for he is everything I have.”
Linda looked straight at him, and Amos returned that stare. He felt her sadness, and in a moment, he cursed himself. He thought, Who could give such love? Lucky guy…
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