The Two of Us by Tracey Williams

 Josephine Vine walked into the well-lit room, the cigarette smoke dancing around the bright lights, there were a few tables scattered here and there which had seen better days. She was tall and elegant, wearing her hair in a neat bob with the most mesmerising huge brown puppy dog eyes, wearing a knee length black and white polka dot dress showing off her perfect hourglass figure complimented by black patent shoes. He knew instantly she was the one for him. 

Lawrence Cander worked in the Civil Service, his chiselled looks, black slicked back hair with piercing dark eyes that seemed to look into your soul; he was wearing his new black trousers, blue shirt and braces. 

They hit it off straight away meeting two to three times a week. Lawrence thought they may become an item, but it wasn’t to be; she only went and married boring Barry the banker, not a bad looking bloke; he had no oomph whatsoever and didn’t know what Josephine saw in him. She said nothing would change, they would carry on as before and Barry didn’t seem to mind, maybe because when they were first introduced it was “Barry, this is Lawrence, one of my best friends and my second brother.” That was the end of any romantic thoughts he had, especially as he was thinking of ways to let her know how he felt. It was his own fault for not making his move earlier. 

Time went on and though nothing did change between them he had a feeling something was going to happen, and it did. She arrived at their usual time and place, he smelt what he called her “sweet pea perfume” before he saw her, she looked as stunning as ever making his heart 

skip a beat. “Get over her you fool” he told himself “it’s not too late for you to find romance, you’re only twenty four.” 

“Lawrence before we go any further I need to let you know Barry has been relocated to a branch in London.”” London!” I shouted inside that was the other side of the world as far as he was concerned. “Obviously this means the end of this” she said waving her arm around the room. “I promise to write often and there’s no question that you will come and visit, so don’t think for one minute we will lose touch.” Lawrence knew deep down that eventually that losing touch is exactly what would happen. 

The evening passed as though it hadn’t happened. In three weeks she would move to her new life in “the smoke” as they called it. He would make the most of the time they had left together, but the three weeks went by in a flash. Time to say goodbye! They held each other close, Lawrence not wanting to let go but knew he would. She pulled away from him, wiping away small tears from her newly blushed cheeks. “Goodbye friend, don’t forget to write and do come to London we will have a real hoot.” “I will” he said turning away, he didn’t want to let her see how broken he was. 

The months passed and the promised letters were written. Hers was enthusing about London life, going out to swanky hotels, cocktail bars and visiting some of the historic sights. His telling her about Lottie who he had met at their regular haunt, but wasn’t a patch on her. 

Lottie was a bubbly buxom blonde and though pretty she didn’t have much in the brains department, he had thoughts of marrying her, but decided she would just be a bit of fun and filled those same nights he had with Josephine. Maybe he wasn’t being fair to her; he knew she felt something for him so he decided to tell her it would only ever be a bit of fun. She giggled like a small child punching him gently on the arm “don’t worry love, when I’m fed up you’ll soon know about it. Now can we get on with it?” 

Josephine’s letters stopped after a year, he always knew it would happen; her life in London was much more exciting than Durham. He carried on writing for a few more months, but no replies came “time to let her go old chap.” 

“Lawrence someone was calling out his name. Turning he came eye to eye with Charlie, Josephine’s brother; they were about the same age, Charlie was built like a brick poo house, his muscles filling his army uniform. “Hey Charlie, I see you’ve joined up then” should he ask about his sister, yes, he had to. “How’s that sister of yours, still living the high life?” The colour drained from his face “didn’t you hear?” Lawrence shook his head slowly. “She and Barry were killed in a car crash. I thought you knew.” “Why her?” he yelled inside, his life was over. Knowing he wouldn’t see her again there was no point hanging around here all it would hold is painful memories. 

“Lawrence” Charlie was shaking him “sorry no one told you, I was with my unit in France at the time and couldn’t attend her funeral. Mam and Dad were broken by her death. I’m really surprised you didn’t get to hear until now. I would have thought somebody would have let you know.” He said his goodbyes to Charlie then walked off shoulders slumped and head bent. Whether it was the heat of the moment or not Durham held sadness and pain for him now she had gone. He resigned from the Civil Service and joined up. It didn’t take long before he was sent to the front. The bombings and shooting didn’t bother him and though it was tough going, he felt invincible. While so many were losing their lives, it seemed unfair that those killed had families whilst he had none. 

Lying in the muddy trench surrounded by dead and sweaty bodies a bomb exploded nearby. It felt like it was getting colder. In the dark times he closed his eyes and thought about Josephine, only this time those thoughts were interrupted. 

He kept absolutely still as the footsteps grew louder, then stopped. They seemed softer than the normal army muddy squelching boots. Was his time up, should he turn and face whoever it was. He wasn’t scared and turned, there she was his Josephine. She held out her slender alabaster hand which he took hold of gently. Pulling her close he whispered in her ear “shall we begin my darling?” They took to the dance floor where they had danced so many times before. “Sorry,” she said “I should have realised you were the one for me, it always should have been the two of us” she said in her sultry voice gently brushing her ruby red lips against his cheek. They danced and danced like it was never going to end and it wouldn’t. Though they had not been together in the real world she had chosen him in the Spirit. 

Published in Issue #19

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