Monday, June 19, 2006

AFTER THE BALL

Story contd.



“The past is a different country, they do things differently there”

L P Hartley

‘Will you marry me Pat?’ Andrew repeated.

I tried to pull myself together. I just hadn’t seen this coming. Part of me was amazed and thrilled that someone as gorgeous as Andrew would want to spend the rest of his life with me – that’s what marriage meant to most of us – but part of me wished he hadn’t chosen this particular time. This was our 23rd date since we met in January. We had talked endlessly about our feelings, agreeing that we were physically drawn to each other; Andrew had said he thought he was in love with me but didn’t understand me. That made two of us.

For my part I loved being with him – it was all very light –hearted. Sometimes I found him unreliable when he said he would phone at a particular time and then didn’t and the letter he promised didn’t arrive but I had learnt to accept it as part of his persona. I had thought we were both content to let our relationship develop organically and just enjoy the ride.

“Andrew I have to finish my training – it’s another two years.’

I felt passionately about this. I had been shocked when Maddie, who was gifted both academically and artistically and had won a place at the most prestigious Art School, had packed it all in to marry Paul.

‘I understand – I want you to finish your training. We don’t have to get married right away – say about Christmas but I need to know before I go on leave “ I gasped – that was a week away “or at any rate before you go on holiday.”

Was that what this was all about - my climbing holiday with Ginny, Jamie and Jamie’s friend Alec? I had been open about this from the start and recently he had asked if he ought to be worried about it and I said no. Now I was getting worried. Only this week I had had a letter from Jamie with our itinerary and he had booked all the hostels for the four of us.

I can’t help thinking that in today’s climate I would possibly by now have slept with one of them or both of them and things might have been clearer and certainly a lot less tense.

My head whirled, the idea of combining marriage with the concentrated mental and physical training we were undergoing was beyond my ken. Somehow I had to convince him but at this moment Mary and Bill returned to the car and we set off again.

“You’ll have to guide me Pat” Bill shouted.

We drove on – my mind racing round and round and my lips returning Andrew’s kisses.

“For God’s sake you two! Concentrate!”

Somehow we had ended up on Victoria Station.

It was very late by the time we reached the Millers and I was thankful I had a key. We said a hasty goodbye – Andrew promising to phone the next day and I crept up to my room.

The lovely thing about staying with the Millers was being wakened by the children in the morning; three little faces would peep round the door -

“Can we come in Pat?”

-and they would leap on the bed and I would make up stories. No time for that this morning; it was all hands to the pump to prepare for the party. It was a beautiful day and soon the garden was swarming with adults and their children and there wasn’t a moment to think about anything.

After the last guests had left and the children were in bed. Hector poured us all a drink and Maria asked me about the dance. I told them about the fun bits but waited until Maria and I were alone to tell her about Andrew’s proposal. She sensed I was in a bit of turmoil and said she and Hector were going to drive me home on my first night off so I could chat to Mum. I realised that was just what I needed and gave her a grateful hug.

By the time I got back to hospital I was very tired. Mum rang and it was lovely to hear her voice. I told her the Millers were bringing me over next week. Andrew – true to his word, had phoned twice and got me the third time. He was very sweet and understanding and we arranged to meet during the week. Then I had to get down to copying up lectures.

When Andrew and I met I was late and we were both a bit down. We went to see ‘The Kissing Bandit’ which was execrable and we couldn’t talk so abandoned it and discussed the situation. He said he had to know before my holiday but finally agreed that I couldn’t just say yes or no. He wanted me to continue my career and I couldn’t visualise doing both. Somehow we found ourselves talking about furniture and laughed with relief that we had got back our light-heartedness. We laughed even more when Andrew mentioned he was Roman Catholic. Remembering how Dad had reacted when he found Gran and me walking back from her church I had a ‘West Side Story’ moment. I told him to have a great leave and not to think about our problems.

“Like hell!” he said.

11 comments:

Anna Maria Esperanza said...

Sounds like such a hard decision. Because I suppose you had to give a definitive yes or no? And "no" would be "no" all the way, so you'd lose him. The agony of choice ... If I've learned anything though it's that if you're not sure, the answer's most likely no.

PI said...

Mike, who should have remained anonymous over at Hoss' post ...You are correct of course, I should have left well enough alone.

Wow, that's a heavy situation to be in. If you two really love each other, it will work out. I don't think anyone should change their career paths for marriage.

Good luck in what ever decisions you two make.
Mike

Mike: sorry I lost your comment and had to copy it. Thanks for your wishes I agree with you.

Anna Maria: I have to admit - I think you are right.

FOUR DINNERS said...

Yer could have said "Possibly". Men are dopey n that'd've kept him quiet for a bit 'til yer decided what to do. It's like reading a good book this. I keep wanting to turn over the page but I can't 'til yer write the next bit. Hurry up!!

R. Sherman said...

You know when to end the entries, to keep us coming back. Is the sword fight in the next bit? :)

Cheers.

PI said...

4d: men dopey? I couldn't possibly comment. Glad you're hooked.(Nag, nag nag!)

Randall: I could tell you - but then I'd have to kill you.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well, I would say you are doing just grand, Pat. Fascinating story; am eagerly awaiting more.

PI said...

Thanks Hoss - I'm a lucky girl!

fjl said...

So is the future? ( a different country) Keep hoping x

PI said...

Only time will tell Felicity.

Guyana-Gyal said...

4 Dinners' comment cracked me up, Yer could have said "Possibly."

Everytime I read your blog I feel as I'm immersed in one of those delicious black 'n' white movies.

PI said...

GG: I was trying to think of a couple of actors who could play the boys but no-one measures up.
Yes 4d is a card.