Things were going really well with Ginger.
I had met her parents and visited the family home, staying in her bed, while she slept downstairs (they were a good Catholic family).
I had been her date at a physiotherapy ball. I had worn a borrowed tuxedo; she had worn a long silk skirt and a tight eye-popping bodice. I had taken her for a romantic meal and she had thanked me on my parents’ sofa, as my little brother and his mates watched TV in next room.
She told me her fantasy involved danger and potential of getting caught. A double-decker bus was mentioned. There was something in this oppressed Catholic schoolgirl thing.
She was on a placement in a rural hospital for a few weeks and wanted me to visit. I finished work early and drove for 90 minutes, stopping to buy a packet of three at a service station.
I was welcomed with a breathless hello and pulled into her dormitory. We ravaged each other late into the night. I was working the next morning, 90 minutes away. I was woken when I rolled over in my sleep, mouth open and started choking on a long tress of ginger hair I had inadvertently swallowed.
I was invited to the end of placement party back in the city.
All the other physiotherapists met in a club and danced until the early hours. There was a party at Ginger’s house afterwards. She grabbed my hand and rushed ahead of the others, pulling me into a bus stop and kissing me passionately. The party got underway and we slipped upstairs. She was insatiable.
Things were working out well.
I had it on tap during the week and had the weekend with my mates. I called round one Thursday evening. I knocked on the door and was invited in.
There was a strange vibe. Normally, all the girls were downstairs watching television, chatting and offering tea. This night it was deathly silent.
I was told to go upstairs to Ginger’s room. I remember it like yesterday.
She gave me a cold peck on the cheek and thrust a couple of pages of pink writing paper into my hand. I asked what it was. She squirmed and told me just to read it.
The paper was thin with feint ruled lines and blotted with blue inky scribbles. Entire sections were scored out. A loud ringing filled my ears and my head started swimming. I knew something was up.
I stammered and struggled to read the pages. I remember one of the early lines said something about me only being interested in sex and she was willing and able. I was very confused.
I think I left without speaking, almost floating down the narrow staircase and silently out the door. The car seat was still warm. The only noise was the clicking of the street light warming up.
I didn’t want to appear dramatic. I watched upstairs for twitching curtains, as I put my key in the ignition.
I drove round the corner parked and re-read the pink paper.
Some of the pages were dog-eared and there was a feint brown ring of tea on one page. This tome had clearly been a work in progress over a few autumnal days and tortured nights.
We briefly got back together, mainly for sex, then she dumped me by phone, saying it didn’t make sense as she was moving away. The last I heard, she was practicing rehabilitative physiotherapy and teaching interpretive dance.
She walked past me at a service station a year later.
She got out of a beaten up estate car. Her hair was tied into a loose pony tail. She had put on a lot of weight. She turned back to the car, looking straight through me and asked if the occupants wanted anything from the shop. There was an older guy in the passenger seat with an unkempt beard and an ill-fitting jumper. He had the air of a musician about him.
I went to say hello, but nothing came out.