Thursday, 29 September 2011

Turquoise

I saw him again today; the man with the turquoise tie.

There's always a bit of a bottleneck outside the station; the school coach waits to mop up its quota of reluctant scholars and simpletons; the "I'm late for the train" last-minute drivers tut and fume, trying to push their way through to the car park; the stay-at-home wives manoeuvre round the narrow entrance lane in their four-by-fours, dropping off their breadwinners before heading off for a day of all the things I say I'd like to do, but probably wouldn't really.

He stands patiently at the side of the road, waiting for a break in the traffic, unwilling to step out into the unpredictable stop-start line of vehicles. The gently swaying briefcase in his hand is the only sign of movement as I drive past.

Without his tie he'd be Mr Monochrome, dressed in a pale grey suit and white shirt, with an ashen face and silver white hair; without his neck-wear, I know I wouldn't notice him. But today, as I continue my journey to work, I find myself thinking and wondering about the man with the turquoise tie.

I picture him arriving at his office. Taking his sandwich bag and papers from the briefcase, tucking his lunch in a drawer and neatly lining up the pile of reports on his desktop. He doesn't invite conversation with the others; he still hasn't quite got used to the open-plan arrangements they introduced last year. His desk is in the corner, but he preferred it when there was a small room, with a door to shut, a door to be politely knocked on before entering. Some of his colleagues throw out a loud good morning as they pass his desk, but they don't stop to talk and they've already gone past before his mumbled response is half out.

He switches on the computer, wondering what instant responses his inbox will demand today. While he waits for the cursor to point its accusing finger, he reflects on the days when memos and internal mail envelopes gave at least two days grace, the days when a thoughtful measured approach, steeped in experience and expertise were things to be admired, not impatiently tolerated or worse, derided.

Then he shifts in his chair, pulls himself upright. Today will be alright, because today he is wearing his turquoise tie. The one Christine gave him for his birthday three years ago; the one she suggested he put on this morning. He is already smiling when he thinks of the way she came up and draped it over his shoulder as he stood indecisively in front of the wardrobe mirror. She didn't need to say anything, just a nod and a smile, and he knew that she was right. Today will be fine because in just twelve hours there will be another nod and a smile as she slowly and carefully unties the knot and slips the tie from round his neck.

And today will be good, because without even knowing it, the man with the turquoise tie has reminded me that there are kind quiet people, who live and love, and make the world a better place simply by being.



31 comments:

Jennifer said...

Loved this. I really need to get back into trying to write like this more. I haven't done much of it for awhile. Really sad, actually.

bamaloo said...

Ahh I loved this! It's so amazing that we can all still feel curious about one another. That we still wonder at the lives and loves each of us experience...

Dicky said...

I love your writing Sharon; I'm always pleased when I see a new post from you on my blog roll. The first paragraph of this story is fantastic (no full stops).

Baglady said...

Fabby. It's like having a picture escape the frame so you can see much more of the image.

I like that he's happy. I think this probably reflects well on your own situation (or maybe I've been watching too much Fraiser?).

The Idiot Gardener said...

Another detailed vignette which tells us enough without giving too much! I like the depth of the character without really knowing him.

Kudos!

Happy Frog and I said...

You have such a gift for observation and capturing detail that I wish I could have. Great post.

Pat said...

'she came up and draped it over his shoulder as he stood indecisively in front of the wardrobe mirror.'

There is something so sexy about a tie and an attractive man. A lecturer once removed his tie and draped it over my bare ankle and I swear my heart pounded.
Your writing always gets me thinking. The best kind of writing.

Zia Ul Haq said...

Congrats for getting into the Blogs of Note

joeh said...

That's my tie, the son-of-a-bitch stole it from me 2 years ago!!

Very nice story, interesting angle.

The Cranky Old Man

http://www.joeh-crankyoldman.blogspot.com

S J said...

lovely blog

Tahj Ali Blow said...

Really elegant post. Just goes to show the simple things people do to brighten up the day

Nari said...

I will never ever look at a tie the same...most especially, a turquoise one.

Helle Kristine Tumbridge said...

Beautiful... And may I say well done, Blog of Note!

Kathy Robbins said...

Simple, yet brilliantly beautiful. Very descriptive and elegant.

Shea Goff said...

Beautiful.

Sara said...

This is beautiful! I can imagine the man so clearly, and his feelings. Gorgeous xx

sarasarasaraaaa.blogspot.com

Lydia Lyn said...

You happen to be an amazing writer! I only stumbled upon your blog (by mere accident since I typically only read blogs in my niche) but I have not been able to stop reading. You write the way I think - taking pieces of things that otherwise wouldn't go together and combining them to make a collage of beauty. Interesting. Write more so I can read more.

Sharon Longworth said...

Jennifer - I'll look forward to reading it when you do.

Bamaloo - it's pretty hard to beat the pleasure of watching people and inventing lives for them :)

Dicky - that's a smashing thing to say - thank you.

Baglady - I've never thought about a picture escaping the frame before - I will now.

The IG - thank you. Your feedback is really appreciated and something I find myself looking out for more and more

Sharon Longworth said...

HappyFrogandI - thank you!

Pat - Now I definitely want to hear more about the lecturer and the ankle!

Zia Ul Haq - hello and thank you!

joeh - brilliant - so what are you wearing instead?

thanks SJ :)

Sharon Longworth said...

Tahj Ali Blow - thank you for stopping by and for leaving such a nice comment - really appreciated.

Nari - goodness! I hope that's a good thing?

Helle - thank you. And thank you.

Kathy - too kind by far, but thank you!

Shea - :)

Sharon Longworth said...

Thank you Sara.

Lydia - I'm really glad you stumbled! Thank you for stopping to read, and for leaving such a great comment.

Roshni Murali said...

you dont know me but your small stories are very simple and elegent.its kind of like the stories you read for passing time, i liked it :)

ARL said...

nice one ...i like it so much...i know your a good writer:)

Pinky O'Hara said...

I like the fact that if he wasn't wearing that tie, he'd be "Mr. Monochrome"...and where would we be? I'm glad he wore that tie!

And, of course, that you told us all about him!

Great piece, and congrats on your award...very deserved.

Jah said...

I enjoyed the man with the turqoise tie. Thanks.

Happy Kid City said...

Powerful writing. So glad I found you through Blog of Note!

Sergio Lopez said...

I am leaving a comment. Giraffes would benefit from wearing ties. They'd look more fashionable then.

Misha said...

WOW! You write beautifully. I love how you turned a simple everyday observation into an eloquent description of personality and charachter. A very satisfying read, and in my humble opinion, you truly deserve to be on the Blogs of Note list.

Sharon Longworth said...

Roshni - thank you - I', glad that you chose to pass some time reading here!

ARL - I'm really glad you like what I've written - thank you for your lovely comment

Pinky - I agree, I'm very glad he wore that tie!

Jah - I'm really glad you enjoyed it - thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment

Happy Kid City - that's a really nice thing to say - thank you.

Sergio - Brilliant! I now have a great image in my head of a giraffe wearing a tie.

Misha - thank you so much, I'm really pleased you liked this.

Nicole said...

This is what I admire about your writing; I love how you see backstory in every scene. I can't do it. I just see guys in blue ties.

NiceMan said...

Thanks ya