Lie, Naomi, lie.
But instead, the effect of his question was to make her stand up
and offer some tea.
‘Thank you’ he said, smiling slightly.
The unanswered question hung burning in the air whilst she
stood by the kitchen bench, waiting for the tea to brew. She turned
to look at Ted. He was a stranger, yet his casual dress and relaxed
stance on the verandah seemed to presume intimacy. It appeared
that her wariness of strangers and resistance to men did not apply to
Ted Barker; instead, his foreignness made him more mysterious and
attractive by the second. Naomi L. decided he was not a threat.
The following day she went about her daily routine as usual. Ted had
already left for the day when she walked outside and performed her
pushups with the accompanying music of the magpies’ morning call.
She didn’t know what time he’d return (though the bridal creeper
appeared particularly visible today so she presumed he had a long task
ahead of him), but she hoped it would give her enough time to go
about all her usual activities in peace. Most importantly, she hoped it
would give her enough time to do her evening pushups without
disturbance. With Ted’s arrival her emotions were in a precarious
state, so a day to herself was required in order for these emotions to
foreign to her after her sixweeks living under the safety net of solitude.
She had performed her evening pushups and was beginning to
prepare dinner when she heard the sound of Ted Barker ascending
the steps of the verandah. She didn’t turn around, in case her rosy
cheeks from the rising steam were mistaken for blushing (any
inappropriate outpouring of enthusiasm would make her seem mad
and creepy). The house fell silent for a while; assuming he had gone
to the bathroom, she continued on with her task of stirring and
In a rapid movement, Naomi L. was grabbed by her shoulders
from behind. A scream rose up in her throat as a response, and her
heart began to beat as if she’d just performed two hundred push-ups
and was about to go into cardiac arrest.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I was just going to lend a hand
with the dinner instead of letting you do all the work.’
A Wall Of