Terry feels depressed and alone. Badly missing Jane's company.
Terry was just about to leave his bedroom. He picked up the framed photograph that his father had taken of Jane standing smiling at him the night they stopped at his house. He had always admired that photograph; how his father had perfectly captured that wonderful smile that lit up the whole of her pretty face. He continually regretted losing her to Bob and thought that he would probably never see her again. He had many friends in the RAF, but after he left the service he realised how lonely his life was. Both his brothers and his parents were now living in Australia. Although his family were constantly trying to persuade him to join them, he never felt any desire to do so.
He dated a few girls since Jane, some he liked more than others, but he never seemed to experience the same feelings that he got when he was in Jane's company. He knew that he could have got her back, and he thought that was perhaps what she had wanted, but he hadn't done what they both wanted, and that was the biggest regret of all. Why did he just give up? Why did he allow his jealous thoughts to interfere with his desire to spend his life with the most wonderful woman a man could wish for? He often thought about her, thinking how it might have been and knowing it was his stupid opinions of marriage that had put doubts into her mind in the first place. He would often fall into a deep depression, tormenting himself and wishing he had done things differently. Craving the past and playing the same batch of records repeatedly, records that reminded him of his times with her.
He kissed Jane's image and then carefully put the photograph back into its place before leaving to meet Brian at The Prince Of Wales.
Brian was waiting for him in the bar, but he had arranged to meet up his wife Marion at the bingo hall and only had time for a quick drink. He was trying to arrange a date between Terry and one of Marion's friends.
"So why won't you make up this foursome on Saturday, Terry? She's a tasty bit of stuff. Some blokes would kill to get in bed with her."
"I've already told you, I don't want a relationship at the moment thanks."
"Who's talking about a relationship? I'm talking about getting your end away. She's really got the hots for you."
"That's just what I don't need. I don't need some bird trying to get her hooks into me. I don't need anybody."
"You'd best get up to that new massage parlour at Stratford then, with all the other saddo's. All they want there is your money."
"Yeah all right, just piss off to the bingo and leave me alone. Huh, bingo, I don't know what's up with you."
"And I don't know what's up with you either. You're not the same Terry I used to know. Perhaps you should just fuck off back into the air force." Terry looked at Brian as he stood up to leave, but he never commented on his remarks. "Listen, Tel, we'll have a beer tomorrow night. We'll have a right bender like the old days. Maybe I'll be able to talk some sense into you when you're pissed. Oh, by the way, I won't be able to call at your site tomorrow. I've got a meeting over in Middlesex. Do us a favour, see if you can push the blokes a bit. I need to be off the site by the end of the month."
Terry looked around the bar as Brian left for the Bingo hall. There were only a few customers in the place and he knew none of them. He thought he might as well just go home and play a few records. Maybe Brian was right. Maybe he should just go back into the air force.
"Cheer up, Terry," the girl behind the bar commented. "It's not the end of the world, you know."
"No, you're right there," he said. "That happened a few years ago."
The girl shook her head as he turned to leave. "There's a free pint in the pump if you want it."
"No thanks." So, he thought, she fiddles a pint for me, and then she'll expect me to ask her out. Then it'll be meet the parents and before you know it I'll be trapped in her web.
He set off but didn't go home. Brian's words were in his head and he headed for Stratford. Well, why not, he thought.
Terry passed the doorway, walked a little way, and then turned back and passed the doorway again. He had almost gone in this time, but a young woman had walked out from the shop next door and he carried on past. He stopped at a Chinese restaurant and stood pretending to read the menu until the woman had walked off. He looked back along the street to the sign hanging above the doorway:
CINDY'S MASSAGE PARLOUR.
Terry started back towards the entry. Just walk into the porch, he thought. It's only one step to the side then the worst bit is over. Once committed and in the porch, there will be no turning back. He glanced at the public house on the other side of the road and wondered if the people were looking out of the bar windows at the perv's going into the massage parlour. Is that what he was? Was he a perv'? He dismissed the thought. No, he just wanted a bit of attention, a bit of companionship without any commitment, a pretence of love from a stranger that would mean nothing to him afterwards.
Terry made the turn into the porch and began to climb the marble stairs. The sound of his footsteps echoed up the stairway and he tried to walk without the heels of his shoes clicking on the floor as he crossed the landing. The door on the right had the name of a solicitor on a small brass plate; the pink door on the left displayed the name, CINDY'S, in large black letters.
There was a bell push on the left doorpost and Terry walked across to press it, but the door opened before he had reached the button. A tubby grey-haired man walked out, a large grin beaming across his face. He ignored the greeting from the man, being more interested in the attractive young girl standing at the door giving him a seductive and inviting look.
"Well are you coming in?" she asked. She stepped back and he walked through. It surprised him how plush and clean it looked inside, not the seedy joint that he had been expecting. He stood at the desk watching as the girl walked around to the other side.
"Are you one of the girls?" He asked.
"Well I'm a girl," she said. "Well spotted."
"No, I mean do you do it, do you do the massaging?"
"Goodness me no, I just do the reception. If you want Cindy, then you'll have to wait a while, she's just freshening up. But Hayley's free at the moment." She looked across and tipped her head slightly towards the lounge.
Terry turned and saw a girl sitting in the lounge looking over through the doorway and smiling at him, a familiar smile. She stood up and walked towards him. He suddenly felt flushed. "Joyce," he said in surprise.
"Hayley, call me Hayley in here, Terry."
"Hayley!" he laughed. "This is crazy."
She laughed with him. "It's a bit of a shock for the both of us, isn't it?"
Terry looked at her as she stood in the doorway wearing just a see-through nightdress, underwear and stockings. Her legs looked long and slender, her face glowing with a false rosy hue. She stood as if she were posing for a camera, giving a knowing cheeky smile that complimented the image of bold sexuality that she was portraying. How could this be Joyce? "A massage, I've only come for a massage. I feel a bit tense," he said, trying to justify his visit.
She gave a chuckle. "We'll see about that. But don't worry about the expense Terry. Just pay the door fee, the rest is on me. It's time to finish what I started all those years ago." She winked at him before walking provocatively towards one of the rooms. "This way Terry," she said.
* * * * *
The next morning Terry arrived for work feeling depressed. Was that how he was to spend the rest of his life, just getting drunk or going off to see Joyce at the massage parlour? He had no family now outside of Australia, all his friends were married and seemed as if they were on a different planet to him, and he had no interest in starting a relationship. All he could think of was Jane, every day, every night she would visit his mind at some time. He thought that his only hope was to visit a hypnotist to have her memory removed from his mind before it destroys him. But he wondered how he could do that when he still feels so much in love with her.
A huge crane with a two-ton demolition ball clattered and vibrated as it inched its way towards an old and derelict building. The tracked loading shovel travelled a lot faster as it rumbled across the slabs of concrete in top gear. As it came close to the building, it slewed round with its back to the girders. Piles of small broken concrete lay at the foot of the four upright girders on the corner of the building, where it had been chipped away to reveal the bare steel. Terry held the cutting torch as a barrage of sparks shot out, tiny droplets of molten steel, the larger ones popping as they hit the floor.
The crane driver approached him and he stopped cutting. "We're going across to the cafe for a bit of breakfast."
"Okay, I'll get breakfast after I've finished," he said. "I'll have this done by the time you get back. Can you track the crane a bit further away? I don't think we'll need it, she should collapse all right." The man walked off to move the crane and Terry carried on with the cutting, carefully watched by his lookout. He put two angled cuts through each side of the four girders, and then a hole through one of the outside ones and another hole through the side of the inside one. His lookout threaded a wire rope through the first hole and then attached it to the inside steel with a large shackle. The lookout went back outside and vigilantly looked for any sign of the slightest movement as Terry cut triangles of steel out of the inch-thick sides of the upright girders. He dragged the trolley of cutting equipment further into the building and clear of the area of collapse, and then walked outside to join his friend. The wire rope had been attached to the tracked machine and the four bays of the three-storey building stood waiting to be collapsed.
The men returned from the cafe and started the tracked machine to pull out the inside steel. The inside steel was pulled out, the building sat slightly and then the other three girders popped out. There was a rapid multitude of creaks and groans before the whole corner of the building dropped and collapsed inward causing a great rumble and a huge cloud of dust. Terry had prepared the job well.
The men gave out a cheer and the dust cleared just as Brian’s Ford Capri pulled up on site. Terry walked over to him and noticed that despite the successful collapse of the building, he did not look happy.
“I’ve just come from the office. They said you are leaving on Friday. What the hell’s going on Terry?”
“I’m going back to Uxbridge. I was happy there.”
“You can be happy here, Terry. You need to snap out of that depression and move on. They might not let you back in the RAF at your age anyway.”
“I’m only twenty-five, they will let me in again, but I would probably not get back to Uxbridge. They do sometimes have civi’ drivers at Uxbridge and maybe...”
“Maybe bollocks. You can’t go. You are my best supervisor. There is a good future for you with me. Please, Terry, don’t do this.
“Remember it was your idea, you said f-off back in the RAF. Well, It’s done. I’m going and there is nothing you or anyone else can do. So accept it, and wish me luck.”
Brian got back in the car and started the engine. “I tell you what I wish. I wish you would get some psychiatric help because you’re not right in the head. You’ve let me down, Terry.” Without another word, Brian sped off.