To London For Love


Wendy was having a wonderful time in London. It was as if she had lived there in the past. Of course she hadn’t, but read so much about it that to her it was like the back of her own hand. She made the trip exciting and informative for all of us. No one could imagine a finer trip if taken around by the Queen herself.
It was magnificent for the group she was with: Robert and Marge form Bradenton, Florida, William and Susan form Guthrie, Oklahoma, Margaret from Milwaukee, Tina from Philadelphia, and Doreen from Houston. It was a fun group they were grateful for her knowledge and willingness to make London come richly alive for them.
Although there were several single woman in the group she considered herself a bit on the outside; they were widows. Wendy was forty and never married. “Of course I know a lot about London,” she jokingly commented. “Instead of irony a man’s shirts and folding underwear I read about London.”
She delighted them with stories, legends, historical, accounts, and amusing anecdotes about the minutest detail of things.
The grand finale of their visit was the Tower of London and she regaled all with her vast knowledge even to the point of correcting the guides at various displays. Of course, she did this with the utmost of respect, tact, and civility and was kindly thanked.
They entered a building having a gigantic room with displays of knights in armor and medieval weaponry. It was dark and cold.
This way, downstairs,” the guide said. “This way to the dungeon.” The guide chuckled, “This is where all the good stuff occurred.”
Go ahead everyone,” Wendy said. “Go ahead without me.”
Let’s go,” Doreen said. “It will be great fun.”
No, no,” Wendy said. “That’s okay, go ahead without me.”
Suddenly the group stopped.
William said, “I think we should listen to Wendy’s reason.”
I feel terribly embarrassed,” Wendy said. “I don’t want to ruin this for everyone else.”
I can’t visit such a place,” Wendy said. “Especially when it is for entertainment. Good stuff did not happen there. I can’t entertain myself from the misery of others.”
Robert stepped forward. “I’m not speaking for everybody, but Wendy makes sense. Perhaps we could find something else to see.”
It was obvious Wendy was embarrassed. “This upsets me so much. I should have gone to the bathroom or something to avoid this. I’m afraid I turned this into something other than what it is and it should be a wonderful time for you all. I’m so sorry.”
The male guide listened to the entire exchange. “Good for you, lass. I hate directing people to such an abomination. What a tender heart you have. If I may be so bold; I see no gentlemen with you. Are you perhaps just traveling alone or are you single?”
Wendy sat across the table of small London pub with the tour guide from the Tower of London, Preston Cromwell.
I hope this is to your liking,” Preston said. “I feel quite uncomfortable in plush places, it takes me off my game.”
Wendy smiled. “And your game is?”
Being natural,” Preston smiled. “But you, my lady, I suspect could be natural in any crowd.”
Not really,” Wendy said. “Being away from home you sort of take on an ultra ego. Someone you’d like to be but can’t.”
I believer you could be anything you want,” Preston said.
Flattery is something I sense immediately,” Wendy said and before Preston interpreted. “And you are honest. And I thank you for that.”
I, too, would not speak in such a way if you were not a stranger in this land,” Preston said. “I am by nature shy beyond comprehension. I became a guide ten years ago on the advice of my therapists who recommended to pursue employment that would force me to be outgoing.” He smiled. “And here I am on a date. You don’t mind if I call it date do you?”
Not at all,” Wendy said. “That’s what I’m calling it and that’s what all my friends are calling it. They wrote in their journals I was having a date with a handsome English prince.”
Well,” Preston said. “They were one for three; I’m English.”
I’m uncertain of your pedigree,” Wendy said. “But for certainty they got two right.”
Preston’s smile relaxed. “And flattery does not become you either. I accept that. No one ever called me handsome except my dear mum.” His smile returned. “And she had a vested interest.”
How did you acquire the boldness to ask me for dinner?” Wendy said.
It seems that word of your vast knowledge was spreading amongst the Beefeaters and guides,” Preston said. “It was all a matter of time before one of the single blocks or less scrupulous married cads ask you out. If you’d gone to the dungeon Marty Wellington would have asked you, a widower, not bright and has false teeth, speaks with a lisp. I wasn’t about to let you have an evening with that.”
They ordered a meal and each told of their home and a little about their lives.
After the meal at the pub they strolled in the a park near the pub.
I have a question,” Wendy said.
Certainly,” Preston said.
Is this a beginning or an end?” Wendy said.
Preston’s throat tightened. Wendy’s heart slowed. She felt her face warm.
I’m sorry,” Wendy said. “How inappropriate. We just met.”
That’s all right, my dear,” Preston said. “I’m English and we have responses for everything and I have none.”
They walked a few more paces. “I’ve never been to America. I should go.”
Wendy rapped her arm around his and they continued to walk.
You know something, my dear?” Preston said. “I think you have been on my arm for a long, long time it’s not till now I noticed.”