This a true story which I heard from someone I know very well; I have changed all the details and concealed and changed the identities and locations of all; only the actual story line is as it was. I have called the main character Blaine, who, if you have read it, you might remember was the sister of someone in my novel ‘Farhom’. I’m imagining that Blaine is the person in my true story
The Easthope and Area Local History Museum was located in what had been the old umbrella factory; part of the building housed the museum, and was attached to community areas, a café, meeting rooms, and storage for all the items not on display. There was a suite of rooms housing records and archives, which anyone and any group could access – completing all the correct paperwork and through the proper channels of course! Another part of the building was undergoing development as a town art gallery, but funding was slow in coming through so the completion date was repeatedly delayed. There was also a proposal that the library should move from its cramped Victorian building at the other end of town and be accommodated at the other end; this would allow for all the modern facilities libraries now accommodated such as computers.
Blaine had first come to the museum when it opened with her husband Tom; he was very interested in rope making and knots for some reason, and the first exhibition had been about the local fishing industry over the last couple of hundred years. Because it was a special event in the ‘new’ museum, there were refreshments, and talks, and competitions and activities for children. Tom had wandered off and Blaine for some reason stopped to listen to a brief talk about bricks; the main brick producing area had been the local big town of Castair, but Easthope had also had brick kilns.
Blaine found that she was more interested in the man giving the talk than the bricks he was talking about. he was a lot younger than her, maybe fortyish, but she thought he was stunningly good-looking. Someone spoke her name and touched her arm and it was her friend, Penelope.
“Surely you’re not interested in bricks?” Penny whispered.
“No,” Blaine whispered back, “But I’m enjoying the view!” Penny looked mystified. “The guy who’s talking!”
The brief talk finished and the two women wandered away looking for their husbands. Blaine would have stopped to ask pointless questions about bricks just to chat to the handsome curator but it seemed silly. Penny hadn’t even noticed him, and when Blaine pointed to him, now moving chairs about for another longer talk in another area, Penny seemed perplexed at her interest; he looked quite ordinary to her.
After that, Blaine visited the museum as often as she could without it being ridiculous, and felt silly and school-girlish in her secret crush on the man who worked there. He was married, she learned somehow, married to the deputy of the local junior school where many, many years ago, Blaine’s two daughters had gone. He had three children, quite young, and his name was Darius.
Blaine’s book club started to meet in one of the alcoves of the museum café – the museum encouraged groups to come and use their space. Sometimes Darius would be working, but often not; Penny had once made some comment about him to the others, calling him Blaine’s ‘eye-candy’ – a term which she hated, and which made her feel ridiculous.
One afternoon, having spent all morning decorating the lounge, Blaine went out for a walk and fresh air. it began to rain and the nearest place was the museum so she hurried over and went to have a coffee and a piece of the café’s renowned lemon drizzle cake.
It was very busy, but she sat, a book on her table, reading as she always did when she was somewhere alone. A couple came, shared her table, then left, but it was still raining and Blaine didn’t fancy going back to the decorating.
She sensed someone near her, and there, clearing the coffee cups from her table was Darius.
“Hi!” she said, spontaneously.
He greeted her and grinned, a dazzling smile…
If you haven’t read Farholm, here is a link: