Time was a priceless commodity Willy couldn’t afford to waste but he sat quietly awaiting his turn at the optician’s. His annual exam was already six months overdue, and his prescription needed altering.
The past two and a half years had been intense and taxing. What started in his one-bedroom apartment quickly took over half of a two story building in Sunnyvale. Triumph Technologies grew faster than Willy and his co-founder, Theo, a PARC burn out, could handle. Both young men looked overworked, forged ahead underpaid and in need of a long holiday. It had been difficult to leave the office for so much as a burrito. Thanks to perseverance, hard work and Willy’s vision, Triumph Technologies not only survived the start-up phase, it made the big boys of high tech stop and notice.
A mother and daughter went into the examination room as soon as an elderly man came out.
“It won’t be much longer, dear,” the chubby receptionist reassured him. “They’re a just replacing a lens.”
Willy nodded in acknowledgement. The woman carried on her typing to the beat of a Muzac tune and her many bangles. He read the business articles in Time and sifted through a glossy magazine, but glancing at Palladian villas and New York penthouses could not keep him entertained. His pale fingers flipped through the pages at fast speed as he counted the minutes, when a familiar image caught his attention. He sat upright and began fumbling the pages backwards till he reached the page he was after.
The headline over the full-page photograph read: “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fog Covered Glass Jewel Sparkles with Renewed Splendour.”
A familiar siren stood on the side of a cliff and a house whose ocean-side walls consisted primarily of glass loomed behind her. Woman and structure epitomized mystery and uncommon unattainable beauty.
Willy stared back, dumbfounded, the feature became a blur.
When he overheard the little girl’s bust of laughter and the sound of footsteps approach the door, he immediately turned the page and found two more, smaller shots of the interior of the house.
The door opened, and time had run out.
“You’re next,” called the receptionist breaking the spell. Willy jumped, and the magazine fell onto the side of the table and slid off. The friendly receptionist shook her massive red curls and smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it. Go right in.”
Willy shrugged apologetically and trundled inside.
After the evaluation, Willy scurried into the reception area and scanned the table.
“Linda,” boomed the optician’s voice from the open door. “Can I give you these forms before I forget?”
Linda rolled her heavily made up eyes dramatically then winked at Willy. “Hold your horses, sheriff, I’m a comin’!”
Without thinking, Willy looked around to make sure no-one saw him and shoved the magazine under his shirt.
He arrived at his office in record time. He dashed past the matronly secretary sorting out a batch of files. Her well-organized desk stood out amongst the clutter of others around her.
“How’d it go?” she asked not bothering to look up. Willy shrugged and took the envelopes she offered him. “Julie returned your call about ten minutes ago and said something about ‘erungs’”
“Eproms, Cindy,” he corrected the older woman in a harried tone. “Erasable programmable read only memory.”
“Eprom,” Cindy repeated, waving her hand in the air annoyed about her inability to assimilate computer jargon. “Theo is running late and asked that you proof the manufacturing memo before your meeting. Want me to get Julie on the line?”
“No! Not now - I...” He pawed the air with his free hand and shuffled inside his office adding over his shoulder, “I need to approve some designs. I can’t be disturbed.” He practically slammed the door before dropping into a beat up swivel chair. He caught his breath then pulled out the magazine. He carefully ripped out each page with utmost care and stared, transfixed.
Victoire’s photograph with hair windswept and partly opened lips matched the way Willy imagined her luxuriating next to him in a King size waterbed.
Sweet and sour memories regrouped like dreaded enemies. Before they assaulted his senses, Willy bunched up the article and threw the paper ball to a bin across the room.
For once, he missed the basket.