They were a lovely couple, Simon and Teresa. They lived in a house in the middle of Cornwallis circle. Simon had retired early from a high pressured job in the civil service, and Teresa, well there was a mystery. She made jewellery and gave tarot card readings. Every now and again she took part in one of the events up at Whitstable Castle. There was a legend that if you wanted to contact anyone who had passed over then Teresa was as effective as a mobile phone in reaching them. She gave an immediate answer to any question you might ask, from the other side (as she called it), in private sessions. The biggest mystery about the two of them was how they got together in the first place- she, the artist with a degree in fine art from the old Canterbury Art College and Simon the career civil servant.
I ran errands for them – my Mum got me the job –they paid me so she didn’t have to give me pocket money, and put further strain on her modest income. She was a seamstress at Whites in Whitstable High Street. Sometimes Teresa sent me to George’s to get card and glue so that she could make up display cards of her earrings; and I was often bewitched by the coloured stones she used. My favourite was a deep purple –she only made one set of earrings using that colour. That pair was special. Simon and I told her that those earrings were so special, that they should only be sold for a special price.
Teresa disagreed – “I am not selling them –when I am gone, Simon, you will have them to remind you of the twinkle in my eye; and you Tim can come back to ask for them for your bride and I will know when you have found the right woman”. Simon and I laughingly agreed that she should not sell them, even though both of us knew that the earrings would have sold for a very good price.
I ran errands for quite a while for Simon and Teresa, but the day came when I left Whitstable to go to University. Although I kept in touch, my visits were less frequent as my life moved on and eventually I settled for a career in London; and moved away completely. I still came back down to Whitstable, and always I asked how they were.
When I came down with my future bride to introduce her to the family, we stayed at the Marine Hotel in Tankerton. I had a restless night and so I left my bride, and I walked along the slopes to buy a paper. It was the sort of errand I used to run for Simon and Teresa I remembered, when I bought the paper from the mini market by Tankerton Circus. As I came out of the shop I saw a woman walk past me. She was wearing Teresa’s purple earrings. I felt a shock – as if someone had walked over my grave – that was how my mother would have described the sensation that gripped me.
I ran round to Simon and Teresa’s house, to find Simon sitting there looking at the purple earrings in the setting I remembered them. He looked up at me and said
“Teresa told me you had found the right woman, Tim”.
“Is She the one, Simon? I asked