It took about another forty five minutes to get to the A1. The truck pulled over into a service station and I stopped behind it to say my goodbyes once again. This time I thought I was going to cry. It had been a very full day already, almost ending badly, but thanks to some old lady I had never met, my guardian angel and the British Army, everything turned out alright. I really had some powers on my side today. I got out of the car and thanked Corporal Whitesmith and the truck driver for their help. Sgt Davies appeared from nowhere and gave me a hug, before yelling orders to anything around him that moved (and a few things that didn’t). Steven looked at me and laughed, “Welcome to my World” he said. We hugged again, to the sound of wolf whistles from passing soldiers. It looked like an army invasion at the service station as the combat clad group all ran to use the toilet and buy magazines etc. It was still snowing, but not so badly now. Steven helped me knock the thick layer of snow from my headlights which were currently almost useless. As everyone started getting to their trucks and doors were slamming we shared another friendly kiss and then we parted ways for the last time. Maybe we would meet again (don’t know where don’t know when), who knew?
I watched all of the trucks pull away, feeling quite emotional about my whole situation. When the last of the army trucks pulled away I got out of my car and went across to the service station to use the toilets and buy some drinks and snacks for the rest of my journey. It had taken me longer to get to the A1, than my original journey to Thetford yesterday. Was that only yesterday? Wow, a lot had happened in two days. The snow had slowed things down, but on the other hand, I had seen Steven again. I almost felt protective towards him, he was so strong, and smart, but so vulnerable too. People in the early seventies weren’t so kind or forgiving to people they didn’t understand.
I could see the cars speeding along the over pass, which was the A1, so after filling up with petrol, I set off for the last part of my journey. I had only been on the motorway for about fifteen minutes when the snow stopped, and the further north I got, the less snow there was. It seems like it was one of those isolated storms, for which I was greatly relieved. The drive home was extremely easy. No more snow, motorway all of the way, I went into a semi trance like state, the way you do on long journeys and re-lived the weekend. I had set off to meet up with a ‘pen pal’ who turned out to be gay, but very nice. I drank lots of champagne. I sort of got engaged, well I suppose technically I was engaged. I met the ghost/spirit of someone’s grandma, well I didn’t actually see her, just felt her and heard her, in my head at least. I stayed in a really nice old Inn, which I had actually seen several times on the television. All in all, it was a good weekend. A little over three hours later I arrived at Gatherly round a bout, which meant my motorway journey was over and I was almost home. A good thing too because it was starting to get dark and I didn’t have much petrol left, and no money to buy more. Credit cards weren’t used back in those days, well not by people like me anyway. Ten minutes from home, what a relief, I was tired. Too much champagne the night before too. I didn’t have a hangover, but I was pretty thirsty. As I pulled up outside our house I saw my mum looking out of the window, she was obviously a little worried about me. My brothers Ford Capri was parked outside too. My brother liked his cars, and the Ford Capri was pretty special, although he said he was going to change it soon. I liked it a lot and wished I could afford to buy it from him. It was gold with a black vinyl roof. I walked around to the back door with my little bag and my Bobby opened it before I got there. He was surprisingly pleased to see me, usually he wasn’t too bothered about me at all. “You did a good job driving in that snow” he told me “We saw it on the television, it was awful, good job Sheila” he said, then he put his coat on and left. I was touched!
My mum, as always, put the kettle on. “We ate at lunch time, do you want a lamb sandwich?” she asked “Oh yes please, I would love one, any mint sauce?” I replied. My mum busied about making me something to eat and my dad came in and sat in the kitchen and had a cup of tea with me while I ate. “So how was your trip to see your pen pal? Did you hit it off, is he your boyfriend now? Wait a minute are you engaged?” I forgot about the ring! I was caught completely off guard. I couldn’t really tell him I had spent the weekend with a gay man, neither my mum or dad would really understand that, I actually started laughing. My dad looked at me puzzled. “No Dad, I am not engaged, this is Steven’s Grandma’s ring, I am wearing it because he wanted me to. We had dinner with his Sergeant and Steven is trying to impress him because he is due for a promotion. His Sergeant thinks family men do better in the army so we pretended to be engaged for the evening, and I just forgot to give the ring back” My dad took a closer look at it. I don’t think he really believed my story. He probably though I wore it so we could get away with pretending to be engaged so we could have a ‘dirty weekend’. He gave me one of those disapproving looks. “Nice ring though” He said. “Did you hit it off with the young man? Do you think you will get together again?” My mum had just put a cup of tea in front of me and a big doorstep of a lamb sandwich. Between bites of my sandwich and slurps of tea, I told him we got along OK, but Steven was very career oriented and probably didn’t have much time to think about girlfriends right now, but we would continue to write. My dad seemed satisfied.
We sat and chatted a while longer, idle chat about what was happening with the woman down the road, who had lost their cat, village scandal etc. and then I told them I was really tired, which wasn’t a lie. It was only about eight o clock, but I went to my room. I unpacked my case and to my surprise and pleasure, I found a bottle of champagne with a rose lying next to it. The rose was a little worse for wear, but what a lovely thought. Steven must have slipped them in there, what a shame he was gay. I put the champagne in the fridge, to keep for a special occasion, and pressed the rose in one of my big books. It was the first time anyone had ever given me a flower so I wanted to keep it forever. The very first rose, who knew, it may be the last one.
I got washed and ready for bed, but before going to sleep, I sat propped up with cushions and started writing a letter.
Thanks for a great weekend, it wasn’t quite what I expected, but I really had a good time. I hope we are friends forever. I hope you feel comfortable enough to confide in me and let me help you in any way I can. You are a great person, and have a lot of obstacles to overcome, I know you can do it. I hope you made it back to Germany safely.
Take Care and Keep Writing!
Your very good friend (and fiancée)
The letter seemed inadequate, but I had to write something, I really did want to meet up with Steven again. He was gay and I was odd! It made a good combination! Us against the world! I yawned, maybe I was tired. I put the letter in an airmail envelope and addressed it, ready to post the following day. I dropped it on the floor next to my bed and settled down to sleep. Before sleep took over, I once again saw a light, a soft light by my bed. There was no shape and no sound this time. Just a gentle comforting glow! I think I may have attracted another visitor, but I had a feeling she was friendly. Comforted by this thought, I slept.
IS THIS THE END?