First things first. I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement. As always I must also add, that I can't leave a story alone. I could well have added some cock-ups after they have seen it and before it gets posted. This story is set many years ago
"You rotten bastard! How could you do this to me? This is all your damn fault!" The string of blasphemies coming from my wife's mouth seemed never ending. I have to look back sometime to think just how I came to be in this uncomfortable position that all too many men have found themselves in over the years.
There I was, along with thousands of other idiots, trying to force my way into the underground station during the rush hour. I'm told there are worse places in the world but London is as bad as I ever want to encounter.
I moved out of the Greater London Area years ago because the place is just too crowded for me. I like the peace and quiet of the West Country where I now live. Mind you, we can get inundated down there during the summer holidays. In the six weeks of the school summer break, I tend to stay clear of my local town.
That day I had been obliged to visit my employer's head office, something I usually avoid if at all possible. But it had been fated by the powers that be; since taking over as manager of our little plant productivity had reached heights it had never reached before. The fact that, unlike our old manager, I left folks to get on with the jobs they knew how to do instead of demanding progress reports every five minutes had not been realised by the pen pushers in head office. Hey, if those guys knew what we were doing with all those little notes they sent us, I'm sure they would have fired me.
Anyway I was forcing my way to the front of the platform when something made me look to my right. Perhaps I was looking to see if a train was coming. But what I saw was a face in the distance and for a moment my heart stopped beating. There in the distance was Sandy. Well I thought it was she. It had been ten years since I'd seen her. I tried to make my way in her direction but a train chose that moment to enter the station and all chance of closing the distance between us went out the window. I could just about see that Sandy had entered the next carriage to the one I was standing by. With the crush there was no chance I would make it to the carriage Sandy had entered so I forced my way into the nearest door.
The doors closed with not a little difficulty and then the train trundled out of the station. Crammed in against the other travellers I could only wish that one of them were Sandy.
I'd met Sandra first at my primary school. Even then she was the prettiest girl in the class. I'm not saying everybody thought so but I did. Okay, I suppose it was a school-boy crush. Sandra, as everyone used to call her back then, was the first girl I had ever got to know really. My elder brothers teased the local girls relentlessly and I was painted with same brush. Of course Sandra and I were never together in the playground at break times. Little boys who hung around with girls were soon branded as sissies. But in class we inevitably sat together and helped each other with our school work. A right pair of little goody goodies; Sandra and I were always chosen as class monitors for everything that was going on, from giving out the milk to getting out and putting away the sports equipment.
For five years through primary and junior school we were together most of the school days. Oh and we always walked home together, much to my brothers' chagrin. But in our eleventh year the big change came. During the summer that we moved on to our secondary schools Sandra's parents moved house. Not very far, but into a different catchment area. After that summer we went to different schools and it was to be about six years before I was to see her again.
I can tell you now it was a Wednesday evening. Hey, if I looked it up I could tell you the date. Pinner Fair is a one-day event held every year since some king or the other granted a decree allowing it to take place. There are quite a few towns that have one-day fairs all over England. It is a must go experience. Pinner town centre is closed off and all the paraphernalia of the fair is set up in the High Street. Big wheel, Wall of death, roundabouts, the whole damn lot is put up during the night for just one day in operation. The following morning it is all gone.
I had persuaded a quite beautiful girl to go with me. I only wish now I'd gone with my brothers. But at seventeen the old hormones were doing their thing. Anyway I was standing there, my dream date hanging on my arm, by the Wurlitzer waiting to get hung on to like grim death. You know that's why you take girls on the Wurlitzer, so the girls can pretend they're frightened and you can grab them real tight. The girl and me got in... damn I can't even remember her name now. Anyway as the bloody thing started moving, that face passed in front of me. I knew instantly who it was and I also knew that I wished I were alone. What the girl I was with thought as I twisted my head around trying to place exactly where I'd seen Sandra, I'll never know.
But let's just say I think our date took a downward turn. When the ride slowed down I finally located her. As my date and I got out, I saw Sandra get in another car with her girlfriends. To my companion's disgust we waited until the Wurlitzer stopped again and Sandra got off. There followed a strained conversation, where Sandra and I said "Hi," pretending that the attraction we felt for one another wasn't there. We tried to act like platonic old friends but I fear we didn't make a good job of it.
After Sandra had gone off with her little crowd, my date asked how long I'd been in love with Sandy, as she had became known.
"Sandy, oh she's just an old friend from my primary school days," I told her.
"Yeah, and I'm Brenda bloody Lee. Look if you want to take me to the bus stop I don't mind making my own way home. I'm not daft. I know love when I see it, even if you don't!"
Well, that girl and I searched the fair ground for the rest of the evening but we couldn't locate Sandy and her friends again in the crowd. Needless to say that was my last date with that girl, but I was forever grateful for her foresight and patience. For it was she who told me I was in love with Sandy.
Sandy and my paths weren't to cross again for another couple of years and like before Sandy had just faded to a slightly painful memory. So I had tried not to think of her too much, after my first desperate but unsuccessful attempts to track her down. Back then I wasn't the resourceful guy I am now and finding someone in a city of over six million people isn't easy. Through the phone book I'd tracked down her father. Although he wasn't the easiest guy to talk to, I learned that his wife had walked out on him for another man, year's before and had taken Sandy with her.
Over time I had managed to get the name of Sandy's step-dad out of her father. But by the time I'd tracked him down Sandy's mother had moved on again. And then by the time I'd track her mother down... she'd reverted to using her maiden name... Sandy had obviously gotten fed-up with her mother's behaviour and had left home. I thought it could be that Sandy's mother had a drinking problem, as she was as pissed as a newt when I called at her house. She claimed she didn't know where Sandy was but, in the state she was in, I should think she had problems remembering where the bloody door was.
.... There is more of this story ...