Friday, August 01, 2008

Monday 25th December 1939

I expect you’ll be out with some other girl when you go home on leave” said Eileen, sitting opposite me beside the fire. This irritated me. “Oh yes,” I said, “I shall go back to her…” “What is she like?” asked Eileen with apparent bored interest.
Stupidly, I enlarged, creating an imaginary girl who was just the opposite of my Eileen. Tall, deep-voiced, dark-haired… Very passionate too and never secretive or mysterious (this provocatively).

All the time she sat there, asking further idle questions. “What’s her name?” she said at last. “Oh, Antithesis!” I said, beginning the revelation. Too late! She didn’t hear or didn’t understand; she hurried out of the room. Her sister came in. “Eileen’s cross with me,” I said and explained what had happened. So I followed Eileen into the kitchen; but at once she casually, face averted, walked out.
“Oh dear,” said her sister a few minutes later, “She’s in Mothers bedroom playing the piano and nearly crying”. “Oh my God!” I said in agitation. “Can’t you get her out here somehow”.

A few minutes later, having been told that the kettle was boiling, Eileen walked into the kitchen with stately calmness. I took her quickly in my arms and said, “My dear, it was only make-believe”. Sudden breakdown of serenity! She sobbed, pounded me with her little hands, cried “I hate you! I hate you!” Ye gods, I was in a state! The kettle continued to boil unattended, for some time.

After tea, when we were alone, Eileen sat on my knees suddenly, put her arms around my neck, snuggled close to me and whispered, “Am I really cold, Ste-ven?” Before I left though we were both laughing about my girl friend, good old “Anti”!


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