Just before we got to her apartment, Teresa stopped, and pointed to a park bench.
“Can we sit here for a minute?” It was a lovely spot, opposite a pretty little park. The late summer day was bright and sunny, without the excessive humidity that had tortured us through the month of July. Yet I felt a sudden chill.
We sat down together. Teresa slowly swept her long hair back, and turned to face me.
“Colin, I have to tell you something.” she said. Normally, I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but those words sounded like the footsteps of doom. I swallowed, and nodded.
“I really, really appreciate your help with this.” she continued. “And I’m looking forward to seeing how it will all turn out. But I have to tell you now: this weekend won’t be about you and me. Do you understand?”
I didn’t understand at all, but I nodded as if I did. Teresa was watching me closely – did I mention that she was very bright?
“We aren’t going to be getting back together this weekend, Colin. I’m going to be very busy running the game, for one thing. And then there’s Lena to look after – she won’t know anybody else but me, at first. You could help me out there – be nice to her.”
“I want you to make this long weekend about you. Have fun. Solve the puzzles. Don’t spend your time flirting with me, or going out of your way to be helpful. You don’t have to try to impress me. I want you to just relax and enjoy yourself.”
“Flirt with the other women. Sleep with them.” Teresa saw the look of surprise in my eyes. “I mean it, Colin. We’ve always been frank with each other on that subject. I don’t want you to think about me romantically this weekend. Get drunk, if you want. Have a fling. Flings.”
– “This is one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had.” I said.
Teresa took me by the hand. “Colin, please. This is very important to me: tell me that you understand.”
– “I do. I get it.” I told her.
And I did understand. If I was busy chasing Teresa all weekend, trying to get back together with her, it would interfere with her running the murder mystery. It would also leave me frustrated; she was making it clear.
But I did say that I was an optimist. I understood something else very clearly: Teresa said that we weren’t ‘going to be getting back together this weekend‘. She also said that she didn’t want me to ‘think about her romantically this weekend‘.
Those were her exact words.
Why would she specifically say ‘this weekend’? Not once, but twice. She could have said that there was no chance of us getting back together, ever. Period. But she didn’t.
Which meant that there was hope for us yet.
We parted with a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. Then I went on my way. I waited until she was out of sight before I started to smile.
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