In the Christian calendar, today – January 6th – is the feast of the Epiphany., marking the day that the Three Kings turned up at the stable with the gold, frankincense and myrrh. More recently, it’s become the day you’re supposed to take down the decorations.
On a still more secular level, however, the word ‘epiphany’ has come to mean a moment of sudden or great realisation or revelation and it is fortuitous that Epiphany is also the day that WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts’ happens to come up with this:
“My favourite. What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favourite person. Tell us about it”
Yes, yes, I’m going to.
It should come as no surprise that my favourite person is Madame (sorry kids, but you know better than anyone how it is). The most time I have ever spent apart from her is the twenty years before we met. Twenty years that ended with an epiphany.
It was the summer of 1972, the end of my second year at University. As all right-thinking students should, during the holidays I used to go to the local pub: sometimes with my dad, sometimes with my brother, occasionally on my own. I’d certainly noticed one in particular of the young ladies working behind the bar. Undeniably attractive (and how!), but in a quiet, understated, way. I fancied her, as the saying goes, something rotten.
Not that I did anything about it, for a whole variety of reasons. For a start, she already had a boyfriend, who also worked behind the bar – although fortunately most of the time he was in the public bar whereas I, being of a more delicate constitution, drank in the Lounge. Then there was the fact that most nights her father was in there too. The real clincher explaining my inaction, though, was my own crippling shyness, reinforced by the certain knowledge that she was way too good for the likes of me.
But then…one evening I went up there on my own. It must have been a Friday or a Saturday, because the place was absolutely packed. The Lounge was a big room and the bar was against the far wall, so when I stepped through the door from outside there must have been a tleast a hundred people between her and me.
Didn’t matter. Couldn’t have mattered less. It was like the rest of the room was in darkness and she had been picked out by a spotlight. I couldn’t see anyone else. There wasn’t anyone else. A the same time I quite clearly heard a voice in my head saying “That’s the girl you’re going to marry”.
Even if it took a few more visits and, eventually, the best part of a half bottle of
Dutch courage vodka before I screwed up the courage to ask for a pint of bitter…’and a barmaid to take out’.
Now be honest: can you blame me?