The following is a short romantic story written by the artist, as a member of a writing group called the Scribblers.
Fifteen Valentine’s Days
Fifteen Valentine’s Days
Sophie was away with the fairies again, as her Mother always used to say. She was washing up and watching the wildlife in their large, winter-worn garden through the heavily framed kitchen window.
A deer reticently appeared behind the leafless apple tree. Watchfully it grazed on the peanuts she’d just scattered for the birds. The appearance of the deer always reminded her of her first love. She couldn’t say why.
Then she would remember her last day with James. He was six and a half feet tall, with thick blond unruly hair and blue twinkly eyes. She’d loved looking into those eyes. She’d had no doubts in those days. When your fifteen you don’t, do you. He was her man, forever, and she would love him always.
When he was seventeen, his parents bought him a motorbike so he could make his own way back to boarding school after the summer holidays, and fearlessly he rode it all the way from
Fort William in Scotland, to Hertfordshire’s premier private school.
He had no fear of her parents either. Her Dad had told them to behave and that they could only meet on Saturdays, after she’d done her homework.
But James would pick her up outside her Comprehensive on Monday, and they’d bomb off
to the coast for the day. She’d be back in time for the school bus. But they were golden days, snuffed out too soon.
And this is reality, she thought, as she tied back her long, black hair. Work all morning, come home and do the housework, cook dinner for the girls and wait for her husband to return home from, well, from wherever he was that day, with his high pressure career, its low pressure salary and his volcanic temper.
He was a good man; he was a father for her girls, when he was there.
But it was Valentine’s Day, and again he hadn’t remembered. She had bought him a card and felt stupid for doing it. Perhaps she should rip it up.
James was a golden haze now, a sweet and sour memory. But she had Katrina his daughter with his golden hair and her green eyes, and that was enough.
When his parents found out what they were doing the sky had cracked open and hell’s wrath descended in the form of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes containing his tearful Mother.
They swept past her and into the manicured grounds of his private school.
Half an hour later they returned, he was sitting grimly surrounded by luggage and a fretting Mother.
They didn’t look at her, but the chauffeur nodded, then they were gone.
Sophie had been waiting for him, at those tall black gates, but she didn’t get to say good bye or tell him that she was pregnant with their child.
Their last day had been bliss. They’d biked up to Holkham on the Norfolk coast on one of those ridiculously hot days in late May. They knew the weather wouldn’t last, it would never be this lovely again, so they planned the trip the previous night while her parents were out.
He met her in the morning, outside the school gates, away from the glare of wide Comprehensive school windows. His blonde hair was blowing back in the wind as he rode towards her. He only had one helmet, and that was for her, he said. His arm muscles peeked from under his tee shirt sleeves, displaying a soft early tan and rugby bruises.
Her heart beat stronger for the sight of him. Having changed into jeans, she stowed her uniform and school bag in the box on the back and climbed onto the bike behind him. She loved the feel of his warm and strong back against her body; she sat closer to him and held on tighter than she really needed to stay on the bike. The throb of the bike’s engine beneath her thighs, the smell of his leather jacket and the wind zipping past was ecstasy, she felt like she was flying.
By the time they had arrived, the sun was overhead. The beach was deserted, and miles of pure virgin sand stretched ahead of them. They walked for hours following the line that the waves made as they caressed the sand. Getting their feet wet, feeling the sand welling up between their toes, the air flowing through their bodies, freeing their souls, was glorious.
Then they found a sheltered cove surrounded by sand dunes and pine trees and sat down on the warm sand. He wrapped his strong arms around her, his warm lips met hers and she wished they could always be there. She adored his body, all she could think of was the feel of his naked flesh against hers, her limbs ached for him.
“Not here, we can’t, someone might see. Let’s go over there, in the wood” she murmured in desperation.
“I can’t wait that long” he gestured and sniggered
“Oh James!” she laughed
“I’ll race you”. They screamed with laughter all the way there. They went quiet when they found a pretty little clearing carpeted in moss, surrounded by trailing branches of mature beech trees covered in fresh green leaves. It was a soft green blanket to make love on, she had thought, the birds were singing sweetly and she remembered seeing a deer startle and run away. They became lost in each other’s bodies, time was irrelevant, he could only give her himself and that was all and everything she wanted.
It was their last day. Their day of bliss and no one could take that away from her, or the baby they made. Though, without her parents help who knows what could have happened. She remembered her Dad bringing her morning coffee and sussing her out as she ran to the loo with morning sickness, if it hadn’t been for his kindness and understanding where would they be now.
The phone rang and Paul her highly pressured husband, said he wouldn’t be home until late. His conference was dragging on later than he’d thought.
“Don’t wait up for me sweetie, it’s going to be at least nine o’clock before it finishes and then two hours on the train”.
“Oh well, take care darling! She said.
“Love vu” She could hear laughter in the background, female laughter.
The silence that ensued was ruffled by her two hungry daughters returning from school. From the back of the house, in the kitchen, she heard them laughing as they slowly shut the front door.
“What’s this Mum?”
“Yeah, and this!”
“Oh, and this, and this, wow, someone’s been busy!”
Katrina and Emilia each picked up off the door mat, and brought into the kitchen, a handful of red envelopes, fifteen of them.
Wide eyed they watched their Mother open each card, a valentine’s card, and inside each one was written
“To My Darling Sophie,
This is for a year I have spent missing you.
All My Love, always.