She glanced up at the window as a strange tapping and flapping of wings rattled against the glass. There was a flurry of brown feathers and a flash of red reflected beneath the curtain. She got up from her bed and went to see what had happened. Drawing the curtains, she saw the branches of the birch tree that grew in her back garden and nestled on the closest branch was a small bird.
Puzzled, she stared hard at the robin, who appeared to be staring back at her. Then she went to her bedside table. As her finger reached out to switch the radio on, the tapping and flapping started up again. She turned quickly and caught the robin struggling against the window. It seemed the small bird was in desperation to break through the glass and enter her bedroom. After a few seconds the robin gave up once more and jumped back on to the branch.
‘What’s up with you? Silly thing.’ she tutted.
She turned on the radio then went over to her wardrobe. She began pulling out clothes and tossing them on her bed. The song on the radio finished and there was a quick news report.
‘What to wear…?’ she placed her hands on her hips and stared at the clothes before her.
The tapping cut through her thoughts and looking at the window she saw the robin was back again. Sighing, she went over to the window and opened it. The robin darted away, moving to the other side of the tree.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ She called, ‘there’s nothing for you here.’
She left the window open, but drew the curtains. She began to get dressed as the song on the radio changed. She hummed the first few notes then stopped as the voice broke through the music and began singing.
‘How strange.’ she muttered as her room filled with the dancing music.
As the chores came in, she picked up the words as she finished putting on her blouse and skirt. She went over to the window and as she drew back the curtain, she saw the robin sitting on the window sill, his head on one side as if he was listening to her.
‘Oh, wow, you’re a pretty thing, aren’t you?’
The robin took flight and moved back to his branch.
‘This song is about you,’ she began then a memory hit her…
The last notes of Rockin’ Robin drifted out of the window and her mind wondered with it…..
‘….But Jane, you must come!’
She paused in eating her fruit salad, ‘it’s not my scene.’
‘Nothing ever is your scene, Jane. You’re such a workaholic!’
‘It’s just silly, Becky,’ she answered and put an apple slice in her mouth.
Becky sighed and began to fidget with her short blonde hair. The kettle clicked and Becky poured the hot water into six mugs on a tray.
‘I’m busy that night anyway,’ Jane picked up.
‘Of course you are,’ Becky replied coldly.
‘I’ve nothing to wear either. The whole thing is pointless!’
‘It’s the Christmas do….’
Jane snorted and turned her head away. Becky muttered something under her breath then left the kitchen with the tray. Jane went back to her desk and was busy typing up account information, when there was a knock at her door.
‘Come in,’ she called.
The door opened and the noise of the office flood in. She glanced up as a young man shuffled towards her desk. He looked out of place with his torn jeans and long t-shirt. In his hand he clutched a parcel and some letters. She stared at him, wondering if he was lost or if she should call security.
‘Hi, I’ve some things for Mr. Quagmire.’
She didn’t reply.
‘Erm….I’m new here. Downstairs, I mean. In the post room.’
‘Oh?’ she said and took her finger off the security button, ‘I’ll take them then.’
He placed the parcel and letters on her desk, ‘I’m Robin Sands.’
‘Miss Coy,’ she replied coldly. She stood up from her desk and gathered the letters and parcel.
She tutted, ‘Excuse me.’
She walked out and towards the other door. She knocked then entered her boss’s room.
‘Well…it was nice to meet you too,’ Robin said cheerily and left.
‘This is going to be so much fun! You’ll see,’ Becky chatted away as Jane put on her makeup.
‘Remind me again, why am I doing this?’
‘Because we need to let our hair down and you look so great! All colourful and Christmassy.’
Jane studied herself in the mirror, ‘I have to agree with you….but still, I look awful in anything but black, white and grey.’
Becky sighed and pulled Jane to her feet, ‘This red really suits you though.’
Jane cast her eye down the short red dress.
‘Can I put the tinsel in your hair now?’
‘Come on, Jane, lighten up.’
‘But tinsel is trashy and my hair’s fine like this.’
Becky giggled, ‘You’ll stand out a mile, if I don’t…’
‘Oh, all right then, but don’t make me look silly.’
Jane sat down once more at her dresser and Becky quickly set to work with the tinsel.
At the party, Jane stood in the corner, sipping from her plastic cup of fruit punch and watching the office staff dancing around the desks. Christmas music flowed out of the CD player and voices rose in song to the familiar music. Jane looked out of the window. The city lights sparkled against the night sky and flashing Christmas decorations stood out on the sides of buildings.
‘Hi. Miss Coy, right?’
She turned and frowned at him.
‘We meet a few days ago. Robin? Remember?’
‘Not really….’ she turned back to the window.
‘I was delivering things to your boss? I just started working here.’
‘Yes, I think I remember now.’
‘Good. So do you want a drink?’
‘I’m fine thanks,’ she faked smiled.
Robin had his hands in his pockets, he glanced over his shoulder then back at her.
‘Want to dance?’
The song changed and drunken voices rose out of tune to the music.
‘Well, I’m going to then,’ Robin answered and walked away.
‘Jane! Jane! Come join in!” Becky shouted across the room, fighting her away over.
‘I’m good here, thanks,’ she said quickly.
Becky grabbed her hand, ‘come on, they’re going to make a conga line now.’
‘Really, I’m fine.’
‘Who were you talking to?’
‘No one,’ Jane replied and finished off her drink.
‘He looked cute.’
‘I’ve no idea what you’re going on about. You’re drunk, Becky.’
‘So is everyone else. Now come and dance!’
‘What? To Santa Claus is coming to town? I don’t think so….’
‘They’ll change it to rockin’ around the Christmas tree in a minute, come on, sour puss.’
‘You’re not going to let me get out of this are you, B?’
‘No,’ Becky laughed loudly.
Jane set her empty cup down on a computer and let Becky led her into an empty space.
‘Hey, I thought you didn’t dance?’
She turned at the sound of voice and found Robin standing behind her.
‘She doesn’t,’ Becky cut in, ‘I’m forcing her too.’
They both laughed.
‘Do you know each other?’ Jane shouted over the music.
‘Yes,’ Becky replied, ‘he’s the new message boy.’
Someone cut the song off and put another on, much to the compliant of a number of voices.
‘Oh no,’ Robin sudden cried out and grabbed Jane’s hands.
‘What’s wrong, Rob?’ Becky said quickly.
‘This song…..I can’t stand it.’
‘Why not?’ Jane sniffed, snatching her hands back.
‘It’s Rockin’ Robin.’
‘Of course,’ Becky burst into laughter, ‘And you’re Robin!’
‘Quick, we must leave!’ Robin grabbed Jane’s hand and pulled her away.
‘Hold on a minute!’
‘No, they’ll start on me any second! Look at her.’
Jane glanced at Becky, who was now doubled over with laughter.
‘She’s just drunk.’
‘They all are!’ Robin yelled in her ear, ‘Come on.’ He dragged her out of the room.
‘But where are we going?’
‘Anywhere, but here!’
They were running through the street, laughing loudly, like children set loose in a park. Jane stopped and took her high heels off.
‘What are you doing?’ Robin called from the street corner.
‘What’s it look like?’
‘You’ll get holes in your stockings.’
‘So?’ Jane called as she skipped to his side, ‘I’ll just buy new ones.’
He laughed and bent his head to kiss her.
She ducked out of his way and stepped across the road, ‘Do you drink wine?’
‘Sometimes,’ he said following her.
Jane walked backwards across the road; swing her shoes in her hand.
‘Come back to mine then. I have a few bottles.’
‘Don’t you think you’ve drunk enough?’
‘I had two cups of that punch and I can handle my drink.’
‘I bet you can,’ he laughed.
‘To mine then,’ she smiled and linked arms with him, ‘Tell me about the post room.’
Jane rolled over and began to try and detangle herself from the bed sheets. She groaned loudly then climbed out of the bed. She ran a hand through her hair and yawned. Suddenly the mist of sleep vanished from her eyes and she looked down.
Crying out, she dived for her wardrobe and quickly pulled her dressing gown on. She fastened the belt and looked at the bed. A still form was curled up on the other side.
‘Oh no….’ she breathed and looked down at the floor.
Her clothes and his were mixed together and scattered around the bed. She began to pick up her crumbled things.
‘Can I have a coffee?’ a muffled voice asked.
She glanced through the wooden end board of the bed at him.
‘No,’ she snapped.
‘I’ll make it myself then….’
As Robin began to get out of the bed Jane threw his shirt at him. ‘Get out!’
Robin froze, ‘What?’
‘Get out! This is my house and I want you to leave right now!’
Robin frowned and pulled on his shirt, ‘But why? What about last night?’
‘That was last night! Now leave before I phone the police!’
‘All right, All right.’
Jane stormed out of the room, leaving him to get dressed.
‘I’ll just go shall I?’ Robin called from the front door.
‘Yes,’ Jane yelled back.
Robin left, slamming the door closed behind him.
‘You did what?’
Becky’s voice echoed in her ears as Jane cried over the phone to her.
‘I don’t know,’ she gushed, ‘I can’t remember anything.’
‘Well, where is he now?’
‘Gone….I kicked him out.’
‘Oh, Jane, I’m sorry. Do you want me to come over?’
‘No, no, I’ll be fine.’
‘I still can’t believe you. He’s only eighteen, you know.’
‘What?’ Jane stopped sniffing into her hanky.
‘Robin, he’s only eighteen. He’s working part time, earning money to put himself through college. He wants to build planes.’
A fresh wave of tears suddenly burst forth, ‘I’m nearly forty. Oh my God, I’m old enough to be his mother!’
‘Now, Jane! Don’t talk like that! Jane?’
She dropped the phone and rushed off to the bathroom…….
……Jane switched off the radio and casting a last look at the robin on the branch she walked out of the room and off to her new job.