The International Writers
There comes a
time for everyone when you have to meet someone you used to know.
The very fact that there are billions and trillions of people in
this world and that you do not meet them all yet continue to meet
the same people, the blasts from the pasts is an odd one. But that
is what we do.
For Guy Block it
was a habitual hazard. When you have put it about as much as he has
you are absolutely certain to bump into old flames. No matter how much
water has supposedly doused them over the years rather than simply flowed
under the bridge.
It was a big problem for Guy, simply because there had been so many
conquests over the years that he may recognise them but quite often
could not name them. It became a game almost.
Call My Muff you might say
Its being reminded of the past that is the awful thing. Times
when you were happy, times when you were sad, times you are embarrassed
about, a time when you were young. However there are sometimes when
even a coward like Block has to bite the bullet, to put on hold his
sexual present and instead face up to his sexual past and see his daughter.
Rhiannon was now 30 years of age and bluntly, Guy Block had never really
been there for her. She was a product of the 1970s, hence the name given
to her, a tribute to the Fleetwood Mac song of the same name. Back in
the day Guy had been living with Rhiannons mother, Angelica, an
American lecturer who was new age even before the old one had finished.
Slender, slim, pert, blonde, vegetarian and yoga addicted, in short,
hell to live with. But they had their moments, usually in the bedroom
and from one of them came Rhiannon.
As the train shunted into London Euston, Guy was reminded of the day
he and Angelica broke up. She was complaining of his drinking and recreational
drug use for a while but especially of his recreational sex with others.
Their time had come; they knew that the relationship had died. They
had sex by way of saying goodbye, it was the 70s after all, and when
that was over, Guy had played Angie by The Rolling
Stones by way of summarising something and apologising for everything.
As he left the flat he kissed baby Rhiannon on the head and smelt deeply
the aroma that only young babies have one last time.
He crossed the ticket barrier and walked through the mezzanine looking
almost in a daze. He recalled the two other times he had seen his daughter,
once at the age of twelve at a school sports day her mother invited
him along to, and the other was the last time they met. It had been
three years since, too long. They met back then at her request, she
had reached an age where she realised that being adult doesnt
necessarily make you wise and that having a child doesnt necessarily
make you a father. In short she had forgiven him. Up ahead stood a slim
girl wrapped in a long Oxfam coat. She waved across and Guy walked towards
her, his daughter.
"Hello Dad" she said
"Rhi" Guy stammered, a little more than usual and let out
a heavy sigh, a little heavier than usual. After a brief pause they
hugged each other tight
"Haha!" Guy called out joyously
"Dad, youre embarrassing me" Rhiannon said muffled by
"Good" said Guy and finally pulled away to drink in his daughters
appearance. She was beautiful. An elfin face with wide green eyes looked
up at him, her pleasant features crowned by a shock of short feathery
natural blonde hair. Guy couldnt resist ruffling it with his hand
and she giggled as he did so.
"How are you?" she asked of him
"Good, phew, yeah good, and you?"
"Im great thanks" she replied
. hows your mother?" he asked tentatively
"Shes fine" Rhiannon replied as they started to walk
through the crowds out of the station.
"Pity" Guy said jokingly, gaining a nudge from his daughter.
They found a table in a little jazz café, the type that house
a little combo who try to deafen you with absurd time signatures as
you eat and drink. As their drinks order arrived Rhiannon asked; "How
are my little step siblings?"
Ah the terrible twins. Jeremy and Jemima, from Guys second attempt
at an adult relationship. How can you summarise what are essentially
the spawn of the devil, the real life Damiens?
"Fine, lovely" Guy lied
"Liar. Theyre a living hell huh?" Rhiannon countered
with a giggle
Guy snorted a laugh and agreed.
"Well its your fault for having kids at your age!"
"Im in my fifties! It isnt old you know, Mick Jagger
can still have kids so can I, besides Francine wanted children, shes
a lot younger and her biological thingy was yknow going thingy"
Guy wailed impotently. Though as he did he pondered that maybe its
a pity that the only impotence he had was vocally.
" Youre in your mid fifties, and it is old, old enough to
cut out the lechery" Rhiannon said, only half teasing, "I
read a piece in Private Eye about you again the other week, The
Eros Of English Departments how you keep hold of your job I do
not know, Dad it's embarrassing"
"The swines, you shouldnt believe everything you read you
know" Guy admonished before adding after a slight pause "even
if it is true" he smirked
"Hows Francine?" Rhiannon asked
"French" Guy batted back quickly as if her nationality explained
her manner. "No shes ok, sends her love"
"Shed have to be ok coping with you, are you living together
at the moment?"
well no, ummm, not, ummm
"Umm! Umm!" Rhiannon mocked, "Dad, you sound like a Red
Indian from The Dandy, spit it out"
"No, not at the mo" he replied quietly
"Ah. Who said lightning couldnt strike twice?" Rhiannon
"Oh come on now Francine knows what Im like, she was a student
herself yknow thats how I met her, she knows my predilections
" Guy started
"No Dad its true, and I dont mean your student shagging
though thats bad enough, I mean you and kids, those kids are growing
up just the same as me, fatherless"
The mood had dropped dramatically. This was not going well.
Waiters have the natural timing of the finest comedians, either that
or state of the art bugging devices that the CIA can only dream of.
Either way just as Rhiannon had spat out her words part angrily and
part upset, the waiter appeared and lay down their plates.
They ate in relative silence.
As they finished and Guy dabbed his mouth with a napkin, "thanks
for the birthday card" he said softly.
"You got it?" she asked not looking up. "Good"
"Look I am sorry you know," Guy said pleadingly
"I know, I know," she admitted.
"I cant change, I never have been able to really, not for
your mother, not for Francine, not for you, not even for myself"
he replied honestly, and after a pause added, "It doesnt
mean that I dont think that you are the best thing that ever happened
to me, nor that I dont love you very, very much, I do" he
moved his hand across the white table cloth and held it palm open.
Rhiannon clasped it and with a slight tear in her eye said, "Thanks.
I love you too, and I think you have changed in some way, you prove
that every time you say those words"
It isnt many girls who have made Guy Block cry. Scream with rage
or despair, feel sorry for himself and say Bollocks to them all yes,
but cry, no. Those that did were beautiful, and Rhiannon was the most
beautiful of all.
He picked up his napkin and dabbed at his eyes.
"I know" his daughter said, "Its this bloody music
isnt it?" she added loudly and immediately they both laughed
as the confused and wounded looking jazz musicians on the tiny stage
nearby stopped playing.
Later, Rhiannon walked back to Euston with her father, arm in arm, both
happy in each others company.
"What are you doing at the moment?" Guy asked after his daughter
as she snuggled her head further into the crook where his shoulder met
"Still studying, working part time on reception in some crappy
office and generally enjoying life," she answered
"Boyfriend?" Guy asked
"Not as such, I still sometimes see Nathan," she replied
Guy stopped short. "Not that face painting prick? I thought youd
have got shot of him"
"Ah! Dad, Dad, you cannot complain about my love life!"
Guy twitched and stopped himself short of replying. He blew out his
breath and looked up at the timetable. "Oh well, my train is in.
I, err, I best go"
They hugged once more, and as they parted, Rhiannon gave him a small
bag with something inside "Present" she explained.
Guy looked down and took the bag, before pulling out a bag from his
"Snap" he said and they smiled warmly at each other.
They bid goodbye and walked off into the evening.
Guy got on the train and opened up the bag. He smiled warmly at the
CD before him, The Rolling Stones album Goats Head Soup that
featured the song Angie.
Rhiannon stopped at a lamppost that lit the London street ahead of her
a beautiful burnt orange. She fumbled at the bag and smiled warmly at
the CD before her, the Fleetwood Mac album that featured the song Rhiannon.
It Time We Said Goodbye?"
Angie by Jagger/Richards
"Would you stay if she promised you Heaven?"
Rhiannon by Nicks
© mark cunliffe
Eddie Cochran once sang of love as being a journey built on Three
Steps To Heaven;
'Step one - you find a girl to love
Step two - she falls in love with you...'
Round The Block
"Wouldnt you agree Prof. Block?"
How would he know. Guy Block hadnt been listening.
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