Friday, 20 March 2015

Complexity A short story by Grant Harbison

“Hurry up, Lisa. We’re going to be late,” cried Mark.
“I’m coming!”
“What’s wrong?” Mark asked when she came through to the living room.
“I’m just a little nervous.”
“Everything will be fine.”
“That’s easy for you to say. I’m meeting your mother for the first time and we’re going to announce that I’m pregnant. Who wouldn't be scared?”
“She’ll be over the moon. Just relax. She’s wonderful, you’ll see.”
Mark and Lisa had first met two years earlier on Lisa’s first international flight from London to New York. Lisa had been so excited as it had been her first time abroad. Although she loved her job as an air hostess, the frequent trips from London to Glasgow had become a bit tedious. So when she’d been given the opportunity to go to New York, she’d been over the moon. It was a city she’d always longed to see, and to spend a few days there too had been like a dream come true.
It was on that flight that she’d first met Mark. As soon as she laid eyes on the dashing young pilot, her heart had begun to flutter, and the way he’d looked at her had suggested that he felt something similar.
On arrival in New York, Mark had asked her if she would like to go to dinner. Without hesitation, Lisa had replied that she’d love to.
Mark had taken her to a quaint little Italian restaurant not far from the hotel. Their conversation had been a little tentative to start with, but after a few glasses of wine, they’d laughed and joked like they’d known each other for years.
Both had been surprised to find out how similar their lives had been. They were both roughly the same age and both of them had been adopted. Mark had relayed to Lisa that his adoptive parents had died in a car crash two years earlier and shortly after that he’d gone in search of his real mother. It had been a painstaking task, but after a year he’d tracked her down. He’d phoned her and they'd arranged to meet in a pub. Not knowing what to expect, he’d been extremely nervous. She hadn't welcomed him with open arms, but she’d apologised for what she had done, and had explained her reasons. As the months had gone by, a mother and son relationship had developed.
Lisa had been intrigued by Mark’s story and had told him that she’d recently got in contact with her mother. She’d never wanted to find her, but when her adoptive parents had moved to Australia, she’d felt lonely. She’d told Mark that it had also taken her a bit of time to track down her real mother, but in a way, she wished she hadn't. The woman had been friendly, but Lisa had felt that she’d been a bit distracted. They’d arranged to meet again, and had exchanged mobile numbers; but after six weeks, none of them had phoned the other.
On their second evening in New York, Mark had invited Lisa out to dinner once again. Lisa had been delighted as she’d felt there was a budding romance. She hadn't wanted to be presumptuous, but in her experience, a second date usually meant that the other person had a keen interest.
More nervous on the second date, Lisa had drunk more than she should have to calm her nerves. Mark hadn't drunk any alcohol, as he had to be free of alcohol before the flight back to London.
When they’d gotten back to the hotel, Lisa had put her arms around Mark in the lift and they’d kissed. The kiss had aroused a fiery passion and they’d ended up in bed together. The following morning she’d awoken to find Mark staring at her. Her immediate thought had been that there was something wrong, but when he’d told her that he loved her, she’d been ecstatic and they’d made love once again.
On arrival in London, they’d arranged to meet again, but when she hadn't heard from him a week and a half later, Lisa had begun to wonder if she’d been used. It was something she’d experienced a few times in her life; but with the other men, she’d just let it go. This time had been different. He’d seemed sincere when he’d told her that he loved her.
She’d decided to phone him. After a number of rings, Mark had answered. He’d been very happy to hear from her and had apologised for not calling. He’d explained that he’d been out of the country and had just gotten back that day. 
The following evening Mark had picked her up and had taken her to his house. He’d made dinner, and afterwards they’d sipped wine by candlelight and chatted. Later that evening, Lisa had wanted to call a taxi, but Mark had insisted that she stay, and told her that he’d take her home the following morning.
Driving back to Lisa’s flat the following morning, Mark had asked her to move in with him. His request had caught her by surprise, but after a few moments deliberation she’d told him that she’d love to.
Although their work commitments meant that they had to spend a lot of time apart, they’d made up for it when they were together. Both were head over heels in love, and when Lisa had discovered she was pregnant, Mark had been delirious with joy. He’d immediately proposed to her and had gone to buy the engagement ring the following day.
“So where are we meeting your mum?” Lisa asked.
“It’s not far. A lovely little seafood place.”
Upon arrival at the restaurant, Lisa was led to a table by one of the waiters, while Mark spoke to the woman at the front desk and requested that when a woman called Jessica Young arrived she should be directed her to his table.
“Here she is, Lisa,” said Mark ten minutes later when he saw his mother enter the restaurant.
“Lisa?” said Jessica when she got to the table.
“Mum!” screamed Lisa.    

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