Friday, 26 June 2020

Dear Margaret, Love Fred

by Hannah Retallick
Champagne

Margaret,
Perhaps you might have noticed that I’ve put out your recycling bins this morning. I wasn’t sure if you had intended to and forgotten, or whether, due to their being only half full, you had judged it best to save them until next week. If the latter, my apologies.
Kind regards,
Fred.

Margaret,
You might be interested to know that I intend to hire a skip soon, too big to be filled by myself alone. You are welcome to make use of it. Anything from fallen trees to broken fridges, or even old planks from the patio.
Kind regards,
Fred.

Margaret,
A belated happy birthday. It is a shame that you could not have a proper celebration. The balloon display is most impressive, though.
Best wishes,
Fred.
P.S. I find it hard to believe that you have reached the age of 70. I am happy to report that, health allowing, it is a wonderful decade. (I say this with some trepidation; I have three years more before I can give a comprehensive account.)

Margaret,
Thank you for your note. It was much appreciated.
I’m glad you liked it. A happy coincidence: I also love hedgehogs. I’m sorry that it wasn’t a birthday card; I thought it best not to venture to the Post Office in this ‘present climate’, seeing as I am in the ‘vulnerable’ category. (As are you, now, I might add!)
I suppose I have always been this way. I cannot think of the right things to say in person. My mother once said that I could be a great orator, if my mind were to work a mere five seconds quicker; it is no longer a problem with close family and friends, but I still find it difficult with relative strangers.
Fred.

Margaret,
Thank you for your note. It is rather fun, isn’t it? It puts me in mind of a young lady I once knew; we used to enjoy exchanging secret letters. She also lived next door. It is not often that the concept of ‘history repeating itself’ feels so optimistic.  
Best wishes,
Fred.
P.S. For the sake of full disclosure, I must add that my association with the young lady ended when she ‘took a shine’ to the paper boy. I trust that will not happen in this case!

Margaret,
Thank you for your note. I can’t quite read your second paragraph, but perhaps you could tell me what it contains in person.
That would be delightful. Should we pretend to bump into each other, coincidentally? Should we walk on opposite sides of the road? I am, of course, joking. I shall meet you outside at ‘precisely 10am or thereabouts’, as my dad used to say.
Best wishes,
Fred.

Margaret,
Thank you, again, for a lovely day. It was most enjoyable, although your knowledge of sea birds puts me to shame. Perhaps we might take a different route next time, somewhere with hedgerows, for instance. I would fare much better.
Love,
Fred.
P.S. When we next meet, would you mind if I walk in front? My hearing is not what it was, and two metres is quite a stretch.


About the author
Hannah Retallick is a twenty-six-year-old from Anglesey, North Wales. She was home educated and then studied with the Open University, graduating with a First-class honours degree, BA in Humanities with Creative Writing and Music, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing. She was shortlisted in the Writing Awards at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2019, the Cambridge Short Story Prize, the Henshaw Short Story Competition June 2019, and the Bedford International Writing Competition 2019. https://ihaveanideablog.wordpress.com/

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