A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Ricky writes to Taylor


The letter, when it arrived, was most unexpected.

Old chum, read Taylor as he held the single sheet of paper in one hand and an accompanying invitation card in the other, this might come as a bit of a shock to you but I’m getting married to a bird I met at school and who’s as bright as a button as well as pretty as a picture, and I worship her! Amelia, she’s called, and it wasn’t until we left school that I started going out with her seriously. Do you remember her? She was in our year. Anyway, the reason I’m writing and not just sending you an invite is because I need a best man and you’ve always been a good mate. The details are on the invite and I’d be heartbroken if you turned me down! Bring a lass of your own if you’re currently in a twosome, and if you’re not bring that old photo you drool over! Sincerely, Ricky.

Goodness gracious,” he muttered to himself.

He did remember Amelia, rather vaguely. She was a studious kind of girl, pretty in her own way though he’d never seen her wearing in anything as enticing as the outfits some of the girls dressed in these days. Exposing as much leg as was decently possible seemed to have become the order of the day and he remembered some of the rather drab dresses and skirts she’d been seen in, contrary to current trends.

You secretive old sod,” he mumbled, still to himself, and he examined the invitation card.

He’d be easily available. The wedding was to be in August and back in his home town of Brumpton, where he’d be for the duration of the college summer break. He’d already got himself a holiday job, working on the forecourt of a petrol station just a spit away from home and his mum, and as the job was an evening one he’d easily be able to attend a wedding in the early afternoon.

There was a phone number with the letter-head. Even though more and more people were getting connected to the phone network, it was by no means a universal thing yet. His mum, for instance, didn’t have a phone and as far as he was concerned was unlikely to ever have one. But Ricky came from a slightly more up-market end of town and there was more than a modest amount of money somewhere, rattling around in his family.

He waited until that evening before he rang the number from the one and only public phone in college. It was in an area where anything said would be easily overheard, there not being much in the way of privacy when the passageway it was in was crowded, as it often was during the daytime. Evening seemed the best option to Taylor.

It was Ricky who answered the phone.

I didn’t know you had one of these modern contraptions,” he began after initial greetings were over, “or I might have rung sooner,” he added.

Dad had it installed,” said Ricky, “did you get my letter?”

It’s how I got your number,” he replied.

Of course! So what do you make of my news?” asked Ricky nervously.

You’re a dark horse, and no mistake, but good on you!” chortled Taylor, “I remember Amelia all right. Not that I ever had much to do with her. I guess I was out of her league.”

You were too obsessed by your tennis girl to take much notice of the here and now of the real world,” Ricky told him, almost sharply. “Well, can you do it? Be my best man? It’s a few weeks off still, so you’ve time to make plans.”

Of course I can, Ricky,” he replied, “and will it be all right if I bring a girl with me? And by a girl I don’t mean a photograph of one!”

Ah, so you’ve got a bird too?” He could picture the grin on Ricky’s face as he spoke.

There are plenty around,” he replied airily, “most of them raring to go,” he added for no reason.

You mucky pup!”

Hey, I didn’t mean they were all raring to go with me or me with them! Look, Ricky, I rang to say of course I’ll be your best man. I’ll be back in July and you cam give me my instructions then.”

That’s good on you. I knew you were a friend.”

Even after that first camping debacle?”

Even after that! I’ll tell Amelia that it’s settled. She’ll be pleased it’s you.”

Does she remember me?”

She said so.”

I must made more of an impression than I realised at the time! Look, Ricky, there’s a queue forming for this phone. I’ll ring you again some time.”

Or I could ring you.”

I wouldn’t bother, mate. There’s only this one phone and my room’s half a mile away from it.”

By the by before I do, Taylor. That photo you moon about. You know, the girl on the field that time … I saw her yesterday.”

You did? The girl? Angela?”

The very same!”

Where, for goodness’ sake? I’ve been wondering about her for years now.”

I was watching telly. Highlights of a tennis competition, I think it was. She was in it. I know it was her. Once seen and not forgotten. Yes, it was her all right.”

And the conversation was over as the line went dead. Taylor rattled the instrument, but to no avail. His money had run out and he had no more change.

Just behind him a girl grumbled “about time too,” and he walked away, back to his room, wondering if Ricky had been right and the girl in his picture had gone on to play tennis at the sort of level that involved television exposure.

She’d been gone from his world, like a dream in the night, but maybe, hopefully, it was getting towards dawn...

© Peter Rogerson 14.08.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on August 14, 2019
Last Updated on August 14, 2019
Tags: wedding, best man, photograph, tennis


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..