Friday, July 11, 2008

A Silver Lining

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud

Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

John Milton 1608-1674

Story contd.

Since I received the warm friendly letter from Jamie the cloud that had dogged my spirits for years began to lift and I felt at peace. If I never heard from Jamie again the bile flavoured memories had given way to fond recollections. I wrote to him and said it would be lovely to meet in London and gave him the shop telephone number and told him the days I would be there.

Meanwhile I had the usual frantic preparations for Christmas; the boys and my parents would be with us and I wanted it to be special now that we saw much less of them. The boys had graduated from being maddening teenagers to our most favoured and favourite visitors. Just to make life a little more hectic I decided to give a drinks party with neighbours, friends and theatre club cohorts. In the middle of the party my long lost housekeeper and her husband, who I hadn’t seen since my eldest was a baby turned up and we had a very emotional reunion.

Looking back it was almost like a farewell party although I was completely unaware at the time. William and I had talked so much about having separate establishments I felt I had better, at least, mention the possibility to my parents and to William’s brother and wife. Their reactions were interesting.

‘Well you’ve spoilt my Christmas Pat!’ said Dad.

‘Oh well William had better come and live with us.’ said Wally, William’s brother.

That’s the last thing William would have wished to do. He was not some ancient parent, but a man with an important job, many interests and hobbies, who valued his privacy and independence.

Dad - like so many people in this situation preferred the status quo to continue, regardless.

The last time I had discussed the possibility of a trial period apart William had said,

‘Once you go you’ll never come back.’

So I decided to shelve the idea for the time being.

We had a memorable Christmas. # 1 son had his girl friend who lived locally and whom I was very fond of and we played The Game where one team mimed the title of a book, film or TV programme for the other team to guess. Mum couldn’t quite grasp the idea that she should mime and cheated outrageously by whispering the missing word or syllable. Needless to say we were in hysterics much of the time.

On Christmas Day the family went for a walk before lunch whilst I kept the turkey company and wondered how Jamie was coping. What I didn’t know was that for two years before his wife died he had looked after her and the boys – been chief cook and bottle washer and held down a very demanding job.

One of my boys gave me a Stevie Wonder LP and Mum loved the song ‘Isn’t she lovely.’ It always reminds me of that last happy Christmas we all had together. After Christmas the theatre club asked me to choose and direct a play in the spring. I was hesitant after the last disaster but realised I had learned something from it and this time I would choose something a little less ambitious with a smaller, more manageable cast.

The shop was always in the doldrums in January so I was pleased one dreary day when the phone rang; it didn’t happen often because we were ex-directory – we didn’t want customers phoning all the time to see if we had sold little Johnny’s football shorts. It was Jamie. I recognised his voice and I could tell from the sound of it that he was smiling and I had a big grin on my face. He told me he would be in London on the 5th of January and could I possibly meet him for lunch.

‘Oh my goodness that’s next week.’

‘Is that alright Pat? We can make it later in the month if you like.’

‘No that’s perfect. It’s just I can’t believe I’m going to see you after all this time.’

We basked in mutual wonder and delight. That’s all I can remember.

29 comments:

Mei Del said...

the reconciliation draws ever closer .... this has been a lovely story punctuated with present life and laughter

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Ahhh, things are ci=oming along here....It is good that you had a wonderful Christmas as a family, though I found it interesting the reactions to your announcement of a possible separation....!
This is such a wonderfully romantic story, Pat...I look forward to the "meeting"...!

Eryl Shields said...

That's all you can remember, you are such a scandalous tease!

I hadn't realised that you and William had been considering separation. I must not have picked that up being so carried along with the story as a whole.

It's odd, isn't it, the things we do that in retrospect seem to mean so much more than we thought they did at the time. Somewhere in your sub - or un - conscious you probably knew a new stage in your life was coming on, and the old one coming to a close.

I feel I'm learning so much from your story. Can't wait until the meeting.

rosneath said...

ooh, this is getting exciting! I am worried, though, that the post says you posted it at 05:13! You don't stay up all night to write this, do you?
belleek

PI said...

eryl: at risk of repeating myself I often rehash events and 'who is who' for the benefit of readers who - like me, miss salient points or forget them so I'm glad you found it useful. Actually Eryl I have found writing this to be a voyage of discovery and if it never makes the printed page it will have been worth all the soul searching.

Belleek: not to worry . I like to be a day ahead so last night the post was on 'Word' ready for a last edit in the morning. I woke at 4am and noticed the set hadn't switched off properly, started fiddling and by the time it was working again I finished the post. the latest I'm in bed is just after midnight and I usually have a nap during the day and today I went back to bed till 9am. So why do I have Panda eyes?

R. Sherman said...

Ah, the good stuff begins!

(Which is not to imply the rest isn't good. Let's call it the real good happy stuff!)

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: you're right.

It's a hap hap happy day,
Toodle oodle oodle oodle ay,
The sun shines bright
And the world's alright,
It's a hap hap happy day!

Altogether now...

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I hope you mean 'that's all I can remember about the phone call' rather than 'the next 30-odd years is a complete blank' because I want another episode, in fact several please!

PI said...

Zinnia: I was just referring to the phone call. What is bugging me at the moment is that Jamie, who has never been known to throw anything away, can't remember where he filed my early letters so although I have all his to me - the other half is missing. Still I've got the most valuable half.

problemchildbride said...

After all that time apart! Oooh, I can't wait!

Were you nervous?

Roll on the 5th!

Last Girl On Earth - Deni said...

Hi Pi! It's been a while since I've been here. Looks like I have some catching up to do. Have a great weekend. Michele sent me back over and I'm glad she did!

PI said...

Sam: not really nervous; lots of different emotions - mainly happy and excited and - poor cow - concerned I should look my best.

PI said...

Hi Deni! Nice to have you visit - don't be a stranger:)

R. Sherman said...

Pat,

I'm not here via Michele but I saw you were over there a few minutes ago.

My goodness dear, what time is it in Britain? You should be snuggled up next to YTL, instead of gallivanting all over the Blogiverse.

Really.

Tsk. Tsk. (He said drumming his fingers on his desk with a stern expression on his face.)

Let's behave, shall we?

Harumph.

PI said...

Mei del: what a lovely thing to say.If ever I had book with a dust cover I couldn't wish for anything better on it.

Naomi: yes it's strange when one looks back and sees things more clearly, and it is quite therapeutic.

PI said...

Randall: and I've just been over to yours. I'm afraid it's usually midnight. MTL goes to bed much earlier and then usually wakes up just before I retire and we have a chat and a cuddle. He is a lark and I am both a lark and an owl so I have a nap during the day. Night night dear friend

SpanishGoth said...

Yikes - I thought Jamie was a cloud.

"friendly letter from Jamie the cloud"

My image of you as the 'Angel of fairy liquid' was nearly popped, but then I realised I had read it incorrectly.

*slinks off for a nice cup of tea - well, ok Jack Daniels*

Guyana-Gyal said...

Even though I know you have YTL now, I want to know how, when...as Eryl says, you're such a wicked tease, Pat!

Star said...

You ell a story well. I feel like I was there with you. Michele sent me.

PI said...

Goth: sorry but you mustn't let my lack of a comma turn you to drink:)

GG: I wasn't teasing - honest. I thought it was obvious we were going to meet. Come hell or high water. Nothing would stop me. And we did. Meet that is:) To be contd in next week's episode. D.V.

Star: Thank you and you're very welcome

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A fine story, told so well.

Michele sent me.

sablonneuse said...

Oh this is so exciting. Can't wait for the meeting. I'm willing to bet that you found yourselves talking happily as though there had been no time at all since you last met.

PI said...

Hi Jean'luc!

Sandy: I'm saying nowt:)

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Violins tuning up in the background. The next episode will be like "Now Voyager" without the fags.

PI said...

Daphne: yebbut we had the moon AND the stars:)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Heck, I didn't even remember THAT much....

PI said...

Hoss: you and MTL both:)

moon said...

Ah its so nice that u had a good last xmas... but u keep us wanting more!!! I cant wait for thenext chapter lol!!

PI said...

Moon: It will be along soon - like the number 9 bus. Unless blogger mucks me about again like today!!!!