Lighting the flame of hope.

Sometime Soon

Slipping off her shoes, Elisa, deftly, stepped from the floor onto the bench and then skipped onto the bare table top. It was the days before ubiquitous CCTV so we were unobserved and so we were free.

Elisa danced barefoot on the table, she was wearing jeans and a cheesecloth white and blue shirt, her long, thick hair was gorgeous, cascading over her shoulder. I could not believe I was with two genuine beauties.

Already, Amanda was following Elisa onto the table and was disco dancing, gyrating her hips before I could reach the table. Both barefoot, their flared jeans looking like curtains trying to shroud their toes.

Also, Amanda had a very cool leather jacket given to her by her mother and a white t-shirt, reminiscent of The Fonz from Happy Days, a sitcom set in of all places, a burger bar.

We were cool at school, but these girls were in a different category. They were London cool. They were both beautiful, not just attractive but stunning. I was overawed. I had to join them. There was no choice.

Sometime Soon

Untying the laces on my blue suede shoes that Simon had helped me to choose. I kept my socks on, an ingrowing toenail after a horse stepped on my toe made me self-conscious about naked feet and I enjoyed sliding over the smooth surface as I danced. However, my mother had made me totally the opposite when dancing and with her and three sisters to teach me, I could waltz, tango and disco dance.

Every party at home ended with us performing Zorba’s dance, the Greek fancy foot work, arm over arm group affair where left foot went over the right as you moved to the right and the right foot crossed over the left as you moved to the left; a line of people joined at the shoulders, draping hands over each other’s arms, snaked into the dining room, the library, the surgery and up the stairs to Georgina’s room, then into Catherina’s room, overlooking the common, then into Fiona’s room, then across the landing and up to my mother’s room, Patrick’s room and into the bedroom Anton and I shared.

Sometime Soon

While this was going on the music, played from a gramophone in the hall, was getting faster and faster and the pace was increasing correspondingly, it was a miracle no one twisted an ankle or damaged themselves. Then, we zig-zagged back down to the kitchen where everyone collapsed exhausted and had another drink.

At BJs, on the table, we strutted our stuff, listening to the Bee Gees, Barry White, Gloria Gaynor, K C and The Sunshine Band, The Rolling Stones and Bowie’s fame. Wildly dancing, to the music, not caring about anything but the rhythm, we eventually jumped off the table, I was sweating and both Amanda and Elisa were glowing. I had rarely had so much fun outside of my family. These two were uninhibited and fun. The girls I had met were not. It was intoxicating.

Both were out of my league but perhaps they might be friends.

Of course, it turned out that they were.

Inviting me to a party, which was at the end of the summer was kind of her, but it was a disaster. Most people had gone away for the summer, France, Greece, Gibraltar, Ibiza, Majorca, and Malta; you name it they were there. Amanda’s mother, Pam ran a lighting company and Zenith had to light the groups as they mounted their summer tours. Her holiday was late. My siblings had gone off to see various European or, in my middle sister’s case, Trinidadian friends. I was at a loose end.

Written by Michael Fitzalan

Sometime Soon

Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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