Steve placed the receiver back on its rest, feeling relief. Now there was just George to call before he got back to an evening’s work. He picked up the handset again and dialled a number that he knew by heart.
Again, the call got through quickly. He hoped that this was a good omen.
“Hello, Beryl, how are you? It’s Steve”
“Good evening to you too Steve. I noticed your number on Caller Display before I answered.” she said, “I’m fine, but is it me or George who you really want to speak to?”
“Beryl, it’s always a delight to hear your voice, and you’re right. It was George that I expected to speak to, but I may as well speak to Management since you’ve answered.”
“Flatterer!” she said, “What are you after?”
“I was just ringing to ask whether you and George would be free to call round to mine for a cup of tea or coffee and a natter sometime on Saturday.”
“I don’t think that either of us have anything special planned,” she said, “but I’ll speak to George when he gets back from the Vicarage and get him to ‘phone you. I’m sure it would be fine with him too, and we’ll both look forward to it.”
Steve ended the call thoughtfully. George being at the Vicarage was in his thoughts. Would Sheila say anything about their planned meeting – or worse about his faith problem? George was, after all, one of the two Church Wardens who had legal responsibilities for the ministry, fabric and finances of the church. ‘Not to worry,’ he thought, ‘if anything had been said it would probably reveal itself when George called back.’
He went into the Hall to get his briefcase. He might as well make a start on his marking ‘homework’ while he waited for George’s call.
About eight that evening, he had stopped work for a cup of tea. While he sat for a moment, resting his eyes, the landline phone rang. He looked at the caller display and saw that it was George.
“Hi George,” he said picking up the receiver, “thanks for ringing back.”
“Damn clever phone you’ve got there,” said George, “Fancy it knowing that it was me rather than Beryl calling.”
“OK, OK,” Steve admitted, “I was making an assumption, but thank you anyway. Did Beryl pass on my invitation?”
“Yes, she did,” he said, “is it in honour of anything special?”
“No, nothing like that,” Steve said, “It’s a mixture of church business and pleasure. I’ll enjoy your company anyway, but I’ve had something that I need to get off my chest. I’ll be seeing Sheila on Friday evening about it, but as my friend and as Warden, you deserve to know too.”
“That sounds ominous,” George said.
“It’s just something that I want to see you about face-to-face rather than over the telephone, and it isn’t something I feel that I could say tomorrow at the dance. When we’ve had a chat at weekend I’ll need some advice about what should happen next. Please don’t worry about it. I’m not dying or anything. It’s spiritual rather than medical. So, will you come on Saturday – at whatever time suits you best. It’s just tea and biscuits, perhaps a slice of cake since Beryl’s invited.”
“Of course, we’ll be delighted to come. Don’t you be worrying either. If it’s a spiritual matter, it probably isn’t anything I haven’t heard before in my years as Warden. If it’s a confession you want to make though, Father Michael might be your man. I’m sure that he’ll grant you absolution.”
“Thanks George,” Steve said, “I’m not looking for absolution, but it is a matter of conscience.”
“That’s OK then,” George assured him, “Will ten on Saturday morning suit you?”
“That will be great,” Steve said, “Thank you. I’ll see you both at the dance tomorrow I assume.”
“Yes, we’ll be there. See you then.”
Steve was relieved that the calls had gone so well. He was able to return to his papers with a happier frame of mind.
Steve’s phoning from his house to George’s. You’ve already seen a photo of Steve’s house and George’s – in the same crescent of properties would have looked very similar if this were real life. I started the story with a photo of a similar house to Steve’s, but I’ve been racking my brains for inspiration as to what type of image to feature today.
I’m stuck. so I’ll post another photo of dancing – at least it’s still in line with the story as a whole.
EXIF data were: As with all the other dancing photos, I took this shot with my Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera coupled with a Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 lens.
The shutter speed was 1/1000secs @ f/2.8 and 16 mm. The ISO was 6400.