Hi, Jack, I’m home! It’s been such a long, hot day and I’ve missed you so much. Thank goodness we have the weekend to chill together. Just give me five minutes to change into something cooler then we can take a stroll by the river. I thought we could stop at the Cutty Sark for a drink and something to eat; I really can’t be bothered to cook.
It’s glorious, isn’t it? A perfect July day, balmy with a hint of a breeze, very much like the first day we met. Do you remember? You did that impossibly irresistible thing you do with your eyes.
It should have been my first summer of love with that ridiculous Atticus Ridley. Why his parents chose to call him after an ancient Greek philosopher is a mystery. Looking back, I really think his Christian name affected him psychologically, especially at school, when his classmates nicknamed him Abacus. Even as a child he was brilliant with figures, which I suppose is why he became an accountant. Then there was his OCD problem… an obsession with cleaning. The upside of that was that I was never required to lift a finger in the housework department.
Given all his faults, his obsessions and his anxieties, I still put up with him until he went off with our dentist. She was my dentist actually, I introduced him, but I should have realised that there are only so many visits you need to have to sort out a root canal.
Who would have thought that the baby-faced Attie would turn out to be an adulterous accountant? Being unfaithful is something I have never been able to stomach, so I kicked him out. Good riddance is what I say, out of my life and into the dentist’s chair. Still, he will have excellent teeth for the rest of his life if he manages to stay faithful to the tooth-yanker.
Mind you, after what he did to me, I hope all his bloody teeth fall out. I was still coming to terms with what Attie had done when Jennie asked me over for a glass of Pimms. As I walked up the garden path to the front door, I saw you for the very first time. You were on the lawn, lying on your back with your eyes closed and chewing on a blade of grass. Not a care in the world.
Jennie came to the door and the sound of our voices disturbed you. You sat up, blinking your eyes open against the glare of the sun. ‘That’s him,’ she whispered.
I turned to look at you again and it was your eyes that grabbed my attention. The way you looked at me made my heart flutter under my ribcage. I dismissed it as indigestion, because my heart had never reacted like that before, or since when meeting someone for the first time. Jennie called over to you.
‘Jack! This is the lovely Lucy I’ve been telling you about.’
There’s no need to shout! I hissed and I gave you a ridiculously silly little wave.
You got to your feet to acknowledge my presence, still holding my gaze. I think you hypnotised me, as I allowed myself to be sucked into the deep, limpid pools of your cocoa-coloured irises. When I finally managed to avert my gaze, I went into the house and Jennie stuffed a bunch of mint into the jug with her hand, then swirled it around with a spoon, before pouring me a Pimms.
‘He could very easily be the one, he’s so adorable,’ she teased. Don’t be so ridiculous! I said forcing a belly laugh; loud enough to convince myself that I didn’t need another man in my life, not then, not ever, believing that all of the males of the species would be like Attie, not necessarily an accountant, but unfaithful.
We went back outside to drink our Pimms and somehow, without me noticing, you were there, sitting so close I could feel your warmth against my leg. Jennie smiled and raised her eyebrows. You know, an irritating, knowing sort of expression, which I returned with a slight roll of my eyes, before turning my attention to you.
You gave me that look again, your beautiful dark brown eyes, intense and staring. This time, my heart cartwheeled inside my chest, so I think I knew at that moment that you really were the one. I promised to spend time with you the following day and the rest, as they say, is history.
We’ve been through so much together since then, haven’t we? That dreadful holiday with my darling little sister in Cornwall when she spent the whole time picking fights with her ghastly ex-boyfriend. At least we managed to escape some of the tedious verbal skirmishes by going for very long walks. Thank God she lives in Australia now and we don’t have to meet up with her at all.
I find it hard to believe we are sisters, we’re not remotely alike and we have nothing in common. She was irritating as a child and is insufferable as an adult. Mummy, God rest her soul, had a little fling with Bernie Armitage whilst daddy was on secondment to the New York office. I was only six at the time, but I do remember ‘Uncle’ Bernie always being at home when I got back from school.
After daddy came home and found out that mummy was pregnant, he didn’t seem very pleased. That’s when the awful rows started. I couldn’t understand why at the time, as I thought daddy would have been pleased that mummy had another little bun in the oven, but it all makes sense to me now. Even though Daddy, unlike Attie, was never great at mental or any other kind of arithmetic, he managed to work out how many weeks had actually passed since he and my mother last, you know, did it and the figures wouldn’t have added up. So, Daddy left home because, like me, he didn’t take infidelity well… but I never forgave him for leaving me behind with my adulterous mother and my super-annoying little sister.
Last year was the worst though, wasn’t it? When both mummy and daddy died and my darling sister couldn’t be bothered to return to the UK for either funeral. ‘What the point,’ she said. ‘They’re dead. They won’t know if I’m there or not.’ She should try coping with the aftermath of death, twice, six months apart.
But you Jack, you are my rock, did I ever tell you that? Well, you are and it’s important that I should tell you. Once you and I were together, Attie was soon archived in my dim and distant past and you’ve been propping me up ever since. You’ve always been so supportive and loving, which got me through all the dark times.
So, I don’t care when you come home muddy and filthy after chasing a silly football around the rec all afternoon. You are so very different from the squeaky clean adulterous accountant Attie and I love you for that! I even put up with your, sometimes unsavoury, eating habits in front of the telly and we’ve come to know what foods cause you prolonged periods of flatulence haven’t we?
And you know why I put up with all these things, don’t you? Of course, you do! You don’t need me to tell you that I love you unconditionally, because you know, just from looking in my eyes. We only need to look at each other to know exactly how the other is feeling.
Jennie will always be my very best friend forever because she introduced us and she was right, you were and are the one. I have never felt so close to anyone in my entire life and you saved yourself just for me.
Jennie told me you were shy and hated meeting new people. The first time she ever saw you take an interest in anybody was when I walked up the garden path that evening. I am so lucky to have the handsome you sharing my life. You turn heads wherever you go, with your sleek jet-black hair, gorgeous long eyelashes, and those irresistible dark brown eyes. No longer my little Buddha-bellied baby anymore though, you’re a handsome young man now and I love you. You are my constant companion and I know you will never be unfaithful.
Oh, look! There’s Jennie now, sitting outside the Cutty Sark with your mummy. How lovely, I think she can smell you from here, she’s getting very excited, bless her.
And you know what the icing on our cake is my handsome man? My darling sister has developed an allergy to all things canine. Now off you go and say hello to your lovely mummy.