Just The Driver: Part Thirteen

This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 743 words. **It may contain swearing!**

Since the beginning of March that year, I had been seeing a new girlfriend. Not that I saw much of her, as working six days a week on twelve hour night shifts wasn’t exactly conducive to socialising. But I liked her, and she seemed to like me. We had met by chance at a friend’s house. She was working with his wife, and had driven over to join them for dinner. I had popped in during my shift, and we seemed to get on immediately.

She was nothing like any of my previous girlfriends, and lived in a reasonably affluent part of South-West London with her parents. University educated, well-spoken and well-travelled, she had remarked that she was hoping to take time to obtain a teaching qualification, before moving on to become a lecturer at a college of further education. Her life couldn’t have been more different to mine, a cash-job unlicenced cabbie originally from an area she had never heard of, let alone visited.

But she was open to new experiences, and when I asked her for a date, she agreed. However, it was on the condition that she met me there, and could drive herself home.

I chose the Green Man in the Old Kent Road, a pub on the corner of the street where I had gone to school, and known for some very good Jazz nights on certain days of the week. We would both eat before, and meet for drinks reasonably late, after eight-thirty. I met her where she had told me she would park her car, and we went in together. She wanted to buy the first drink, which was very unusual to me. I came from a background where women never paid for anything, and most never learned to drive either.

You would be right to think that the conversation did not flow easily. The Jazz was very good, but rather loud. I had left school without going to university, and the jobs I had been doing before deciding to become a cab driver were nothing to boast about. She also had no idea about the criminal underclass in South-East London. Her rather genteel upbringing had excluded her from anything remotely nasty, or illegal. She was a modern woman from a crime-free suburb, and although we were close in age by just two weeks, we might just have well been from different countries.

During the evening, I asked her about her world travels. Her dad worked for Thomas Cook, the famous travel agency. I had been on a few school trips to France, and only on the ferry boat and trains. I had never been up in an aeroplane. She talked of world cruises, exotic destinations, all free of charge because of her father’s job. The only part of the world she had never visted was the Soviet Union, and The Falkland Islands. But she wasn’t boasting, as she was well-aware of her good fortune.

Later that evening, before we left, she mentioned that she had never been to Tunisia, and asked me if I would like to go with her. I readily agreed. I had briefly met her parents and sister, and they had been kind to me. But I knew that a cockney cab driver was far from their ideal of a partner for their daughter. Maybe a holiday together could be the thing? Before she left, I invited her to my house the next weekend, offering a spare room. She accepted, saying she was happy to share my room if my parents agreed.

My first ‘modern woman’.

I kissed her goodbye at her car, and drove home relishing my good fortune. This young woman would give me the wake-up call I needed to change my life. She had such a refreshing outlook, and expected nothing from me except to try new things. When I got back, my mum was still up, my dad away with his job. I asked my mum if my new girlfriend could stay one weekend. She saw the excitement in my face. “Of course. You’re not a boy anymore, but be careful. Don’t get her pregnant”.

Lying in bed that night, I was thinking about Tunisia. French colonial heritage, deserts, wonderful coastal resorts, and a history including Roman occupation, and Hannibal. I knew what had to happen soon. I had to get a real job, and stop cabbing.

I could no longer be just the driver.

30 thoughts on “Just The Driver: Part Thirteen

  1. Afraid this isn’t going to last. I suspect one or more of his clients are going to make an impromptu appearance in front of the new girlfriend.

    What did I do wrong? None of my first dates invited me to take a trip with them to Tunisia?🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) In the advice column of the newspaper;
    World Traveler: “Dear Abby, should I date an unlicensed cabbie? I suspect he’s inexperienced when it comes to sex.”
    Abigail Van Buren: “A green man is always attracted to a hot tomato who knows her way around the bedroom and the world.”
    (2) Be honest, Paul. We all know that it was Velma Kelly who asked you out, and not the other way around!
    ♬ Come on Paul, why don’t we paint the town?
    ♬ And all that jazz
    ♬ I’m gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down
    ♬ And all that jazz
    ♬ Start the car, I know a whoopee spot
    ♬ Where the gin is cold but the piano’s hot
    ♬ It’s just a noisy pub, where there’s a nightly brawl
    ♬ And all that jazz
    (3) Somewhat ironically, Velma’s dad, Thomas, worked at the Cook County Jail.
    (4) Paul had taken many trains, but he’d never taken the train to Busan. (For the life of me, I don’t know why.)
    (5) “Don’t get her pregnant.” (Paul never got Velma pregnant. But Roxie Hart claimed that Paul was the father of her child. Turns out, though, she lied. Whew!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “She was a modern woman from a crime-free suburb, and although we were close in age by just two weeks, we might just have well been from different countries.” That’s all it takes, a sweet face, and new opportunities, the rest is history…xxoo, C

    Liked by 1 person

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