Day 7

A Missing Friend

  I watched the minutes slowly drift passed but there was no getting passed it - I was worried about Jimmy. I hadn’t been able to get in touch with him for over a week now and I was very much afraid that something was wrong. 

  Yesterday Jimmy had missed our regular Thursday morning breakfast for the first time in two years. It was something of a ritual with us that on Thursday at 10.00 am we would meet at the cafe down the road and spend a couple of hours chatting and catching up on what had been happening. 

  Another minute ticked passed as I remembered the time we had had a disagreement but we still turned up neither of us willing to break the tradition. It had been an odd meal though as we didn't say a word to each other until we finally parted. I wondered if Jimmy still remembered our silent breakfast. 

  I rolled over and punched my pillow as my thoughts drifted back to yesterday. I had turned up for our breakfast and had waited until nearly lunchtime for him. I had tried phoning but there was no answer at the flat and his mobile was switched off. 

  I should have gone round there straight away that way I wouldn’t have spent all night tossing and turning. I sighed deeply. There was no way that I was going to be able to sleep.  My mind was racing and my heart was worried. I peered at my clock and saw that it was just before 5.00 am. It would be light soon. 

  I couldn’t bear it any longer. I threw back the covers and set about finding something to wear. Even though I was in a desperate rush, I still had to take my time about what to wear. I didn't think a few minutes was going to make any difference one way or another. 

Twenty minutes later I was wearing my jeans, white t-shirt and my favourite black leather jacket. I grabbed my bag and then I was on my way. 

  Ten minutes later the lift doors in my building slid open revealing the underground car park beneath the building. The lighting was subdued and my shoes made way too much noise as they echoed on the concrete floor. My car was directly opposite the lift and I couldn’t help but run my fingers along the roof of it. My black Lexus is my most precious possession and I quickly slipped behind the wheel throwing my handbag on the passenger seat. I instantly felt calmer. I love my car and now that I was doing something, I felt better. I carefully pulled out of my parking space in the underground garage and headed out into the early morning. The first touches of light were only just reaching the sky and the roads were still deserted as I wound my way to Jimmy’s apartment. 

  It didn’t really surprise me that I couldn't get my thoughts away from Jimmy. He’s very special and sometimes I think that I might be in love with him but that’s a boundary we’ve not crossed. Jimmy and I are like chalk and cheese, two people have never been so different in every way. 

  Jimmy is out to save the world, well he’s actually out to save all of the world’s animals.  If he had his way there’d be no more zoos or nature parks and all the animals would get to go home. I remember once pointing out that a lot of the animals were born in zoos and parks so technically they were already home. Not surprisingly that was one of the many things we argued about and it was a long list. For a highly educated man (Jimmy has a degree in Zoology, with a MSc in Wild Animal Health and Biology and another MSc in Conservation Science) who works with animals around the world, he can be a real ass sometimes. After my comment, it was months before he stopped teasing me about how naive I was and even now he still throws it into the conversation. I don't mind though, I loved every second I spent with Jimmy – even the ones where we are arguing. 

  It was now starting to get light but the streets were still quiet. I really needed to know where Jimmy was. I needed to know that he was OK.  There had to be loads of reasons why Jimmy had missed our breakfast and none of them sinister. Top of my list, and my favourite, was the one where Jimmy had boarded a plane for some far-flung corner of the world intent on finding some endangered animal before it became extinct. His destination would be so remote that cell phone reception would be non-existent and the nearest landline would be a hundred miles across an uninhabitable desert. He would come home in a few days full of apologies and bring me a dozen red roses ...  

  I wasn't sure about the direction my thoughts were heading in so I stamped on them. At the end of the day, I just wanted Jimmy to be safe. All I could think about was Jimmy.  He’s a really sweet guy, tall and muscular from trekking through jungles and hiking up mountains.

  The image of Jimmy that appeared in my mind made me smile. His shoulder-length hair is the colour of dark gold and he usually wears it tied back and oddly enough there's always an old pen pushed through it. I asked him about it once and he simply raised an eyebrow and looked at me as though I should know. I didn't know then and I still don't know now but I’ve never had the nerve to ask again. Mind you, it’s his eyes that captivate you, they are the colour of a summer storm and compelling set in a ruggedly handsome face. 

  And everyone loves Jimmy. In the case of the ladies (as confided to me by a number of female friends who were lucky enough to meet him) they just want the chance to spend some time with him. Each and everyone is convinced that they would be the one to tame him and then catch him. Whatever happened in his life, Jimmy would never want for female companionship. 

  Of course, you'd have to be in the top ten of the world's most endangered animals before he’d even notice you existed. Unfortunately, I’m not on that list although I’m sure that Jimmy would think that I’m on some list of waifs and strays just waiting to be rescued. 

  A loud buzzing noise interrupted my thoughts of Jimmy but it still took me a couple of seconds to recognise the noise as my mobile. Desperately I reached over to the passenger seat and grabbled around in my handbag hoping against hope that it was Jimmy calling me. I pulled my phone out and my heart was racing as I glanced at the screen and saw the name. This wasn’t exactly a call I could ignore. I slowed my car to a halt outside Jimmy’s block of flats.