The People's Friend
Whatever The Weather
It wasn’t like Diane to let personal problems affect her work . . .
AND now, with today’s weather for the region, it’s over to our weather presenter, Diane.” Bob the newsreader kept his smile on his face for the camera before it panned across the studio to Diane, waiting by her weather board.
Diane had been delivering the weather news on her local television station for the last 12 years. Over those years she’d predicted many long, hazy summer days and plenty of rain showers.
She’d even forecast her share of snow storms and blizzards, and once, a hurricane, too.
A true professional, there had been days when she had struggled into work to deliver the meteorological news while feeling under the weather herself.
But today was the first time she’d had to deliver the forecast with a broken heart.
“It’s overcast and cloudy out there today,” Diane said into the camera, hoping her voice wouldn’t crack. “We’re seeing a cold front arriving from the west, bringing in a wet and windy depression. So do take care out there, as the heavy rain warning is in place for the rest of today.”
The camera panned back to Bob.
“Thank you, Diane, for the weather. We’ll be back with you this evening with a round-up of your local news.”
The cameraman raised his right arm in the air.
“And we’re done!” he yelled.
Bob removed his microphone and stood up from behind the news desk. He glanced over at Diane.
“Are you all right? You seemed a little shaken, there, doing the weather today.”
“I’m OK,” she lied, and before Bob could pry any further she left the studio quickly.
She decided to head to the canteen to have a coffee before returning to her desk. Her friend Kate was sitting by the window in the café so she headed towards her.
“Hey!” Kate said, looking up from her phone when she spotted Diane. “Have you heard from Ian yet?” Diane shook her head. “I think we’re finished, Kate.”
“You’re giving up too easily,” Kate said. “He’s a smashing bloke, Di. You know we all think the world of him.”
Diane stirred her coffee, swirling the frothy milk around the cup with her spoon.
“I know. Everyone tells me we’re such a good match.”
“Then what do you keep pushing him away for? If we can all see how happy he makes you, what’s stopping you from letting him into your life?”
Diane sighed. She’d been over and over this for days in her head and still couldn’t make sense of it.
“He wants us to move in together, Kate, and I’m just not ready for it, not yet.”
Kate raised an eyebrow.
“You’ve told him all of this, have you?”
“He thinks I’m against the idea because I don’t love him, not because I’m . . .”
“Scared?” Kate suggested.
“Can I give you some advice?” Kate said, and without waiting for an answer, she pointed to the large television screen on one of the canteen walls.
“If I were you I’d plaster that smile on a bit more brightly next time you go on air to give the weather forecast.”
“Did it come across on screen how awful I’m feeling inside?”
“Afraid so, kid. There’ll be e-mails from the viewers complaining, if you’re not careful. You know how much they like you.
“You’ve been the cheerful weather presenter at the station since before some of our viewers were born!” “Thanks, Kate.” Diane drained the rest of her coffee and headed slowly back to her office.
She wasn’t due back on air for a couple of hours and she knew that she had to clear her head and concentrate on her work.
When she entered the open-plan office she shared with the rest
of the news team, the sports presenter caught her eye as she walked past his desk.
“You’ve had a delivery,” Jake said. “It’s over there, on your desk. Came in while you were on air.”
Diane glanced over to the corner of the room. As she walked towards her desk, she saw a hand-tied bouquet of white tea-roses mixed in with purple freesias, her two favourite flowers.
There was only one person who knew that, and sure enough the note confirmed that Ian had sent them. The note attached bore three words. I love you.
Diane logged on to her computer to catch up with e-mails, then she checked the latest meteorological reports in order to prepare her next weather slot.
She tried to lose herself in work but her thoughts kept returning to Ian and their argument the night before.
He wanted Diane to move into his flat, but she knew she wasn’t ready.
She had been hurt in relationships before and wanted to tread carefully this time.
“You can’t keep shutting me out because of your past,” Ian had told her, begging her to reconsider. “I could be your future, if only you’d let me. If only you’d trust me.”
They’d talked over this all night, going round in circles, and finally Ian had stormed out, leaving Diane in tears.
She’d barely slept and now her mind whirled with thoughts of Ian as she sat at her desk and prepared her next forecast.
Deciding to put the flowers into water, she headed towards the kitchen where she found an old vase to keep them in until the end of her shift.
Back at her desk, the perfume from the roses and freesias lifted her heart with every breath that she took.
Soon it was time for the local news and weather to go out live once again.
Diane and Bob headed to the studio and Diane took her place in front of the weather board, as she always did.
“The rain looks set to move away to the east, with the depression starting to lift,” she said, pointing with her left hand to the weather board.
“We might just see a break in the clouds with a slight improvement in the temperature by the end of the day.”
When Diane returned home that evening she found a large, light blue envelope lying on her door mat. The envelope had no stamp and only her first name had been written on the front.
Clearly someone had pushed it through the letter-box while she’d been at work.
Without even taking off her coat, Diane sank down on to her sofa, slit the envelope open and pulled out a sheet of traditional, cream, heavy writing paper. It was a letter from Ian. Not just any letter, but an old-fashioned love letter. He didn’t say much, but what he did say struck Diane to the core and made tears spring to her eyes.
He wouldn’t push her, she read. He would wait for her, as long as it took, because he loved her and wanted nothing more in the world than to be with her.
That night, Diane slept better and arrived at work the next day in a much more positive frame of mind.
“Across the middle of the region we’ll start to see some hazy sunshine this week.” She smiled at the camera.
“We might just be able to put those umbrellas away for a little while, too. The temperature should be a couple of degrees warmer than we’ve seen lately and the weather looks set fair to be a lot more calm than of late.
“And now it’s back to Bob on the news desk.”
Bob smiled to the camera, said his goodbyes and he and Diane waited for the cameraman to give them his usual signal to tell them they’d gone off air.
Diane headed straight back to her office as she was due in a team meeting before her next forecast later that day.
As she approached her desk, she saw another small bouquet.
This time it was a single red rose nestled inside a small bunch of white freesias. She lifted it towards her and breathed in the heady scent.
Taped to the brown paper and string wrapping of the bouquet was a tiny white envelope. Inside, in Ian’s handwriting, was a question. Saturday lunch?
After her team meeting, Diane sent a text message to Ian to accept the lunch date and he suggested they meet in her favourite Italian restaurant in town.
Then she decided to put thoughts of Ian to one side and concentrate on her work and the weather.
Diane knew that once she got home that evening she would have plenty of time to think about what to say to Ian and what to wear for their date.
She knew she didn’t want to lose him; they made each other happy and she felt settled with him in a way she’d never felt before.
But she also knew that she had to make him accept she wasn’t ready to move in with him yet.
Once she had prepared her afternoon forecast, Diane walked down to the studio, and on her way there she caught up with newsreader Bob in the corridor.
“You’re looking a bit brighter,” he told her.
“I’m feeling a bit sunnier,” she agreed.
After Bob finished reading the news, it was time for Diane to read the weather forecast for the coming weekend.
“It looks like we’ve got a few days of some lovely weather coming up, folks,” Diane said to the camera.
“If you’re out and about this weekend there could be some spells of calm and very pleasant weather with some bright rays of sunshine, too.
“But if we do get any rain this weekend, especially on Saturday when the sun will break through, keep a look-out for rainbows. They always appear when you least expect them.”
Saturday’s lunch date came and went and Diane was happy with the way things had gone.
She’d been firm with Ian and although she had told him she loved him, she’d made it very clear she wasn’t ready to move on to the next step, not just yet.
In return, Ian didn’t try to make her change her mind this time. He said again that he’d wait for her, for as long as it took.
“In the meantime, let’s relax and enjoy our relationship.” Diane raised her glass of red wine.
Ian raised his glass, too. “So the short-term forecast is sunny and warm, you might say?”
“Yes. And the long-term forecast looks very promising, too.” n