Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (15) Art and Loneliness (Part 11)
“I’m not at all sure about this” Ben said as they stood by the lych-gate outside St Mary’s on Sunday morning
“Good to see you Ben” a man said slapping him jovially on the back.
“You see they’re all friends here” she said and she held his hand as they walked up the path and into the church.
She gave his hand a final squeeze and opened the door in to the church where he was greeted by a group of friends eager to welcome him back.
The following day Sally and Ben were in the village of Brocklington about six miles downstream of the River Deighton and they were sat in a pub garden by the river eating Whitebait in the sunshine.
“You’ve only been in Sharping St Mary for one short week Sally Greenland” he said
“And you’ve turned my world upside down”
“It needed shaking up a bit” she said
“Well you did that sure enough” Ben admitted
They had just finished their deserts when her mobile phone rang.
“Hello!” she said
“Yes, I’ll pick it up this afternoon”
“Thank you, goodbye” she said and hung up.
“Well my car has been repaired” she said putting her mobile back in her handbag
“I can get under way just as soon as I want, the world is my oyster, well as long as it’s in this country because I didn’t bring a passport”
When she finished talking she looked at Ben who was just looking down at his feet.
“Where are you going?” he asked
“I don’t know exactly” she replied “but I’ve got 3 weeks to get there”
She took a sip of her drink and suggested
“Why don’t you come with me?”
“What just like that?” he said
“Why not?” she asked but he didn’t answer
He drove her back to the village and dropped her outside Maslen’s garage.
“Come to mine tonight” he said “we’ll have a takeaway”
“Ok” she said “but think about what I said, it could be fun”
And then she leant over and kissed him.
It started to rain as she was getting ready so she decided to drive up to Bens.
There was not a repeat of the late night of Friday they just ate their Chinese takeaway and watched a movie and the conversation was sparse with both of them avoiding the elephant in the room, but eventually just before she left Sally said
“I’m having coffee with Donald and Caroline at the vicarage tomorrow morning, and I’ll be leaving at eleven if you want to come with me you can meet me there”
Next morning Sally checked out of the Coachman’s Arms for the second time and drove to the Vicarage.
“I’ve had a wonderful week here” Sally said “and I only planned to stay one night”
“I think it was divine intervention” said the Vicar
“You might well be right” she agreed “But enjoy it I certainly have, and I hope I’ve made lasting friendships”
“I hope so too” Caroline said
“And Ben?” Donald asked
“Well I asked him to go with me” she said
“And?” Caroline enquired with amazement
“Well he’s not here so I guess it’s a no” Sally replied
“Will you come back and see us on the way home Sally?” She asked
“Yes I think so” Sally replied and looked at her watch
“Well I had better get on my way”
Sally had her back to the outdoors as she said goodbye to the Harts when Donald said “It looks like it’s a yes then”
“What?” Sally exclaimed and Donald nodded beyond her, so she turned around and saw Ben standing by the gate with a hold all in his hand.