Very much in the way that I always wanted to check into a hotel and ask if I've any messages - "Certainly, Miss Ingenii, if you'll wait one moment" - as if I was sought by important people, who needed my attention when I'm on holiday, as if there are no such things as cell phones and emails, as if I was English, wearing a pillbox hat and gloves in 1963, and perhaps my name was Julie Christie; that is also how I'd love to have a friend named Torquil, or maybe Crispin or Nigel.
Friends named Torquil always invite you to Greek islands where they've been lent a house. "I've been a lent a house, pet, and it'd be heaven if you could come. A few of us are gathering to while away the season - and Corfu is darling this time of year."
I suppose I've spent too much time with Rosamunde Pilcher, who (and, by the way, your mother wants you to call home. I know this, because she's spending time with her, too) makes a great deal of people being lent houses, if not for a season in Greece, than for a weekend in the Highlands, shooting grouse or walking along windy beaches wearing Shetland sweaters and flappy cotton skirts.
If there is grouse in Chicago, I will be highly surprised. Stella has to go to the Windy City in November, for business Ė enviable, really, because it involves attending art shows, and wearing black turtlenecks Ė and has urged me to meet her there. Itís a tiny hop for me, it costs virtually nothing, and it involves seeing two other good and lovely friends. And even though neither of the boys are named Torquil nor have any interest in ruining a perfectly good friendship, (though they might consider it if my name was Nigel), Stella really didnít have to twist my arm too much.
So Iím going to Chicago in November. Itís not a house on a Greek island, but Iím reasonably sure this will be more fun. Iíve been promised a gay, line-dancing country bar (Brokeback Mountain Ė The Musical if you will), lots of art and black turtlenecks, and a look at that giant silver bean thatís on all the postcards.
Honestly, I canít wait. I miss my friends terribly. But wouldnít it be lovely if, when I checked into the hotel, there was a message waiting for me?
I really ought to buy a pillbox hat.
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