John and Marta barely shared a glance as they passed the evening with the Millicans. It seemed like their time with the Millicans did more harm than good.
They interacted fine within their group, but pressure was great between them.
John kicked himself for acting so strangely. He had no idea why it was so hard to look at Marta. John wanted to say something to her, but had no idea what. The more he didn’t say, the greater the chasm became. John pleaded silently for Marta to look at him as she had earlier, and speak solely to him as they were speaking before. He felt close to her then, and he wanted it back. Now it was too late. If only they could be alone for a few minutes, and he could assure her of how he felt.
Marta suffered likewise. Her head spun as thoughts and questions invaded her mind. She was with her thoughts, sharing time with the Millicans, but definitely not including John in conversation. Marta imagined how upset he must be with the way she treated him.
“You know what we forgot to do?” Steve’s words suddenly interrupted their torment. “We forgot to sign Digul’s cast.”
“You know, in all the excitement and arrangements being made, I completely forgot,” Rachel added.
“Maybe tomorrow we can introduce him to our little custom, and have Marta translate.” It was John’s opportunity to finally acknowledge Marta.
“Great idea. I will bring it up in the morning,” said Marta.
The conversation continued until John and Marta were finally speaking to one another more easily. Each was now certain the Millicans would not see through them and find their secret.
Not able to stand it much longer, John got up to leave. He hoped Marta would escort him outside so they could talk. As he said his good-byes, he prayed the enthralling woman would glance his way. She just had to and understand the sign he would give her. He felt like a teenager in front of a date’s parents, but it was what had to be done at the time. He couldn’t afford to be obvious, for her sake.
It wasn’t until he was walking toward the door, pretending to laugh at something Steve said, that Marta glanced at him with understanding eyes. She kept her head down and wore a warm smile. John knew she wouldn’t be going outside with him. He returned her smile, reassuring her he too was feeling better.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.