I wrote a story for a competition on IdeasTap which had to be on the theme 'Heart'. It didn't win, which is kind of my thing, so I thought I'd stick it up here. Enjoy...
The Lady's Long Lost Love
“Oh, Dunstable,” she sighed, tracing a long tendril of golden chest fuzz with a coiffed fingernail, “let us make sweet love one last time before you leave on your perilous quest.”
“Enid,” he responded dramatically, “my dear sweet Enid, I cannot. You know I am an advocate of the moral high ground, and thus I must refuse to ravish your milky white bosoms, your tender kneecaps or your softly undulating clavicle until you consent to be my wife once and for all.”
She felt dizzy at the sternness of this ultimatum, even though she had heard it a hundred times before.
“You know I can never be your wife,” she wept, large salty tears rolling down her ample cheeks and glistening like rainbow crystals of cubic zirconia, “I vowed to my sweetheart I should never wed another, though he has long been lost and probably buried at sea.”
Dunstable frowned, his ordinarily perky moustache drooping like a sad horseshoe.
“You think he might still be alive?”
“They never recovered the body,” she whispered, her eyes aglaze with moisture as the magic of hindsight transported her back to the night of that fateful promise, and a man who was never coming back to her.
Enid pulled her pink fleecy negligee closer, shoulders shoogly at the memory of the day she received word he was missing. It had been so long – almost eighteen months – she had nearly forgotten the particulars of his freckly aspect. Of course at the time she had been plunged into black despair but then, little by little, days had begun to get brighter, until she fell headlong into Dunstable’s dependable embrace.
Dunstable knew she was riding the horns of a most furious dilemma, for whilst she truly loved him she could not break her promise to the brave childhood sweetheart who would always hold a place in her heart, just down from the aorta.
“I’m sorry my love,” he told her, full of regret, “I should not have asked you again. It was totes inapropes.”
“No,” she said with a weak smile, “it’s only natural you should feel this way. I know how men love weddings and commitment.”
“I do dream about the smell of ruffles and the flash of sweet pea in my bouquet most every night,” he agreed, “but as long as you are in my arms, I am content.”
He moved to embrace her once again, when all at once the door was thrown completely open.
“Not so fast,” said a booming voice the colour of coffee.
“Who are you?” Enid asked, even though she already knew.
“It is I, Johnny Sailorington, your long lost sweetheart!”
The owner of the voice stepped into the room. Dunstable and Enid stared at him in dismay and wonderment. The long lost Sailorington cut a dashing figure in his baseball cap and floral cravat, but gosh darn it why could he not have remained lost at sea? Now everything was quite ruined.
“Oh Johnny, where have you been all this time?” Enid asked, moving towards her erstwhile sweetheart as though propelled by a force akin to gravity, only it radiated sideways out of his belt rather than up from the ground. “I felt sure you must be dead and buried at sea, and as you know the psychic intuition of a lady is rarely wrong.”
Johnny Sailorington sighed, a deep and manly sound, and paced to the window to look out over the grey ocean. Unfortunately the sea was on the other side of the building, so he had to content himself with staring at a supermarket car park.
“Your feminine intuition was not actually far wrong,” he confessed, gazing heroically at a paper bag fluttering across the concrete outside. Crumbs of pastry scattered artistically from a hole in the side like some kind of metaphor, which all three silently agreed was oddly beautiful.
“After I went to make my fortune as a ship’s makeup artist, our vessel was captured by fierce environmental campaigners. They mistakenly thought we were evil scientists bent on creating a new strain of über tuna using bits of old whale, rather than the honest and upstanding members of the music industry we truly were.”
“So that is why there were news reports claiming the latest Pop Factor tour was a lot more highbrow than previous years,” Enid murmured.
“Indeed. The evil scientists went in our place, and forced everyone to carry out practical chemistry experiments in front of a pyrotechnic display instead of dancing and singing songs.”
“Yes. Meanwhile the environmental campaigners locked us in a metal storage container. When we finally escaped, we found all our singers had applied to go to university to learn more about science.”
“It must have been a terrible blow,” Dunstable said sympathetically.
“A little part of my soul died that day,” Johnny Sailorington confirmed. “The only thing that kept me going was the thought of returning home to my one true love – ” His voice caught on the back of his throat – “but I see now she is false. Oh, sweet Emily, how could you wrong me so?”
“I’m not Emily,” said Enid, “I’m Enid.”
Johnny Sailorington stopped staring at the car park and took her face in his hands.
“Enid?” he said. Then, “oh, I remember you from the Christmas party! You used to step out with Johnny Taylorington from Accounts. I’m sorry for your loss.”
“My loss?” she wobbled, face filling with tears again.
“Why yes,” said Johnny Sailorington, “haven’t you heard? He married the captain of the green lot and absconded to live in a Cornish commune. Terrible business. Anyway, if you don’t mind, I’ll be off to find my Emily.”
The lovers watched him leave, a great weight lifting from their shoulders.
“Enid,” Dunstable said, “dear, sweet Enid. Now will you consent to be my bride?”
She smiled at him and took his hand in hers.
“Dunstable,” she whispered in a voice thick with love, “I think I will.”