Love. Any colour, taste, or feel of it. We all love. For Valentine’s day 2018 our prompt was to write any short piece about romance or love, with the strict rule of not being cynical about it (for, in our edginess we often resort to treating it scathingly and mishandling love in our creative writing). I wanted to show that love, earnest love, could still be both happy and sad, without being cynical.
Here is a letter, written from Gerald to Bertie.
Hello Bert! Sorry that it has been such a long time since my last correspondence. Thank you for your card at Christmas; I trust you received ours. I still enjoy seeing that fat little robin on my mantle by the window, even though the spring is well upon us. It will tickle you to know that a robin often pops by to look into my room here (I have named him Bertie too, for your sake) and I am certain that he is quite enamoured of that happy little chap on the card.
Arthur told me about Margaret. The family said they would send a card with deepest sympathies, to which I am assured my name has been attached. I trust that you received that, too. I hope the children are fine and still do not mind having you around. Mind, Danny is probably too busy these days to tend to the garden, so I am sure he is glad of your help. Are your fingers still green, Bertie? You’ll be sowing those brussels soon if you’re looking to enjoy them come Christmas.
Mine still come by each week, make sure I’m not up to any trouble here. Megan’s just had her second, who to his future discredit has been named after me. I’ll send you a snap of us with my next letter, provided she wants to bring little Gerald with her when she visits. I am very excited about meeting him.
I shall say a prayer for Margaret tonight. I recall when Mary left us. It isn’t so bad, old chum, they’ll be together now. Best give them enough time to really rip into us proper before we join them, eh? Get it out their systems, you know?
Before I came here, must have been August four years ago, I ventured down the old bridle by the church. You recall it Bertie? Grown over terribly before you left the village, but they gave it a good clear out when the new equine school took over Marsh Court. I made it all the way to the knoll, if you’ll believe it.
I pictured you with Margaret, and Mary with me, and I sat right on the lick of tall fescue where we would picnic in the summer. Not a soul came by the whole afternoon. I had wrapped a cheese and pickle sandwich for my lunch (wasn’t a spot on Mary’s hampers, you’ll recall) which I enjoyed with an apple I had picked on the walk.
Through the parting willow trees one can still see as far as Staunton, you know? All this time later and they still haven’t conquered our little patch of Avalon with that sprawling metropolis you used to go on about, old boy. Seems at times that everything and nothing changes, in the tick of a clock or a turn of the globe, it is all so familiar, and so new.
I would like for us to return there some time, Bert, the four of us. Perhaps in the summertime, eh? Perhaps for Mary’s birthday, when the blue fortunes bloom.
It looks as though I am out of field to plough, old friend, so I must bid you adieu. We look forward to your reply. Give our regards to Margaret. Let me know how things are with you, eh? You can continue replying care of Arthur, who will make sure your words reach me. Sending all our love to you and yours.