“Annie!” Ms.Fields shouts my name from her office, forcing me to walk that way. I stand in the doorway,
Hoping the conversation is for a whole new topic, not the one I assume.
“I talked with Prince Harry,” She is smiling, a rare feature on her face. I feel relived that she is pleased but I dread what is to come. Putting down her paperwork, Ms. Fields full attention is staring at me. “He had a lovely time, said great thing about the organization, your household”
“You talked to him?” The replies quick, breaking her speech. I’m surprised, bit hurt and jealous. Should I be jealous, what did I expect to happen after that day?
"Yes,“ She pauses, I work on composing my face. I cannot rouse suspicion, if Harry claims the day as lovely then I’ll nod in agreement to that. Most of the day was…lovely. Such an odd word choice. The day was good. The day was filled with laughter. The day a bit of chaos and bit of joy. The day involved a ride to the hospital. The day was lovely. “So, thank you. I know it was hectic day for you and a complete surprise. But thank you.”
I nod, taking in the complement but mostly wondering the words he left unspoken with her. I may agree the day was lovely but the ending, the ending left it all feeling a bit destroyed.
“Oh, this is for you” She is looking back at her desk, her hand extending with a envelope. Taking a few step forwards, I grab it and turn to leave.
“Thanks, Have a good rest of your day” I says, staring down at my name written in sloppy cursive. She mumbles a reply back, her focus already else where.
I leave, the presence of the envelope in my hand distracting me from anything else.
My time is short. My visit to the office was only supposed to take a few minutes - it was a quick drop off some paper work and return. But once outside, I stop. Pulling my jacket tighter, I stuff my folders under my arm. I open the letter slowly, careful not to rip the envelope.
The handwriting is spread out, only a few sentences yet it fills up the card. It the same sloppy cursive that covered the font.
I wanted to thank you for welcoming me into your house, playing with the children, and talking to you. It was a lovely time.
There was that word again. Lovely. The word choice aggregated me, I almost wanted to fight back against is. No, the day wasn’t lovely. Taking a moment, I lower the card from my gaze. Lovely is a good word, representing good things.
I’m hoping Charlie is feeling better and the sickness does not spread. You are doing an excellent job!
The exclamation point is slanted. It looks as if it started as a period and in a second thought he decided to add it. After that his signature is across the bottom of the card. Short, simple, professional. Shoving the letter on top of my other papers, I started my walk back towards the house. Anger at myself for expecting more out of a letter and anger at the fact that the more wasn’t there.
“Phone!” Millie shoved the phone into my hand minutes into my entrance in the house. She is bouncing Claire on her hip and giving Felix a stern talking to.
“Hello?” Surprised and unconsecrated, I place the phone to my hear. Putting the folders in the wire rack by the door, I move forward to the kitchen. I need to finalized the grocery list, Charlie can have more medicine in thirty minutes, and layout out card making supplies.
“Annie….Hi” The voice catches me and I stop in my tracks. My already prepared ‘Mom, Hi, Sorry now isn’t a good time’ line out the window. There is a pause, my thoughts not catching up fast enough to realize I am the one who is supposed to fill it. “It’s Harry”
“Oh, I know,” I nervously reply, searching for a quiet space, “Hi…Sorry, I just walked in the door. Hi, how are you?” I place my forehead against the coat closet door, embarrassed and the conversation as barely started.
“I’m well,” He replies, a short laugh before his answer. “And you? Is Charlie feeling better?”
“I’m good, yeah..um, good. And Charlie, yes. He’s good. On medicine for the rest of the week. But he is back to himself.”
“I actually just read your letter,” Once I say the words, I regret them. What am I supposed to say about the letter? That I was disappointed, I’m glad it was so lovely.
“Oh, I’m sorry about that” I imagine him shaking his head, maybe a small grin too, “My secretary makes me write those out.”
I nod, the letter an obligation - got it.
“I was wondering, I’m calling…I have ice cream,” He pauses, trying to collect his words. He started the conversation off so calm and now he more whispers his statements, unsure. “A new flavor. Coffee something American.”
“American ice cream?” I question, with a laugh.
“Yeah, it’s all red, white, and blue sprinkles.” He quickly jokes. Back in a natural rhythm, he clears his throat, “I was thinking, maybe we could try it together?”
I take a moment, a smile growing on my face. “That’d be good”
“Okay, is tonight too..?” He asks the question with hesitancy.
“Tonight could work,” I finish for him, working out the schedule in my head. “It, It’d…have to be here. And after nine. But tonight works.”
“Good, good, Tonight. I’ll stop by then”
“Okay,” The words contain one of those smiles - the kind that is unshakable, “I’ll see you then.”