Guy Williams

CLAIRE HAMILTON — CREATIVE WRITINGThe pen is mightier than the sword

From Wiltshire with Love
by Guy Williams

David was pleased with the way the morning had gone. He’d won over some clients and earned his commission. Not a bad day already and it was time for an early lunch. He was wise enough to know the only direction from a high spot was down, so no point staying on at his station.  The best choice of food always went to the early birds, and he wanted to make some of that blackcurrant cheesecake his today.
     A quick bathroom stop en route to the canteen had him catching his reflection. ‘The prime of life, seasoned yet without decay, best keep smiling and stay this way,’ he told himself.
     Tuesdays were quite good in the canteen, Mary from accounts and George from upstairs were generally there early.  Both characters were good fun.  George had a great sense of humour and Mary always liked a little banter – she also had a seriously fit friend, Leanne, who David had met once over works drinks and who should be back from the States soon.
     He’d gone for the cod and peas today, with boiled potatoes being kinder to the figure than chips.  He’d caught the cheesecake in time, as planned, paid old Janet for it all  and was just collecting his cutlery, finding a matching pair, when it happened.  He’d picked a knife with concentric swirls on the handle – not for the swirls but because the weight was right and the saw-tooth cutting edge worked for him.  Then Bang, or was it click? Actually there was no accompanying fanfare - a sudden and strangely vivid vision that had no real right or reason to be there at that moment, appeared abruptly in his consciousness.
    ‘Why on Earth’, he wondered, ‘should I experience an out-of-the-blue vision like that?’  Not that he minded too much, it was just he felt unprepared for the unannounced mental picture of an ecstatic love embrace, in an exotic location with somebody he’d almost forgotten about.  He was all geared up for, and involved in, matters banal not carnal.
     Almost indignant, my mind was on a fork not a…, he interrupted his own thoughts in order to secure his choice of seat, actually shaking his head to clear it as he crossed the canteen.  He took a seat at the table his friends would be coming along to presently and reflected upon this vision.
     He remembered her from Thailand, no Malaysia – East Coast, on the first part of his jaunt.  She hadn’t really been, what he’d call, his type.  Her name … that’d come back to him.  They’d met at a little resort, taken a boat trip together and watched turtles, huge great lumbering ancient ones and scampering whippersnappers.  He never thought he could enjoy a day without being on his phone, just looking at sea, sand and the sky and animals, but remembering that day made him smile.  It was the beauty of that day, turquoise waters, clear blue horizons behind the palms, the relaxing and unwinding and temporary escape from cares that caused them to end up in each others arms, not because he saw her as his ‘other half’ or anything like that.
     Although the erotic element had been pleasant enough, he knew at the time he wasn’t giving all of himself and had certainly not offered any hint of commitment.  They were too different.  She lived somewhere outside Swindon, in some village he’d never heard of, and only went into the city when she had to.  Meeting a woman who avoided cities was more of a culture shock for him than the vibrant street life of Southeast Asia.  He remembered being somewhat annoyed with her for switching his phone off that day, he felt she’d overstepped the mark into his domain, uninvited.  He had enjoyed their time though, and he had thought the Indian head massage and manicure she’d given him were a nice touch.  Made him feel looked after.
     Once again, today, he had this feeling of being intruded upon.  He dismissed it, of course, for only he was capable of controlling his thoughts.  She, Lucy - that’s her name, he’d dig her number out and call her, perhaps see her this weekend if it couldn’t be sooner.  She was quite sweet despite her differences from him and he’d been on his own for a while.  He didn’t have to tell anyone at work, and Leanne, who he had really been keen to spend more time with, could remain as an option for him.
     A movement distracted his thoughts as the opposite chair was pulled away from his table.  He looked up along an arm to the source of the commotion and saw a smile directed at him. Giving another little shake to clear his head, he smiled back. ‘Hi George, how was the rafting trip?’
    ‘Great, shame you couldn’t come, you’d have loved it’
    ‘Absolutely!  Hey, count me in for the next one won’t you.  Sit down! I’ve been looking forward to hearing about it.’
    He’d had a feeling if the rafting trip was good George would go on another and invite him along.  David was glad to have his thoughts taken back to London, after their earlier excursion.  He liked to stay focussed and ‘with the programme’.  He sat up to listen to some of George’s anecdotes, which ended with: ‘Sue, Vicar’s daughter that she is, cracked this really funny filthy joke but I’ll tell you that one later!’
    George nodded towards the doorway in explanation and raised his voice: ‘Hi Mary!’ 
    Mary joined them and the conversation, frequently punctuated by laughter, meandered further around George’s jaunt with its barmy locals, pubs, ales, riverside wildlife,  problems with finding and getting into tents when drunk.  Arrangements were made to check out a new wine bar that evening.  George revealed his intention to go rafting next month, the invitation came, which David readily accepted and coffee mugs were clashed together to confirm the deal.

* * * * *

At that moment in her Avebury cottage, Lucinda emerged from her trance.  Her candles were still burning at her altar and the offerings had indeed been fully burnt into the ether.  She knew the charm had been effective, but now she had to hope, and wait, and prepare a little.  Today would be a good day to clean out her bedroom, drape some fresh throws, scout around for fresh flowers and perhaps buy some more tantric yet relaxing incense.  She secured the lid on the film case containing the remaining hairs and nail clippings from David.  She knew these rituals – she much preferred to think of them as charms - were a little bit naughty, but it was all done with good intention and love.  She knew David would be glad ultimately.  ‘Love must always triumph and joy shall come of it’, she mused with a smile.  Looking outside at the bluebells radiating their happiness from the floral meadow patch (no lawn here, thank you) in her garden she let out a contented sigh, ‘the first warmth of summer, what a splendid time to start a new Love.  I expect he’ll be ringing me soon.’

home | about claire hamilton | courses | what students say | stories |books | links | TOP OF PAGE ©2008 C. Hamilton