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The Angel, end of story

by Jubbly 

Posted: 03 August 2004
Word Count: 1428
Summary: This was my entry but I didn't actually enter having finally read the conditions and realised I wasn't eligable. It's the Sue Townsend story.

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“No,” I answered nervously and took my seat at the table opposite him.

“I don’t even know your name?”

“Margaret… Thompson”.

“Delighted Margaret delighted.”

He leant over the table and shook my hand in a somewhat drastic gesture that I personally found quite embarrassing.

“I thought you might turn up.” He said, giving me a knowing smile that was both enticing and presumptuous.

There were other couples in the pub, a young man, thin so that his bones showed through his torn T-Shirt, his purposefully messy hair hung like curtains over his eyes and a fragile blonde with pink streaks curled herself into the nape of his neck, half asleep, turning every so soften to kiss him. At another table a man, already sweating in his suit and tie looked distinctly bored as his date chattered on without pause. Her clothes were cheap and tarty and she wore too much make up. It was clear to me they weren’t gong to last the distance, he wanted fairy dust and she was fag ash.

I returned my attention to Anthony Adams and he smiled.

“Shall we go and get a bite to eat, there’s an Indian around the corner, and it’s very good.”

He was a handsome man, late forties, just beginning to grey behind his ears, the laughter lines around his eyes held a history of infinite possibilities and even more probabilities.

I shook my head.

“I don’t like spicy food, I’m sorry.”

“You’ve nothing to apologise for Margaret, but I get the impression you’re a woman intent on pleasing.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Italian then, let’s go.”

I left my practically untouched and as far as I was concerned undrinkable cocktail on the table and we left, his hand on the small of my back, to strangers we looked like a couple.

Over linguine and Parma ham he looked into my eyes and found my soul, wanting, yearning and impatient to leave this earthly detention.

“So Margaret, do you think you’ll ever marry again?” he asked, sipping red wine.

I shrugged my shoulders preparing myself for one of those stock answers that will maintain my dignity yet be believed, when the shock of his remark finally dawned.

“I didn’t tell you I was divorced, did I?”

He shook his head and took another sip of wine.

“Just a hunch Margaret, you look like someone who married young and gave their best years to a man who walked out on you when things got too comfortable.”

I lost my appetite for food and gained an almighty interest in this stranger instead.

“You still use your married name don’t you?” he asked.

“How do you know that?”

“The way you say it, lingering over vowels, almost apologising for it but not confident enough to rid yourself of it and resort to your maiden name.”

He ordered zabaglione for two and coffee.

I knew it was now or never.

“I’ve got the money.” I said.

He looked doubtful, “Money?”

“The £250, that’s what you said it would take, you know….to….finish someone off.”

He stared at me, long and hard neither of us speaking whiles the waiter brought our dessert then he asked me what I meant.

“I want you to help me end my life.” I said, even more convinced once the words were uttered.

He cupped his chin with one hand and stirred sugar lumps into his coffee with the other.

“Are you sure?” he finally asked.

I told him yes I was, I couldn’t go on any longer, I didn’t want to, every day was more unbearable than the day before, besides I said, I vowed I would never live to sixty.

We paid the bill in silence, and then he asked to see my money.

I took out the brand new five fifty pound notes and placed them in the middle of the table, he nodded.

“Okay Margaret, we have a deal, let’s go.”

I trembled, how can it be this easy, I felt a surge of excitement electrify my body.

He gave me the money back and told me to go home and get a good nights sleep, he said he’d meet me in the morning I was to bring the money and from there we’d go for a drive, it was all so simple.

That night I dreamed I was flying through the sky, my arms outstretched as I glided over the night skies, when I awoke the next morning I was smiling.

After a cup of tea and a slice of toast with marmite I dressed, cream cotton trousers and a long sleeved navy T. shirt top, I sat and waited in the front room, resisting the urge to say farewell to my belongings then the doorbell rang.

He looked so uncomfortable this tall man as he squashed into the passenger seat, he refused to put on his seat belt saying there was no need and we were off…….. Brighton bound.

We didn’t speak the entire journey, just listened to tapes of Bach and Handel, old favourites that I suddenly had an enormous desire to hear.

We booked into a small bed and breakfast on the waterfront, a double room he’d suggested, and I went along with the charade, anything to get it all over with.

“Let’s go for a walk on the beach.”

I was tired from the drive and impatient now, how was he going to do it? Would it be quick, a bullet in the head or slow, lingering, his over large man’s hands squeezing the life out of my soft neck? We walked along the promenade, seagulls our sound track and the cries from small children piercing the quiet. The day brightened up and soon there were lots of people out enjoying the sun, the elderly pushed by in their wheelchairs by carers eager for them to enjoy the sudden sun.

I watched as an old man was given an ice cream cone to eat, he seemed to manage less well than the greedy toddler seated opposite in her push chair, she licked away the dollops of ice cream that fell on her clothes and chin, while he let his drop, collecting puddles in the wrinkles, then dripping grey down his neck until his carer roughly wiped it way.

That will never be me I thought, I’m going with dignity.

Anthony Adams took my hand, I flinched, it had been such a long since a man had held my hand, much less lead me back to a hotel room?

He looked me in the eye, and simply said, now.

We trooped up the narrow stairs and slipped inside the room, my heartbeat quickened, I was frightened yes, but exhilarated, knowing it would soon all be over.

“What happened to you Maggie,” he asked when we were inside.

No one had called me Maggie for years. I was always Margaret after I married, it sounds so much more grown up, my mother had argued. But I knew that I was Maggie before it all went wrong before I lost my beautiful babies and I still had the whole world ahead of me before my husband found comfort in the arms of another – I used to be Maggie, Maggie Lewis.

I started to speak, to try and explain away the dark dark years but he pulled me closer.

“Ssh, Maggie, Ssh, let’s see if we can find you eh?”

He pulled me down onto the double bed and gently caressed my neck; I understand I thought, this is how he will do it.

Then he kissed me, not a kiss of pity but one with real desire, he pulled at my clothes with passion but tenderly, soon we were both naked and making love and I felt alive absolutely alive.

The morning sun awoke me; I noticed how pretty the room was, and what a lovely shade of pink the walls were. I turned to Anthony but he was gone, vanished.

I suppose there are those who think me an old fool; I used my £250 to pay for the room and petrol and even splashed out on a new dress and a swimsuit. I didn’t pay Anthony for his sexual services, they was a bonus, a free sample if you like.

I was right though, Margaret Thompson will never live to see sixty, she and her sad, pathetic life is over and it it’s place I live, Maggie Lewis aged 59 and very much looking forward to my next birthday and all those that will follow.

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Comments by other Members

eyeball at 11:23 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
That's beautiful, Jubbly. How do you mean, it's the sue Townsend story? I must have missed that.

Elsie at 14:00 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Lovely,Jubbly ;) My, she's an up-front lady! It's been a fascinating exercise hasn't it to see how differently the endings go - can't wait to see the winning one, and perhaps even more - how Sue T wrote it. Because I was quite puzzled by some of the things the 'Angel' said in her beginning. We obviously had a similar idea of what would sort her out!

Jubbly at 17:42 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Thanks for reading Elsie and Sharon. Sharon it was the second part of the BBC story ending competition, you had to choose your author and I chose Sue Townsend, she wrote the first half and I finished it. Yes Elsie, we seem to see eye to eye there. Personally I thought there were quite a few inconsistencies in her story but we'll wait and see eh?

eyeball at 18:52 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Ah, I see.

halfwayharry at 16:05 on 10 August 2004  Report this post
Nice twist at the ending. Pity you couldn't enter it.

Peter x

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