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The End of the Affair
still clinging to each thing
The exhibits are still there on my side table. They're already looking reproachful. There is the open handbag itself -- scarlet, flouncy and plastic, with a big brass clasp. It was wedged behind some crumbling medieval stonework in the castle grounds. I caught sight of it quite by accident.
Condoms, a pair, plain & unribbed;
Lipstick, red and full-on;
Pills - unidentified;
Return half of Arriva Trains Wales ticket - Aberystwyth to Birmingham;
Biro - "Not to be Removed from Reception";
Empty envelope, roughly torn open and bearing the scribbled legend "Lucinda":
Shopping list in careful copperplate, every item ticked;
A Michelin tyre-man the key ring empty;
No money, credit cards, mobile, and, alas ! no silver plated Beretta 950 automatic -- the favourite of lady spies and honey-traps.
the empty intimacy
of powder and scent
Yes, I know what you're thinking ! But what do you expect ? "Elderly & infirm". Living alone in a little flat overlooking the grey Irish Sea. Oh, yes, I know now why people who have been burgled feel a sense of personal violation.
Of course, I have done the decent things. Worked my way through three successive weeks of The Cambrian News , which lovingly and meticulously records every public misdemeanour in our little town. And drawn a blank also at the police station.
But I can't have Lucinda living here with me any longer. It's not healthy, is it? She might, after all, be a married lady... But neither can I bear to have her put away in a tin "Unclaimed Goods" box. Heaven knows how long she'd languish there.
And so, one moonless night, after a stiff drink, I return the handbag's contents to their original chaos, adding a quartz stone for ballast, and securing the big brass clasp. And blow her a kiss for better luck.
Buried at sea
a scarlet Splash
a trail of bubbles ...