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Abigail, Rebecca and Miriam (Ch. 7)

Abigail was sitting in the living room of the family’s old rambling house. She had returned to her former room after giving Albert and his home the heave ho. She was having a cocktail before dinner., one that Miriam had already mixed, what she thought would be a pickup for Abigail. She certainly needed one. She looked like a discarded sea boot half floating on the waters. But Abigail was only toying with her glass. Obviously her thoughts were in some other place altogether.
Abigail was wondering whether she really done the right thing in dumping Albert. There was something terrifyingly final about it. He was such a helpless creature that she just had to worry about him. He probably wasn’t even eating properly. She stiffened her resolve. That introverted, stupid, blind pedant didn’t deserve even minimal attention. He likely didn’t even realize she had left. Damn him to hell.
The doorbell rang. Abigail moved to get up but Miriam beat her to the door. She came back in a few moments with a tall, cellophane wrapped parcel. “It’s flowers for you, Abby. Looks like an orchid.”
Abigail’s heart gave a sudden lurch. “For me? Who on earth would be sending me fl…?” She froze, with the parcel in her hands. Miriam was in front of her carefully removing the cellophane. The wrappings fell away revealing a most beautiful blue and white orchid with three open blooms and two bursting buds. There were a couple of tears running down Abigail’s cheek. Miriam gave her the card but Abigail held it in her hands not daring to read it.
“What does the card say?” asked Miriam impatiently.
Abigail held it up and read it out loud. “Please forgive me. Love Albert the Lion.” She burst into tears when reading the signature. After awhile she straightened up and dried her eyes. “If that little turd thinks he can buy me with an orchid, he’d better start thinking again.” But she carefully placed the orchid on a table, turned it around for the best presentation and then went to the kitchen for a watering can. She returned, felt the soil underneath the plant and added a little water. She sat down, picked up her drink and asked Miriam, “What were we talking about?”
“Oh nothing of importance… Do you really want to get rid of Albert?”
“You bet I do. You know,” she added thoughtfully, “I think I’d almost rather have abuse than neglect.”
“Oh, come on. Like he wasn’t an ogre. You must have had some good times together.”
“Name one! When were we together? Right from the start it was a ménage à trios.”
Miriam sat up with a jerk. “You mean me? Good God, he is old enough to be my father! That’s sort of how I looked on him. A doting father, never anything more.”
“Never?”
“Look, Abby. If I want a man I want someone I can grow up with. I don’t want an old fart who is past his prime.” Abigail winced. “Like he’s been helpful over the last few years. Sometimes a little too helpful. There were times when I wished he’d let me figure it out for myself. Like I think he looks upon me as a child, a child needing a lot of help… I know he loves you.”
“Yeah, I guess I knew all that. Sorry Miriam. I jumped on you” She held out her hand to Miriam’s arm. “All I knew was that I wasn’t getting love from him so I figured someone else was.”
“He’s not that kind of guy, Abby. He’s self-absorbed, one-track minded, he has the empathy of wallpaper, but he’s not unfaithful. I’ll bet my allowance on that… Now are you going to phone him, thank him and tell him all is forgiven?”
“Miriam, are you nuts? Let me tell you something, if he’s going to win me back, he damn well is going to work for it. At the moment I love this orchid,” she gestured at the beautiful flower, “more than him!”
That was Monday, in the early evening, after Abigail had returned from work. Miriam had just finished her year at university and was at a loose end until the summer job was due.
Tuesday a large box of nuts arrived. Abigail in a fit of snit, sent it back to sender without even opening it. But she couldn’t get it out of her mind. He must have remembered that nuts were a favourite of hers.
Wednesday evening, Abigail and Miriam were sitting in the living room when the phone rang. Miriam Picked it up. “Hello?”
She listened for a moment or two. She put her hand over the mouthpiece. “It’s Albert,” she whispered. “He sounds terrible. Will you speak to him?” Abigail shook her head. With her hand still over the mouthpiece, Miriam argued, “What have you got to lose? He might have something interesting to say.”
Abigail hesitated. She reached for the phone and said, each word encased in ice, “Yes, Mr. Harrister. You wanted to speak to me?” She listened for a few moments.
“Mr. Harrister. I have removed you from my address list. I have removed you from my heart. There are only ashes left… stone cold ashes.” She stopped and listened some more.
“Mr. Harrister, what part of ‘No’ don’t you understand? This conversation is not doing either of us any good. Goodbye … Albert.” She gently disconnected. She hoped he hadn’t heard the catch in her throat when she called him ‘Albert.’ It was finished. She had no regrets but it was finished. She had a new life to arrange and live—without Albert Harrister, thank you very much. She took a deep swallow from her drink and crashed on the sofa.
Sure, it was finished but Friday was the nuclear bomb. Abigail arrived home in the early evening to find Miriam bursting with curiosity—well she assumed it was curiosity.
“Guess what, Abby? A little parcel arrived by special delivery. I had to sign for it.”
It was an odd shaped parcel, sort of like an envelope with a small box on top and all in an outside wrapper, addressed to her but with no return address. Abigail opened the outside wrapper. It was indeed a small jeweler’s box atop an invitation-sized envelope. She decided to open the box first. It had a little catch, which she depressed and then the lid sprang open. There, nestled on black velvet, was a ring with a large blue sapphire catching the rays of the lamp. She caught her breath and gently retrieved the ring. With it in her hand she walked over to the hall mirror, held the sapphire up to her face and confirmed her suspicion. The stone exactly matched her blue eyes!
Without thinking she slipped the ring on to her fourth finger left hand, then sat down to open the letter. She pulled out a beautifully typed card. She read it out loud:

Albert Harrister
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Abigail Howson
to
Albert Harrister
on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
at 2:30 pm.
The service to be performed by
Captain John Carruthers
Aboard the SS Seven Oceans
enroute to Alaska and northern climes.
RSVP 416 999 2134.

Abigail’s mouth hung open. “What do I do now?” She looked at the ring on her finger. “He’s proposing marriage!” she said in a disbelieving voice. “Albert wants to marry me!”
“Do you want to marry him?” asked Miriam.
“No way! Why do you think I threw him out?”
“That’s going to make it a bit difficult for him. He’s obviously already bought those tickets on the cruise ship. Don’t you want to go to Alaska?”
“Yeah. But not at the price of marrying that ego maniac.”
“I can understand that,” remarked Miriam thoughtfully. “I guess he’ll just have to find someone else.”
Abigail stiffened. “What do you mean? Someone else? He’s my man.”
“Oh? Not any more. You threw him out. Remember?”
Abigail spluttered, “But… but…”
Miriam stood right in front of her. “Abby wake up! He’s bought two tickets to Alaska on a cruise ship. You are not going with him. He’s just got to find someone else.”
There was a long silence. Finally Abigail blubbered, “But I don’t want him to find someone else!”
“Abby. When you are out skiing and take the lift to the highest level…”
“So? What has that got to do with the situation?” she replied angrily.
“Have you ever looked down the slope and found it a good deal steeper and more difficult than you reckoned?”
Abby was mystified but intrigued. “Yes, I have.”
“You have two choices. You can endure your shame and take the lift back down or you can take the chance, take the plunge. Abby, that’s where you are. What are you going to do?”

It was almost exactly a month later—in fact July the seventh. It was a beautiful day. Bright sun, bright sea. There was a small gathering on the rear sun deck of the SS Seven Seas, though quite a large crowd had gathered to watch.
The Captain was there in his white uniform with the gold braid. On one side was Albert, looking surprisingly attractive in white trousers and a navy jacket. Abigail looked positively ravishing in a flattering white organdy dress, with a blue sash—that matched her eyes. The Captain was referring to the script that he held. Prompted by the Captain, Albert repeated:
“I, Albert, take you Abigail, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part: according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love and faithfulness.
And then it was Abigail’s turn. She spoke with a firm and confident voice:
“I, Abigail, take you Albert, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part: according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love and faithfulness.”
And the Captain concluded, “By the authority vested in me by the Government of Canada, I now declare you man and wife!”
Albert lifted Abigail’s vale and they kissed…

5 Responses to “Abigail, Rebecca and Miriam (Ch. 7)”

  1. charles kirby says:

    Things do progress rapidly. We will see what we will see…..

  2. Libby Buchanan says:

    Well well well! I dont think she deserved him!! Love Libby

  3. Rose says:

    I have a feeling the best is yet to come. I can see your thought bubbles brewing from here.
    xo Rose

  4. Silvana Ness says:

    Hi! Lyman,

    I finally had time to sit and enjoy both latest Chapters (6th and 7th).

    I thought the dénouement was a bit rushed; too easy, somehow.

    I wonder whether we are going to hear from Rebecca and Jeremy too.

    I am sure you have plenty in store for us!

    Happy Halloween!

    Silvana

  5. charles kirby says:

    “Well Great Balls of Fire (Lyman Henderson)_”….so. You got them together.
    Interesting to see how you have managed to get ‘that girl’ going.
    Fun.

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