One More Card... And Bust

It should have been the proudest moment of my life. Indeed, it was until... Even now I still can't figure out what made me do it. How could I have been so stupid as to risk losing the friendship I cared for most in the world by trying what I surely knew to be impossible.

It was the 21st September, the grand opening of the new espace loisirs. As a committee we had decided to organise a big village fête to coincide with the opening. Sports, games, demonstrations of all sorts of skills, arts and crafts exhibitions - everything that could make the day go off with a bang. And we would finish with a massive picnic à la française and a barn dance with Morgana and her team providing the dance music. And the best thing about it all was that it caught the imagination of both the old and the new villagers. Bringing the village back together again was one of the centre's stated goals and it seemed as if we were already beginning to see some success before we even started. Of course, there were some die-hards who stayed faithful to the Mayor and his clan, but the rest mucked in with enthusiasm and gusto. That morning our town resembled an ant colony with some sort of activity in every street and on every pavement. Music was blazing out from a number of places together with the sound of hammer blows as stands suddenly took shape. Not even the overcast sky put a dampener on our spirits which soon soared once the sun put in an appearance and, obviously liking what it saw, decided to stay.

This was a make or break day for me and I had to be at my best, especially with a number of local and regional dignitaries expected for the celebrations. So I made up my mind to stay off the beer and wine for that day. Not that I was a habitual drinker, but once I got going I did have a tendency to be very light hearted and to overdo it occasionally. Already twice that year I'd shamed myself through too much drink. This time I wanted to be sure nothing went wrong.

The day went off brilliantly. The fête was colourful and noisy and most of the village was there together with hundreds from the surrounding area. The chairman of the district council held a stirring speech for which he received thunderous applause before cutting the across the doorway to the centre and declaring it open. After that my main task was to show people around the new centre and to explain the various activities we intended to offer. If but a fraction of those who attended, decided to put their name down for just one activity, then our first year would be assured. To be quite honest by the time the picnic arrived, my head was buzzing. So I grabbed Thérèse and we went for a walk together. One of the biggest disappointments of the day, indeed, the only real disappointment was that Guillaume had been away at a conference. I owed so much to him and he wasn't even there to see this triumph. I took Thérèse by the arm and led her down to the river. She was full of praise for what we'd achieved, no she was full of praise for what I'd achieved... I began to wonder. We wandered round for half an hour or more and then made our way back to the picnic and the dance. Strangely enough, I was becalmed and elated at the same time. The worse was over and had gone brilliantly, so now I could relax. But as we made our way arm in arm back to the village green I felt as if I was about to burst my banks.

The picnic was still in full swing but the music had begun and some people were already dancing. I took Thérèse and led her onto the dance floor. We were both in high spirits as we swung around to the polka the band was playing. I danced with Thérèse all night and didn't even notice some of the looks we were getting. I would have reserved one dance for Morgana, had she been dancing but she remained solidly at her post behind her instruments all evening, coming down only once in a while to lead us through the steps of a new dance. It was a wonderful time and we danced until well after eleven - the time we were officially meant to finish. But in the end we decided enough was enough, not wanting to anger the local residents who had to be up early the next day.

I walked Thérèse back home and gave her a big hug and a lingering thank you kiss on her doorstep. She blushed a little and stammered:

"You can be really proud of yourself, Simon."

Encouraged by her words, I didn't give her a chance to finish as I pressed home my advantage. The last thing I expected was resistance.

"Simon, please don't. I like you a lot. You're our best friend, but I'm married to Guillaume and I don't want it any other way. I've chosen to love him and no other."

I refused to listen and tried to force myself into the house with her, but she twisted away from me and the door slammed in my face resounding with her one final and very definite "NO!"

8 comments:

kicked his irish arse to the pavement eh???? poor simon.....

5 March 2008 at 14:15  

Maybe he didn't get the technique quite right :-)
A well written piece.

By the way, I had the same reservations about 'sidewalk' in my piece, being a Brit. But I managed to work it out.

5 March 2008 at 17:06  

Loved the flow of this -- I felt myself there. And i'm laughing hysterically at Paisley's comment!! ^5!!!

5 March 2008 at 17:06  

I really liked what you did with the prompts here, very nice and well composed.

Penelope Anne

5 March 2008 at 21:49  

Guess pressing home an advantage is not such a good idea. Two no's - he deserved worse.

5 March 2008 at 21:50  

Nicely done. It has a good flow and wonderful energy.

5 March 2008 at 23:13  

Poor dude. Is that a British phrase? Anyway, he's such a regular. Good piece.

6 March 2008 at 00:54  

I agree with Marcia... the second no shouldn't have been needed. He deserved much worse.

7 March 2008 at 04:01  

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