I recently received an e-mail which was a pleasant surprise and immediately attracted my interest. It was from Lesley. You may remember that Lesley is a former girlfriend of mine and I used to call her ‘it’ which really got to her. When I devalued her I would conduct a running commentary on her as if she was not there and would always call her ‘it’. It really got to her. She would become frustrated, cry and beg me to stop it. If I then called her by her name she was so relieved she became so easy to control. I always enjoyed this verbal method of manipulation. Her e-mail read as follows:-
I hope you are well. I am sure you are. I am in the city next Friday and I wonder if you would be free for lunch. Nothing more mind I know what you are like! It would be lovely to have a catch up and see how you are doing.
I reflected on the e-mail before I replied. Of course I would be happy to meet for lunch. I had not seen Lesley in almost three years since she moved to a different city a few hundred miles away. I toyed with her for a while afterwards sending her text messages and e-mails and they drew a response at first but eventually she changed those details and vanished from Facebook so she was put on ice as I busied myself with my other appliances. I knew she would get in touch with me at some point, you just cannot help but want to know what I am doing, who I am with and most of all to try and find out if I am sorry for what I did to you. I regarded this as an opportunity to remind Lesley of how brilliant I am and I would treat her to lunch at a decent restaurant, one where I was well known and bound to be well looked after by the staff which would impress her no doubt. I responded to Lesley in the following manner
Hello dearest Lesley,
How lovely to receive a missive from you. You still often invade my consciousness and only last week I was remembering the time we went to Nice for that break. I was thinking about going again and we had such a super time didn’t we Lesley? Anyway I would be delighted to meet up for lunch. I will book somewhere fabulous and it is on me, it is the least I can do. Let me know your number Lesley and I will text you time and place.
I flicked on my tractor beam as Lesley the It Girl came within my orbit once again. We traded a few e-mails which I kept pleasant, light and flirty, always making reference to her name. She sent me her mobile number which of course had altered from the one that I once had. I stored that and used it just the once to text her the details of the booking.
Friday came and I arranged for two of my lieutenants to be in the restaurant.One male and one female. I arranged for them to wander over once Lesley and I were in situ. Lieutenant One was to congratulate me on a recent deal and comment how I was making waves in the industry. Lieutenant Two was to thank me for dinner the other evening and ask me to call her when I had chance. I picked a restaurant which served Thai food as this was a favourite of Lesley’s and I decided I would give her a little gift by way of acknowledging that I had not always treated her as well as I ought to have done. I made sure I was ten minutes early and waiting in the bar area for Lesley so she would not have to wait. She arrived on time and looked very well. Her face lit up when she saw me waiting and my tractor beam grew ever stronger as she walked over to me embracing me on the cheek.
Lunch was most pleasant. I ensured I kept using her name, saying Lesley after most of my comments to her. I was polite, charming and good company. My lieutenants acquitted their assigned roles and I could see that Lesley was impressed from the admiring glances that she sent me and the questions she asked afterwards. I responded in a modest fashion brushing away her compliments. I ensured I asked plenty of questions about her, where she was now working, whether she had a boyfriend (she was dating), how her family was, what she did at weekends and so on and so forth. I ensured I referred to events from our golden period with fondness and affection and she totally engaged with my stance. She offered no resistance and kept the compliments and admiration coming my way. Even when she moved on to the topic of my treatment of her I apologised and nodded as I allowed her to express her hurt and pain. Her eyes welled with tears and the emotion pouring from her obscured the inherent criticism in her comments as I drank deep of the fuel and my fury remained in check. I explained how my immaturity had the better of me then and I had changed from those grasping days.
I was flirtatious throughout but did not press her in anyway so she felt that she had a vestige of control over our situation even though she was very much in the grip of my tractor beam. Our lunch lasted for two and a half hours and as I settled the bill I looked at Lesley.
“Well, that was most enjoyable Lesley. We must do it again. I really enjoyed hearing how you have been getting on and I have to say I am really proud of you.”
She smiled and looked at the table and back up at me. The admiration shining in her eyes was immense.
“Thank you. I have enjoyed it too. I would like to keep in touch HG and you have my number.”
“Yes and you have mine. Feel free to call me whenever you like.”
“I will. I have to say you are doing really well. You seem more settled, not as restless and it suits you.”
I smiled and nodded and then waved to the waiter who I had secreted the gift with.
“Well I had better return to the office Lesley and see if hell has broken out without me there, but before I do, I wanted you to have this.”
The waiter arrived and handed the small package to Lesley.
“What’s this?” she smiled taking the present.
“Oh just a small gift by way of apology.”
“You didn’t need to do that,” she added but continued smiling as the waiter walked away.
“Of course I did Lesley. You are worth it.”
She folded back the expensive wrapping paper and pulled the slender rectangular item free from its packaging. She gave a slight frown and then turned it around. Her eyes fell on the front of the Blu-ray box and she gave a short cry as if startled. Her expression of delight immediately broke and a tear trickled from her right eye. I just sat smiling at her, my chin resting on my triangulated fingers as she slowly lowered the Blu-ray to the table, sobs now coming from her each one becoming louder. She dropped the Blu-ray and clasped her hands to her mouth as if to stifle a scream but her watering eyes remained fixed on the title of the Blue-ray.
Stephen King’s It.