Charles Junkett, a surname he hated by the way, and Samantha Prigg met on the first day of University at a ‘Freshers’ gathering where both were meant to throw caution to the wind and drink deeply from the froth-filled chalice of freedom and irresponsibility. Charles dressed in a suit and sipping carefully at his lime cordial and mineral water noticed that the girl beside him, dressed in a brown below the knee skirt and matching blouse was also supping from the same cocktail.
“Great Minds” he said to her raising his glass, and she replied, “Wished they were somewhere else”. He looked at her more seriously and replied “Don’t they just. I say, do you fancy wandering off and having a coffee somewhere else instead,” and she did not mind: so had begun a courtship which had lasted for fifteen years.
They both lived in the same suburb of the city and while he worked as a Financial Analyst she plunged into the wilder professional waters afforded by a career as a Loss Adjuster. “The recklessness of some people” she might say, and he would add, “Fools rush in” and so they might, but not into these lives. “No Sir, No way, Not on my watch,” characterised their responses to those who led a life free of planning.
They did not share a house or flat, but lived in the same street, and commuted with each other every day to offices which were also close to each other: “Ah the benefits of organisation.” At the end of the day, from Monday through to Thursday, as they reached her house, which they did first, he would say “Enjoy your evening” and she would add “That is the plan” and then, “I’ll ring you at 10pm” which was fifteen minutes before their agreed bed time.
Every week on Friday they would repair to the same Greek Restaurant, look at the same menu and order the same meal. Their unchanging toast was “To the good life” said just before their mineral water charged glasses chinked in a moment of controlled euphoria.
Even in the most ordered of lives, the subject of intimacy and its effect on order and routine might be discussed and so it was with them; a mere three years after they began spending significant amounts of time together. “There are grounds,” he said to her one Friday evening, for upgrading our kiss on the cheek to a ritual involving a meeting of lips. ”
She looked at him carefully, and considered any possible downsides involved. “I think that’s reasonable,” she said, and so their lips met for the first time at nine-thirty five at the conclusion of the evening, and just before they retired to their separate accommodations: two souls joined in the worship of order and planning.
Within two years this alteration had led to them spending Friday and Saturday nights together under one roof, and, dare we reveal it, one duvet. Rules of engagement were discussed and intimacies conducted with due notice taken of noise levels and disorder to the bed linen. Time went by and both enjoyed successful careers free of unsightly boasting or unplanned excitement.
So it might have continued until, one Friday evening, as they met in town prior to him saying, “Would you enjoy a Greek meal this evening” as if it was a new idea, he noticed that she seemed a trifle edgy. Emotional might be over stating it, but there was certainly something of the off-guard about her manner. All was revealed as they nibbled at the customary pita bread and the home-made humus, produced in a factory north of Birmingham. “I have to tell you I am expecting a child”. “How is that possible” he said and again, even with his best efforts, some emotion was evident in his demeanour.
“I suspect in the normal manner, although the indulging in a peppermint cream instead of my normal pill might have influenced things. “ “Is it mine?” he said, nervous, but sure of her answer. “Oh no” she said, “It’s a present from the heating engineer” who told me to “Get a Life”, and so I did, with him. “How do you explain this conduct?” he asked. “I think boredom might have had something to do with it”. “Ah boredom” said her long-time companion. “Difficult to deal with under all circumstances. Very nice to have met you” and with that he left and placed his house on the market before moving to the Philippines where he tried his hand at professional surfing.