Kevin couldn’t remember a day in his life when he had felt better. He went to see Mr Reynolds before work started. He wanted a photo taken before he got his overalls dirty. After telling the older man all about what was going on with Alice, he handed him the phone, posing awkwardly outside the main entrance to the workshops. The rest of the day was good too, and he found himself working at great speed, with everything going smoothly. Smiling to himself, he had to wonder if coping at work was more about mood, as he had never enjoyed himself that much before.
At home that night, he ate dinner with his parents, to save Mum nagging again. By the time he got upstairs to sort out adding the new photo to send to Alice, he felt more relaxed than he had done in years. Once he had attached the photo to the message, he thought carefully about what to type.
Dear Alice, your last message was wonderful. To think I am the sort of person you could fall in love with is the best thing anyone has ever said to me. I am sending another photo, as you asked. It was taken outside where I work, so I’m sorry that I am only wearing work clothes. I am still looking forward to arranging that meeting. Did you think anymore about me coming to collect you? Or as you don’t want me to send money, I could arrange to send a ticket instead. But then I would have to know your address.
I hope you won’t mind me saying this, but I’m sure I am already in love with you. If the feelings I have inside are anything to go by, I am certain of that. I hope that isn’t too much to say at this stage, but I can tell you I have never been happier.
Love, Kevin. xx
Alice smiled as she scanned over the message and studied the photo. He looked much better, full-length. Well-built, and probably strong too. He had taken the bait about the love thing, just as she suspected he might. Perhaps she should give him some encouragement. He did indeed seem to be genuine, unlike all of the others.
Oh dear Kevin, that’s such a lovely thing to say to me, I am rather overwhelmed. To imagine that you love me without even meeting me is very exciting. I liked your photo, and think you are tall and handsome. The work clothes don’t matter at all. I will think about your suggestion of sending me a ticket. I am sure you are a nice man, but I am very concerned about sending my address to anyone. If we think about it, no doubt we can work out a way. I really wouldn’t want you to have to travel all that distance, just to turn around and go back again. That wouldn’t be fair.
I hope it will not be too long before I feel strong enough to travel to meet you. I am looking forward to seeing you, and Wilbur and Blackie too. But I have to be sure that your parents will be happy for me to stay, as they know nothing about me. Perhaps you should tell them about your little Alice? Let me know what they say. I couldn’t bear to visit in a bad atmosphere.
Love, Alice. xx
Kevin read her message with his heart beating fast. Yes, it was time to tell Mum. Dad wouldn’t care either way. And he had a thought about the tickets too. If she didn’t want to send her address, he completely understood that. He could buy the ticket online, in her name. Then it could be collected from the coach station where she lived. All he would need was her surname, and she could show some ID at the other end. He replied immediately.
My dear little Alice, I am going to go downstairs and talk to my Mum about you now. I will show her your photos, so she can see how lovely you are, and tell her how I feel about you. If you stay online, I will tell you all about it soon.
Love, Kevin. xx
To say his Mum was surprised was an understatement. She came up with all the expected objections. “You don’t know hardly anything about her, love”. “How can you feel so strongly about someone you have not even spoken to, let alone met?” “Are you sure she hasn’t asked you to send her money? You can tell me if she has”. Kevin kept his cool. It would have been easy to argue, but then it would just end up in a shouting match, and then it would be impossible for Alice to stay. He waited until Mum had gone through the photos, watching her shake her head as she did so. “There’s nothing of her”. “She doesn’t look very strong love”. “Are you sure she really is twenty-two? She has the body of a little girl”. When he was sure that she had run out of negatives, he spoke quietly to her.
“Mum, why is it so hard to believe that someone like Alice could love me? Don’t you want me to be happy? Surely you don’t just expect me to live here forever with you and Dad? If you are not interested in me having my own life, then maybe it’s best if I move out, and rent a flat on my own”. His Mum looked as if she was about to start crying, and then his Dad suddenly turned around in the armchair, interrupting his watching of the late news. “Tell her to come, Kevin. We will be pleased to welcome her, won’t we, Cheryl?” Mum chewed her lip, nodding slowly.
“Of course we will love”.