This for this week’s Cake.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-in. Visit the site for the prompts.
The door shuts with a resounding and final slam behind Lizzie as she storms out. I sit here in my pyjamas seated at my desk with our favourite melody running through my head, “My baby whispers in my ear/mmmmm, sweet nuthin’s/she knows the things I like to hear…,” and I think to myself, ”Well, that certainly wasn’t what she wanted to hear, oh no”.
It all went pear-shaped when I addressed a little billet-doux, a love letter, a confession of a certain passion to Melanie Thomas. The same Melanie Thomas who went to school with Lizzie and was head girl to Lizzie’s being nothing at all, and who was, indeed still is, even to the most myopic of men, quite a stunner in comparison to Lizzie who I have to admit is not at all unhandsome.
Yeah, I did it. I couldn’t deny it, can’t deny it. The note was in my handwriting. My distinct no-nonsense, sensible, no swoops or swirls handwriting. Written in purple ink. Ink from the large pot that Lizzie gave me only eighteen months ago shortly after she moved in (“This’ll bring you luck with that novel”, she said as she unpacked her suitcase and started making herself at home) and which was the only colour ink I’ve subsequently used. I hadn’t signed it of course. That would’ve been silly.
After all, Melanie Thomas, now Melanie Ferguson, is married. Married to a football player, a successful football player, who demonstrates all the aggression and will to win and stay winning that you would expect from someone of his ilk. Nobody would want Mr Ferguson to learn that they had written sweet words of love to Mrs Ferguson, signed or unsigned, ink purple, black, or blue. So it was unsigned.
Indeed, I hadn’t meant to post it through her letterbox. I was really simply scratching a long-standing minor itch, an itch that had been with me for the past twelve years, since Melanie Thomas had, as captain of the school’s team walked up to the judges’ table in that shiny one-piece diamond-back black swimming costume to collect the trophy for winning the 100 metres breaststroke in the inter-school gala competition in front of a sell-out crowd which included, and who would have given this any thought at the time, half a dozen juniors from the local football team, at that time still in the second division but experiencing an upward trajectory which took the them to where they are today.
But post it I did. I’m not sure why. I hadn’t planned to. It hadn’t been my intention. But I did it. And when I thought about it immediately afterwards it didn’t bother me too much. After all, it was unsigned. There was nothing that could point to me as being the amorous author, the covert quill-driver, the secret scrivener. I was safe.
I was safe and the itch had gone away. Just like that. Melanie Thomas, Melanie Ferguson – who cared? It was Lizzie who was the one for me, the true one, the only one. And so I popped the question. And she said, “Yes please, I’d love to. Let’s do it soon.” And my cup overflowed.
And so all was well. Until yesterday when Lizzie and I were at the printers finalizing the design and wording of the wedding stationery and in walked Mr and Mrs Ferguson who were there to talk about the invitations to the charity ball that Melanie Ferguson (nee Thomas) organizes each year, when eagle-eyed Mr Ferguson noted the purple-stained forefinger on my left hand and having established that I am left-handed and that I’m a writer who uses not a computer but traditional pen and ink for my initial drafts, hauls out my billet-doux (addressed to Melanie, mind, not him) and enquires, “Be you the author of this?”
I’m delighted to be able to say that I am, when the need arises, one of the most convincing liars I know of, and despite some residual doubt, both Mr and Mrs F seemed to be reassured that I was not “the bastard who needs a bloody good thrashing” they were seeking and so all was well.
Until we got home and Lizzie gave me a beady eye. “Your handwriting, your ink”, she said. She had me there. Nothing I could say. I tried to explain. I told her I loved her. I whispered sweet nuthin’s in her ear. Said the things she wants to hear.
This morning she found the note I had written to Cynthia Parsons (nee Brewer) who was one year behind Lizzie at school and who, two years after leaving school, had won the national junior lindy hop competition at Earls Court. And I said, “But she’s just an itch, just another itch.” Not what she wanted to hear.
So now she’s gone. And I’m a loser. A real loser. And sore with it.