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Through The Letterbox


A Letter from a Lady
by Simon Evans
Friday
Dear Squidge
I haven’t heard from you for ages – or seen you
since that ghastly wedding of Griselda’s Damian in
Hanover Square. How are you, what have you been up
to? You used to write so often.
Nothing much has changed here. I seem to be
sinking into middle age in a rather helpless way. When I
find myself contemplating dowdy dresses in Bond Street
I think of you and that sparkly look you always have, and
how the men have always headed straight for you at
parties. Not that I cringe in corners at parties myself, but
you know what I mean. And you did OK catching Charles
didn’t you? Poor Charles, do you visit him regularly still?
And if it wasn’t deliberate, what now? I won’t know
what to say to him. But we’ve been so happy, Squidge!
Later. Here’s what I did, because I had to do
something. I called his office, which I hardly ever do, and
spoke to someone called something like Carole
Rainsford, his personal assistant, who rather grandly told
me that he was in London, would be in meetings all day
in the City and then was having a business dinner with a
party of Japanese clients at the Langham, where they
were staying. I know that the person he always deals
with is a Mr. Sakimura, so I called the Langham to see if
he was staying there. And Sakimura had checked in! So
maybe James was telling the truth. Only I don’t think so.
I must tell you, because you are really my oldest
friend – all the other girls at school were so frightful,
weren’t they – I really don’t
know what James is up to.
You know he works frightfully
long hours at the business and
is always having meetings and
conferences and what have
you. That is to say, I thought
he worked frightfully long
hours.
I really, really wanted to talk to
you about this Squidge, so I
phoned your house and spoke
to someone who said she was
your assistant. I didn’t know
you had an assistant, darling,
how grand! I’ve just got Mrs.
Rajevsky who helps with the
housework, on her good days
anyway. Your assistant said
you were up in London all day
doing various things and then
she added, quite casually, “all
I can tell you is that Mrs.
Brownjohn has penciled
‘Langham’ on her calendar.”
On Tuesday, I was
tidying up some of his clothes
– you know how untidy he is,
well you don’t of course, but
he is, and I found this letter. I
couldn’t believe it. And I don’t know what to do, so I am
asking you, because I think you’re so very sensible about
men. I didn’t know where to look when you started talking
about Damian and how could he have married that awful
girl. And I think you are so right, it’s not going to last.
What a coincidence. So I’m wondering if you saw
James yesterday while you were up there. If you did
somehow run into him, could you let me know what he
was up to? Was he with anyone? Do call and let me
know, I’m paralysed with anxiety.
Anyway, all this letter said was
Darling, life is a bit difficult here at the moment, but I will
be with you on Thursday, promise. Usual place. Love
James.”
Yours fretfully,
Brandybutter.
But of course he hadn’t posted it. So is his
assignation on or off? Today is Thursday and he told me
he was going into work early and was out to dinner with
those Japanese he is always seeing, and not to wait up. I
was in an absolute fervour (or do I mean ferment?);
because of course he might have contacted her
(whoever “darling” is) some other way, by email or what-
ever. But then, why did he leave the letter for me to find?
Did he just forget, or was it deliberate? If it was deliber-
ate, what on earth am I going to do? I’d rather he just
walked out.
I write because…
I live in hopes that my literary efforts will achieve fame and for-
tune. Until then I enjoy writing, which means much more than the
physical entry of words to my computer, and reading what other
people have published. I am fortunate in having a varied and
sometimes ill spent past to provide me with subject matter.
Simon Evans
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