My hand froze in place on its way up to the knocker, the siren song of the brass drawing me in. I had to do it, I just had to get it off my chest. It had taken me weeks to track her down, going through her sister, her mum and her old saxophone teacher to get to her.
16 Phantasm Place. I’d been parked outside for an hour, listening to the wind in the trees. I knew she was in, I could see the lights going on and off as she moved to the various rooms. I could imagine her now, her red hair flowing out behind her as she fussed her way through dinner.
Still, I was here now. I had to do this, or I’d never be able to live with myself.I grabbed it off the passenger seat, then got out into the night. Eventually, I got to the door I felt the brass, chill in the evening air, and hit it against the door three times.
She answered. After all these years, she doesn’t look any different, flowing red hair and legs up to her breasts. “Charles?”
“Hi Gemma. Look, I’ve been doing some thinking…” That was as far as I got.
“You can’t be here.” She looked around furtively, shouting something into the house, before slipping through the door onto the porch. She was radiant. An English rose, as ever. “Look, Charles, we broke up a long time ago.”
“I know. I just wanted…”
“Charles,” she said, reaching towards my face with her left hand. A gold wedding band gleaming in the soft glow from the porch light, “I’m married now. You can’t be here, not here on my porch!” Her fingers, still as soft as when she left, stroked my cheek. “You haven’t changed, have you? I waited for you, I thought you’d come after me and then you didn’t. I actually bothered to move on and you didn’t come for me.”
“Yeah well, you thought wrong.” She flicked her hair back, what she always did when she was pissed off with me. “Now, my husband is waiting for me in there. We’re about to sit down, share a couple of glasses of wine then go to bed. And I…” She choked. “I will be thinking about you the entire time, you bastard.”
“Look, Gemma, I’m…”
“No. I have waited such a long time for you to sweep me off my feet and now you’re actually here and I finally get to tell you…” She paused, looking ruefully at the house behind her, before carrying on. “I get to tell you no.”
With that parting shot, she turned and went back into the house, leaving me stood on the front step looking like an idiot. I couldn’t believe she’d done that.
Clearly she didn’t want her signed Michael Jackson CD back.
The Idiot in Tin Foil