This week's edition to our Olympia Extracts is the romantic fiction, Perfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh.
She bit her lip, clutching the giraffe she had placed on her lap tightly. It would be the only reminder she would carry of the life she was leaving behind. From the moment she saw it in the Heathrow Airport gift shop she just had to have it, no matter the cost.
She breathed in deeply as the plane took off. The thrill of lift off had always been her favourite feeling, but now it just weighed like lead deep in her stomach. She wasn’t sure she was making the right choice in leaving her life in London to return to her birth place. All she wanted to do was to get as far away as possible from the memories haunting her. She’d try and start afresh in the place she’d once called home.
The cabin attendant came along pushing the trolley, looking sympathetically at her swollen eyes; it was obvious she had been crying. ‘Can I give you something to drink, miss?’ She spoke in a soft whisper, almost too afraid to disturb her.
‘A strong cup of black coffee please,’ she replied, conflicted by the emotions engulfing her.
She was on her way to see her best friend after almost ten years. She looked nervously down at the ring still on her ring finger, wishing she could erase the time. Time really did fly; it seemed as if she were a completely different person now. Would her friend even notice just how much life had changed her?
‘Butter chicken or beef curry and rice?’ the attendant interrupted her thoughts.
‘Butter chicken, please, and could I get a bottle of still water?’ she muttered. She looked away as she took the ring off and shoved it into her jeans pocket.
‘Enjoy your dinner,’ the attendant muttered with the cheerfulness that was required in her job description. She handed over the dinner tray and exchanged a knowing glance with the passenger next to her as she handed him his dinner.
‘Is this your first time to South Africa?’ a male voice drifted up questioningly. Her neighbour was a handsome man in his mid-thirties, with a kindness in his eyes.
‘No, it’s my birthplace. My family moved to London when I was eighteen; this is my first time back since we moved.’ She spoke reluctantly, between staggered mouthfuls of food. She had no appetite but knew she needed to eat. Her clothes were already hanging on her thin frame and her once loved curves were starting to fade away. The stranger smiled at her, sensing that she really didn’t want to talk, and decided to leave her be. He watched her play with her food, which she eventually managed to finish just as the attendant came to clear away their trays. He could only imagine what could be wrong with the beautiful woman whose light brown hair curled loosely over her pale cream sweater. Her striking blue eyes spoke of her despair.
She closed her eyes; she hadn’t slept properly in three months and she wasn’t sure she could sleep now. She wanted to try and sleep so she would look a little more rested when she saw her friend on arrival.
She had called Katy three days ago and asked if she could come and stay with her in Durban for a while. She knew she could rely on her; they were like sisters, and right now she was the only sister she had. Katy hadn’t questioned why she needed to come. She knew her friend had faced great anguish, and despite her not knowing if that was her reason for moving, she knew that if she was leaving the life she had loved in London behind, there had to be a legitimate reason. For now, she would just be there for her, no questions asked, for as long as she needed her. That’s what friends did for each other, wasn’t it?