Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not Exactly an Apology

Dear Diary, While Anne and I laughed about the obvious embarrassment written across Richard's face, deep down, I, a most sensitive creature, felt a disquiet. Was it entirely fair that we set the poor man up? Not for one moment do I think that Richard had any idea he was the victim of a silly plot by two equally silly women, but I do wonder if he is now wondering how the whole scenario acted out.

With the passing of a day I have had time to dissect the luncheon production, for it was a carefully stage-managed meal. The main proponents of the play had no idea of their starring role. As I sit, knitting laying on my lap, and Anne, her foot propped up on a pouffe and flicking pages of a magazine, it is obvious neither of us feel proud of our bit roles. What were we? It could be rightly concurred we were nothing but two old woman enjoying an incident at the expense of two innocent parties. I do feel guilty.

"Anne?" It was a tentative query. "Do you consider we were very naughty inviting Richard when we knew Hazel was coming?"

She blushed. There was no need for a reply; her look told all.

Suddenly Anne pulled herself up, picked up the telephone directory, and made a call. I listened to the one-sided conversation.

"Hello. Richard." Anne crossed her fingers behind her back as she issued another invitation. "Would you like to come over for a cuppa" There is only Alice and I here, and we have a small confession to make."

There was a silence, though I could hear a muffled reply echoing through the lines.

Anne smiled, and hanging up the receiver commented that Richard was on his way over. Dear Diary, what would happen next? I for one didn't feel that any thing much could be said to alter what had happened. Sometimes it is best to let a situation disappear with time, without further reference to it. It seems that Anne is made of different stuff than I.

There was a tap at the door; Anne made to get up, but Richard with his usual charm waltzed in, smiling a greeting and rubbing his hands together.

"I say," he said, "that was a jolly luncheon yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it!"

Dear Diary, here was this man, the one who we considered we owed an apology to admitting that what we considered a bad joke, had so enjoyed his day! I looked in surprise at Anne, who I will admit, had the grace to look dumbfounded. As Anne bustled around gathering food and drink for this little visit I was left to entertain Richard. Not quite sure what to say I began on the one safe topic we all rely on ... the weather. Richard, however, had other ideas.

"Alice, how long have you known Hazel?" he queried. "Fancy her being here yesterday! You know, I had thought her name was Hope! However could I have made such a mistake?"

At least I had a topic of conversation to speak about, and launched into a long story of how Hazel and I had known each other while schoolgirls, but hadn't kept in touch. And how it was such a surprise to meet her in a coffee shop. I almost gave the show away Dear Diary! I almost let it slip that Anne had only invited Richard and Hazel here for the same lunch as she wanted to see his reaction. I pulled myself up just in time!

Richard gushed on and on about Hazel. Surely the man realised she was spoken for?!

"Richard!" I spoke sternly. "Hazel is getting married early in the New Year. She is just waiting for a respectable time to pass since the death of her husband."

Richard stared at me. Oh no! That little snippet of information had not sunk into his consciousness at lunch. Obviously he was so wrapped up in his fantasy he had heard little of Hazel's comments. His colour heightened; he began to shake. For a moment I thought the man was going to burst into tears! As Anne handed around cups of tea and invited us to help ourselves to scones or cake, he pulled himself together.

"I have been a fool," he murmured. "I thought that a newly widowed woman would welcome the advances of an eligible man. It seems as though I read the situation entirely wrong."

Anne smiled, placed her hand on Richard's arm and replied, "We all make a fool of ourselves at some stage in life Richard. Please do not think your tiny mistake is serious. No harm was done, and no doubt you will get over what was little more than a schoolboy infatuation."

Dear Diary, I was proud of Anne. With a few short words she had made Richard feel better. What better time to begin a game of Scrabble than now? Engaging the brain in a constructive way righted what could have become an embarrassing moment.

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