Monday, 7 February 2011

Saint Valentine

Jennospot 14  Saint Valentine

In a few days it'll be the fourteenth of February. Yeah— that's roight. Saint Valentine's day. Well, Oi ain't very sure 'oo this famous Saint Valentine was, but 'ee certainly seems ter 'ave made a mark on the calendar a good bit stronger than most of the ovver saints. Any'ow, since on 'is day we turn our thoughts loightly ter love, Oi'm goin' ter tell yew about 'ow Peter discovered wot it was. It were the very first toime 'ee went shoppin' fer 'is aunt up The Street, an' the Streeters Gang was after 'im. 'Ee attached 'imself ter Mrs Garman from the Chapel, fer protection. 'Ee was carrying 'er basket, an' fer reward, she offered 'im a glass o' lemonade. An' so it was that 'ee met Penelope an' then went sorta barmy. All a bit mushy ter moi way of finking, still, there it was. This is 'ow it went:

Mrs Garman turned into Water-Mill Lane. Fifty yards further on she opened a gate into the front garden of the last house on the left and went in. ‘If you like to wait outside the gate a minute, I'll bring the cake and lemonade out to you.’
She disappeared into the house and shut the door. Two or three minutes later, the door re-opened and a girl, a bit older than me, came out carrying a tray. On it was a plate with two slices of cake and two glasses of lemonade. The girl had her head down, concentrating on the contents of the tray and where she put her feet.
She was slim, somewhat taller than me and had long blond hair like that of Pearl but caught back at her forehead by a velvet ribbon. I watched her come slowly towards me, taking care not to overturn the two trembling glasses she was carrying.
She stopped in front of me on the inside of the gate, lifted her head and devastated me with a look from a pair of blue eyes, the like of which I had never imagined existed. She glanced demurely down, then up again and smiled. She was, without the slightest doubt possible, by far the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.
‘I'm Penelope,’ she said shyly. ‘My mother sent me out to bring you this. If you like, you can call me Penny.’
I took the glass in one hand, the slice of cake in the other and looked down over the gate as she placed the tray on the ground and picked up her glass and slice of cake. There were elusive gleams and highlights in her hair that shimmered to and fro with her least movement. Her arms glowed softly in the sunlight like the down on a golden plum. I was entranced.
I had heard the story of Saul being struck blind on the road to Damascus. I now knew something of what it must have been like for him. Such an experience I had never had before. In that moment I knew what it was to fall utterly, hopelessly, ridiculously, gloriously, magically in love.

(Gang Territory chapter 15)

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