Downshire Diary – (79) The Matchmakers Match
Olivia Conway was a theatre sister at the Winston Churchill Hospital and she was a rather ordinary looking middle-aged woman just the wrong side of 50.
Olivia was five foot six inches tall and very trim, and stood an inch or so taller in her shoes, and her sisters uniform fitted her to perfection, tapered at the waist where the broad belt sat.
Her once strawberry blonde hair was now peppered with grey.
She was always smiling, but the ageing in her face wasn’t all due to laughter lines, life’s hardships and experiences were etched into her face as well, each line and furrow an event and for those who could read such signs it was like her résumé.
She was well-liked and respected at work and many of her colleagues were close friends outside of work.
But when she chose to she could be a private person and didn’t talk about everything in her private life and when she was outside of work she didn’t discuss every aspect of her work.
She had lived in the small Downshire village of Clarence in the Finchbottom Vale for 20 years and was believed to be a lonely soul as she lived alone and had never married.
When she wasn’t working long hours at the Winston Churchill she was heavily involved with Mary of Bethany church and she was very popular with the other congregants.
Olivia was by profession a care giver and in the village she was considered to be an angel of mercy because she would, in her own time, visit parishioners in need, she was also a matchmaker and a good one to boot.
But as good as she undoubtedly was at bringing other people together she always accepted that the sweet romances she engineered were what other people could have but not her, she wished it wasn’t so but she was resigned to it.
But she was wrong.
Mark Reid was an oncology Doctor from the Winston Churchill who, along with his wife Carol, had been Olivia’s friend for many years and she had been his greatest support over the two years since he was widowed but not in the manner that she would have liked.
Since Mark was widowed he threw himself into his work and his patients and every time he lost another one he had to grieve all over again.
It all came to a head when 11 year old Steve Wiltshire succumbed to leukemia and he broke down completely, luckily Olivia was on hand and made sure no one else witnessed his distress.
At the end of her shift she managed to sneak Mark down in the goods lift and drove him to her home in Clarence, and on the journey home she offered to put him up and he offered no objection.
Olivia put Mark up in the spare room and settled him into bed and he stayed there for three days and only on the fourth day he did leave the room.
Mark lay in his bed, as he had since he arrived in Clarence, wishing he was in hers.
Since Carol died Olivia had been a great support to him which was greatly appreciated but over the last 12 months that appreciation had turned to love.
He did nothing about it however, as much as he wanted her, in case it ruined their friendship, which he valued greatly.
Also he didn’t want her to think less of him, he was not aware of the disposition of her own heart, if he had been he would have acted sooner.
But as he lay there on his fourth day in Clarence he chastised himself for his cowardice and decided to take decisive action so he waited until he heard her go downstairs and got out of bed, and made himself presentable.
Washed and shaved he opened his bedroom door and quietly left his room and crossed the landing to the top of the stairs and tiptoed down the stairs and thought he could hear something in the kitchen, so he crept to the kitchen door, which was slightly ajar, and then he looked in and he could see Olivia standing at the counter making a hot drink and he smiled, because she was wearing blue and white-striped pajamas, the old fashioned ones with a drawstring around the waist.
He walked quietly up behind her and lightly placed his hands on her waist and she gasped and leant back in his arms.
“You made me jump”
“Sorry” he said but his hands remained on her waist and she was still leant against him.
“Are you feeling better?” she asked
“I will be soon” he replied and turned her to face him
“Oh” she exclaimed and then he kissed her
And what a kiss it was, long and languid and full of latent passion and when it ended Olivia relaxed in his arms and he confessed.
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long”
“Me too” she murmured
Later that day as they lay in her bed cuddling in the afterglow Olivia was feeling very pleased with herself for a job well done, firstly because she had finally got the man she had been in love with for years, secondly because she had not had to take the initiative, he had very definitely wanted her so finally the match maker had her match.