By the time they had finished discussing the post, the murmurings of arriving constituents could be heard in the waiting room. David stood up and checked his hair and tie in the mirror over the obsolete fireplace. “Right, let’s be having them Peter. Start the ball rolling.”
Two hours later, Peter had just shown the last visitor out and was about to lock the outer door, when David heard voices. “I’m afraid we can’t see anyone else today,” Peter was saying.
“It’s alright,” David shouted. “ One more won’t hurt.”
Peter reappeared in the doorway with a tall dark-haired woman immediately behind him, gazing over his shoulder. He gestured for her to enter and by way of introduction said, “This is Mary Reid. You remember we were discussing her letter earlier. I’ll just find it for you to remind you.”
Peter pulled out a chair for the late arrival and quickly shuffled through the opened letters. “Yes I remember now,” said David, shaking her cool, unmanicured hand. “So what can I do for you?”
“You don’t have to do anything for me, I want you to do something for them,” Mary said in a deep, rich voice. “I am asking everyone with any influence to help.”
“Well of course I support your ideals. I firmly believe this government has to do all it can to help eradicate third world debt. I can assure you of that and I have gone on record as saying so in the past.”
She stared at him intently with calm, unsmiling eyes. “No, not the government. You. What are you doing?”
“Miss Reid, as I’ve said already, I understand your point of view and support all the work that is being done to help the situation.”
She sighed and shook her head. “No. I don’t think you do understand. What are you personally doing to help. Which charities do you donate to? Do you do Gift Aid? Do you subscribe to any of the self-help schemes like Water Aid or Send a Cow?”
She smiled, a little sorry, pitiful smile. “I don’t suppose you knew you could do that, did you? ”
“Aah right, well I may have to come back to you on that one Miss Reid. I have to confess that my wife takes care of much of our personal expenditure, including charitable donations, as I spend so much time on matters away from home.”
She stood up and held out her hand. “We’ll talk again then. I look forward to hearing exactly how you are helping next time.”
David shook her hand and as he did so he was struck by the intense look she gave him with her light blue eyes. They seemed to be searching deep inside him for answers he didn’t know he had.
After she had left, he turned to Peter, who had sat to one side during the meeting. “Is she all right do you think?”
“What, crackers, you mean?”
“Yes, I suppose I do.” David shook his head. “I don’t like being hassled about personal commitments like that, but I will talk it over with Caroline and have an answer ready next time, just in case there is a next time.”
“Oh she might not come again. But better be ready. If she turns up late I won’t let her in. Or maybe we should just write to her.”
“Good idea. That the lot?”
Peter looked at his watch. “You’ve got the Bazumble at two, and we’ve only got an hour to spare now. Were you planning to pop home first or do you want to get a quick pint before you’re back on duty?”
“A pint sounds great thanks. Perhaps we can grab a bite to eat as well. Can’t say the Bazumble is my idea of fun, but Caro is going with the kids, so I can show my face later on.”
“Marvellous woman, Caroline. Absolute star. Can’t imagine what on earth we’d do without her helping out at the local shindigs.”
“Yes, yes she is. Absolutely,” agreed David, wondering whether the Bazumble gathering would be shocked if he turned up accompanied by a tall woman with short dark hair and piercing blue eyes, instead of his blonde wife and children.
to be continued Dec.17