… with Gin and Bitters

It’s April again and the calendar shows Saturday 1st, her ‘Wedding Day.’ The ‘first’ was much discussed, due to the April fool’s tradition of course, but it was the only weekend Frank could get leave from his new posting. Anyway, as the ceremony would take place well after midday (the time when the fool would be turned on the ‘Fooler’,) they’d decided their troth could safely be plighted in the afternoon.
She remembered it all so well. How could she ever forget the day that changed her life. Every year since then, she’d get out her box of treasures. The faded lace veil, the dainty ivory silk gloves and shoes and the dried up corsage for the Groom.
“Ah, the Groom” she mumbled, the love of her life. Her whole world.
She spread all the treasures out on her tiny kitchen table and relived the whole day in her mind. There was mother helping her dress and fussing about superstitions – seeing the Groom beforehand, Black Cats, Chimney Sweeps, stepping under ladders. What a fuss, but still, she could barely conceal her own excitement too. This was it! Her big day, the happiest day of her life.
She reached across the table and topped up her glass.
“Yes, but what if …?” she muttered to herself and took a large swig.
“What if it hadn’t…” she waved vaguely at the calendar with her glass, splashing some down her arm.
“I could’ve got a First – with Distinction, …if only…” hic
“I could’ve been Senior Lecturer or even Professor by now, with published papers. Invited to give lecture tours. Discuss Literature with Booker Prize-winners on TV Arts programmes…Humph,” she sighed.
“All my friends rallied round of course. At first, that is, but then after a while they drifted off. I finally got that job teaching English at St Grubb’s Prep school for girls in the exciting outskirts of Stoke. Lost touch with most of them then really. Sometimes one of them would invite me to their wedding, but I’d always find an excuse not to go. How could I ? I bet they were quite relieved too.”
She picked up the veil and flopped it on top of her head where it dangled in front of her nose. She took an ill-judged swing at it with her glass, spilling a puddle on the table. Looking slightly affronted she stared at the pool of liquid and addressed it.
“Now and then, you know, I’d actually hear from one of them. Yes! They’d sometimes send me pictures of their precious-darling little babies… As if I’d want to see those. Don’t I have enough of screaming kids now they’ve brought in a Primary year for the Day Girls. More spoilt little out of control ‘Yuppie’ Princesses we’re supposed to mould into human beings. They wouldn’t be running wild if I’d have got the Headship when we merged with Westfield. Missed the boat again, stuck with Head of Department forever, watching my young colleagues leaping ahead and getting on. Worse still, like that Miss Winthrup who’s so popular with year six. ‘Getting married next week,’ she said, and look at that! ”
She glared at the calendar again,
“Twenty five years to the day ! Ha- ha ha ha, maybe she’ll get left at the altar,” she laughs to herself and refills her glass.
“Couldn’t happen to a nicer girl.!”

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2 Responses to … with Gin and Bitters

  1. marian philips says:

    Another gem of a character sketch! I envy your imagination which I don’t have. How do you do it…Marian

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