The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 17…A Letter At Breakfast

‘Good morning my child’ Edward’s voice peeled out from the breakfast table like a well rehearsed chant – he called her ‘My Child’ when it suited him, just as a holy man might address someone of a devoted calling. It was… as if he took pleasure from it, almost to a point of some misguided derision. He would then slump back to a grown form of withdrawn discipline. He lifted himself up as she sat down and watched her inventively from his small round eyes.

‘Why don’t you shop in Bayswater? You’ve not been there for a long time have you.’ The question was odd and ill timed. Suddenly, Esme was wide awake.

‘What!’ Was the best she could manage.

‘I can phone your mother…You can go together’. He studied her carefully. ‘You could call on old friends!’ he added.

‘I don’t have friends in Bayswater, young or old. Neither does mother.’ Her voice now firm and she was almost sure that he knew nothing. A wild guess, perhaps some tattle from Rose, and besides what did Charles matter now, it was in the past. Her running blood slowed and cooled, in fact, he was no-one to her now. She jaggered a sufficing yawn and was silently handed a plate of toast from the outstretched arm of Rose.

‘Really, my dear, you must try and get a good night’s sleep.’ A stout glow of his eyes had a sacrificial bloating stare to them. ‘There is a letter for you.’ he announced. He passed a small white envelope across the table to her. ‘It didn’t take the liberty of opening it for you.’ he said with an added sarcastic grin.

Her delicate fingers ran along its issuing edge that gave way to a small piece of folded notepaper. It was headed with a simple rubber stamping, much too over-inked for the thinness of the paper and with a crude elevation it announced a brief communication from the superlative Mr. Marks… Quiet relish trouped inside her head. It had been a lifetime away. The moment passed into pleasure and her thoughts began to sing. With a little shaking haste she read on:

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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