Tag Archives: normal

It’s Normal to have a Secret.

It seemed to me everyone I’d ever known had something they wanted to hide. Until I met Phillip and Julie-Anne in 1983. Mr and Mrs Normal.

I’d not long moved into the village when I joined the social club. As a guy living alone, I thought it would be the best way to meet the neighbours and buy cheap beer. I was sitting at the bar when Philip introduced himself and asked if I wanted to join him and his wife at their table.

It turned out, along with their twenty-something twins, they were the family around which everyone in our small rural community seemed to orbit.

Married for nearly thirty years, their lives were an open book. Julie-Anne was at the front line for all local-based events. Organising the choir, village newsletter, not to mention the kiddies’ drama club. She kept herself trim by jogging, and nobody had a bad word to say about her. Phillip, with his even teeth and amenable manner, had done well for himself. Running his own very successful courier company business, from home. Not only that, he also gave up time to train the local under sixteen’s football team.

My large garden backed onto theirs. Having retired early it had been my life’s ambition to write a novel, and this seemed the perfect spot to fulfil the dream. However, I kept getting distracted as very quickly Phil and I became firm friends. He was adept at popping through my back-fence and luring me over to the local golf course for a tee or two. Sometimes the vicar would join us, and either way it was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Phil was not short of wit.

You could say I was enjoying my retirement immensely. Never more so than when Mr Normal was away on business for a few days and his Mrs would pop round with a portion of leftover apple pie, for a chat over a cup of tea. I’d not chosen to tie the knot myself. Such a life wouldn’t have suited me at all, and I’d had no desire to hear the patter of tiny feet. But — if I had met a woman like Julie-Anne, perhaps my resolve may have broken.

Although marriage wasn’t for me, that didn’t mean I wasn’t up for a bit of romance. And all it entailed. So now and then I’d check out the singles columns in a magazine and if someone caught my attention, I’d contact them and leave my rural retreat for a taste of the city delights. This proved somewhat hit and miss, but reminded me — I wasn’t dead yet.

On one such occasion, I’d arranged a date in an upmarket city wine-bar. The lonely hearts column operated anonymously, via correspondence with a box office number — so we’d both agreed to be wearing a daisy in a buttonhole. Immediate recognition rather than embarrassingly introducing ourselves to any likely person sitting alone.

Daisy in place, and a comfortable five mins late, I entered Berries Bar and in anticipation scanned the clientele. Hoping… maybe this time, I’d find my match.

I caught the flash of yellow and white flower moments before they had turned, looked over, and spotted mine.

That’s when I realised it wasn’t just me who had a secret. Walking over to the iron cast bistro table, with heart in mouth, I sat down and said,

“Hello Phil, fancy meeting you here.”


It’s Normal to have a Secret is linked to the Wicked Wednesday meme


Drama Prompt