Chere Julie, dear Jules. (Part 20)
Jules Lablagues xx
Ma chere Julie,
Next month we shall meet and I am already very excited. Luckily, Jacqueline has been sleeping over for the past week and it is only her company that has enabled me to sleep. She is such a comfort when I am troubled but last night it was my turn to comfort her. Most of the time she talks happily about you and welcomes you as a sister but there are moments when she feels insecure and fears that you are a danger to our friendship. I try to reassure her that I am her friend and will remain so for ever but she seems unconvinced and clings to me like a mussel to a rock. I told her about your dream and she confessed that she was afraid you and I would get married and she would become just a distant acquaintance. I told her that if we did get married she would always be welcome in our house. This seemed to calm her.
There. I have spoken of marriage and, although I was only hypothesising, I do not rule out the possibility of you and I getting married one day. For a long time I have pretended that my feelings for you were those of a mere friend but I can no longer sustain the deception. I am painfully attracted to you and love you in so many different ways. I love you as a brother loves a sister and a father loves a daughter. I love you as a son loves his mother and a friend loves a friend but, more than that, I love you as a man loves a woman and it is this that distiguishes you from Jacqueline. I love her dearly but in only one way and that is fraternal but you represent every aspect of womanhood to me. It was not my intention to bare my soul so freely until a later date but it has happened and there is no going back. Although I have never met you in person I have fallen in love with you as much as I am capable of falling in love. Maybe when we meet you will show me that I am able to love much more than I imagine and I will welcome this. I want to love you to the limit of my capability and a little bit more.
I did not need to see you in person in order to fall in love with you; it has happened through an exchange of spirits. I do not think I could live without loving you. I have often wondered whether it was possible to fall in love without meeting and have come to the conclusion that we have been meeting for the last nine months and our physical presence accounts for a mere few per cent of a relationship. We already know each other spiritually. I hope I am not making a fool of myself by writing these things. I feel I have been hypocritical in urging you to reveal your innermost thoughts while concealing my own. This was done because I was unsure, not of my feeling for you, dear Julie, but, of how you felt towards me. I was so afraid of being rejected that I dared not express myself honestly and openly. This is something that must be corrected before we meet.
I recognise there are many differences between us, not least in the area of social status, but why should they be a hindrance to our blossoming friendship? My fascination and desire for you is based on these differences. You represent another world and I have been privileged to enter it through your kindness and tolerance. I realise I have been afforded protection from the, often, harsh reality of normal, everyday experience by my family's wealth and position but money has been incapable of shielding me from the harsh reality of my own private, cloistered upbringing. Although we are very different, you and I, we share a common humanity and a universal soul. Superficially, we are like chalk and cheese but, under the surface, I believe we are very alike.
You have often expressed you fears about feeling isolated when you meet my cousins and I have a suggestion to make. I could send two cars on the 2nd with room for twelve people. If you wish, you could bring your family and friends with you so you will not feel so alone. Those who wished to return at the end of the day could be driven home and the others could stay, if only for a night. I am sure this would help you feel more comfortable and help to quell your fears. If they all wish to stay overnight I am sure it could be arranged. The gate-keeper's house is unoccupied at the moment and there are six bedrooms. This would afford a great deal of privacy. They could eat in the main house and when they are ready to retire they could be driven to the Lodge. It is not so far but one cannot be too careful; the peacocks can be very aggressive if they are woken up suddenly.
Although I understand you are nervous about meeting my cousins, let me assure you that they also feel certain trepidations about meeting you. I spite of their great wealth, their name, lands, properties and status they are just ordinary, simple people. They are afraid their hospitality will fall short of that you are used to and they telephone me constantly to ask my advice on what should be done if a certain situation arises. I tell them not to worry and assure them that you will not be a demanding guest. I have insisted they treat you as one of the family and no differently than they treat me. I think you would want it this way. If they do fail to come up to your expectations, I hope you will forgive them, as I am sure you will. They are very easy-going people and I am sure you will like them. They would like you to give your recipe for sausages, mashed potato and cabbage to their chef and they want to know if you make your own sausages. If this is so but you wish to keep the recipe a secret then they will understand.
It will not be long now, dear julie, and my waiting will be over.
With all my greatest love and affection,
13 Beach Street
My darling Jules,
I really dont know what to say. Nobody ever told me that they loved me before at least not a man and I dont know how to take it. I'm sure you means what you says but you never met me and that might change things. You says that it really dont matter that we never met in person but I thinks its really important. You've only seen one photo of me and I picked out the best one and it was taken a couple of years ago. I looks a bit different now and on top of that I got bags under my eyes from not sleeping through being scared to dream that same dream what I told you about. Last night was the same again but when you told me to go upstairs I started going and I went up a few steps feeling really petrified before I woke up and I couldnt fall asleep again and it was only just gone midnight. I laid there with my eyes wide open until seven o clock when I heard my dad in the kitchen making a pot of tea.
I'm sure you loves me in your own way but I'm scared your going to be disappointed when you sees who you've fallen in love with. I loves you too but I dont want to get my heart broke and thats why I'm thinking that maybe its better that we carries on just writing to each other and loving each other rather than spoil it all by meeting each other. Its not too late to change my plans. If you like we can put off seeing each other for a year and see if we still feels the same way about each other. I dont think I will stop loving you ever and I thinks your the nicest man I never met. Your the first man I ever felt I could really trust and I knows you wouldnt do nothing to hurt me but I'm still scared. Sometimes I wonders if I deserves to be loved and I tells myself that of course I do but then I looks at myself in the mirror and thinks about what I am really like and I wonders how anybody could love me. I thinks a lot about what I could do to make myself more lovable and not just about losing a few pounds or getting a new dress. I'm not really interesting and I even makes myself bored and I wants to do something with my life. What I'd really like to do is go back to school and really study this time. I wasted most of my time in school with daydreaming about when I was going to be a famous dress designer. If I'd listened and concentrated and done my homework I bet i could have got lots of GCSEs and maybe a couple A levels. If you got two A levels you can go to university and thats what I'd like to do but I dont know how you goes about getting back into school.
I just read what I wrote and I dont know what you must be thinking about me. One moment I'm talking about not seeing you for a year and the next thing I'm going on about getting myself a proper education. I dont really mean it about not seeing you for a year because I dont think I could wait so long and I dont want to anyway. I want to see you as soon as possible and tomorrow wouldnt be too early or even today.
I think I should just go over the plans you sent for the 2nd. You says that two cars will be arriving at my house at nine o clock in the morning and theres room for six people in each one. Is that right. In one car there will be me and my mum and dad and two sisters and my grandmother. In the other one will be Keith and Dave Roberts and Mike Norris and a couple of minders. Theyre only coming to look at the house and then theyre going back again if someone will give them a lift back here. My grandmother is only staying for one night but she takes a bit of looking after so the first day I'll probably be very busy with her. My mum will look after her in the night. They will all go back the next day and I'll be left alone with lots of strangers speaking French and you've got to promise me that you'll stay with me all the time and do most of the talking. I wouldnt know what to say if someone started with that parlez vous stuff. See I can remember some of the French I learned in school. By the way I told Dave Roberts and all the others that they cant come into the house and theyre only allowed to look at it from the outside and they says thats alright.
Daves face should be all healed up by then and him and Kirsty will probably be back together. Its really nice that my family can come with me on the first day because I'm sure theyll help me keep relaxed. My mum will pack a bag with all my favourite food in it and my dad bought a French English dictionary but I think he got it cheap because all the words are blurred and you cant read them proper. Never mind its the thought that counts. Keith wants to know if theres a cocktail bar in the car like he's seen in films and my dad says that if there is he wants to ride in Keiths car. He says it like he is joking but he really misses getting drunk. He tries to get my mum to let him go to the pub one night a week but she wont let him. She says its all or nothing with him and she wouldnt trust him to have just a little. Sharon wants to know if the drivers will be in uniform because she got this thing about men in uniform. All our neighbours and in fact most of the people in the street are going to come out and wave goodbye and lots of them are going to take photos of us getting into the cars and driving off. Its really exciting.
With the peacocks and everything your cousins place seems like something from a Walt Disney film and its going to be really special and even more exciting with you there as well. I stops breathing when I thinks about meeting you and I goes a bit dizzy. I just almost fainted because I was stopped breathing for the longest time thinking about you. I dont want to stop writing but I got lots of things to do and get arranged. I've never been away from home for more than a few days before and its a lot to think about. I'm always remembering one thing or another that I'd forgot and I'm sure I'm going to forget something really important.
The one really important thing that I'll never forget is that you loves me and I loves you and thats the most important thing of all.
Please give my regards to your family and tell them that I'm really looking forward to seeing them.
All my dearest love,
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