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My Girl Gillian

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
My girl Gillian was a girl in a million.

From: The Seven Scientists by HJ Furl

Image by Lorri Lang on Pixabay

Submitted: June 12, 2019

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Submitted: June 12, 2019

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My Girl Gillian

My girl Gillian was a girl in a million. I know she was because Archie Harradine told her so when he came to stay. I remember how we walked through the muddy forest admiring the wild daffodils that flooded the glades, with coronets of yellow, trumpets of orange. How we paused as she took out her green leather-bound autograph book and presented it to Archie. He wrote:

My friend Gillian is a friend in a million.

I found her little autograph book in a box of her old school books when we had the loft cleared. I’ll treasure her names: her best schoolgirl friends, her casual acquaintances, a few long-dead celebrities of yesteryear; for as long as I shall live.

Gillian knew the meaning of love. She kept a fish tank full of tropical fish: angels, guppies, an ugly fish with sharp teeth - in our dining room. One night there was a power cut. We used to get a lot of power cuts in those days. Gillian lit a candle and held it to the murky glass wall of the tank to keep the fish warm. She knelt beside the tank all night, without so much as a wink of sleepy-eyes.

We were late for school next morning. Her teacher, Mrs Heritage, was most understanding:

‘Oh well,’ she said, ‘At least you saved the fish.’

That evening, when Gillian had eaten her jam sandwiches for tea, I let her help me net the dead fish. Then I poured her a beaker of orange squash and we settled down on the sofa and watched The Val Doonican Show on the television set in black and white. Did you know that Val never had a number 1 hit on Top of the Pops? No, neither did I until Declan showed me his 25 Years of Rock, 1955 to 1979, Book.

I do remember Gillian having a budgie called Joey, which she kept in a cage on top of the telly. Whenever Val Doonican came on and sang: ‘You may wake up one morning’, Joey would sing: ‘You may wake up one morning’. Gillian told me the song was called ‘The Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love’ and I have chased that butterfly ever since.

My girl Gillian was a girl in a million. When she was ten and oh so pretty with gold in her hair and roses in her cheeks, I arranged for her to sit for a portrait artist. She was very good! She sat still as a statue, dressed in her crumpled old orange polo neck sweater with a navy hairband. I was worried the hairband might break, being elastic, so I rang Harrods and asked them to send me 100 navy hairbands tout de suite.

‘One hundred, lady?’ the slovenly storeman said, ‘You ‘avin a laugh or summat?’

‘One hundred, my good man,’ I said, firmly, and would you believe it, the very next day 100 navy hairbands arrived in Declan’s postbag!

The artist was very good, considering he was working to a tight budget. Ah! Gillian’s eyes were boss-eyed in the painting - a slip of the brush. Never mind! I hung the painting in my bedroom. For all I know, she's still up there smiling down on us, my friendly, lovely girl in a million.

I doubt that we will ever see the like of Gillian again.

    

 


© Copyright 2019 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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