*Going Back

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The romance of a US Air Serviceman drafted to Spain where he meets his 'match'.

Submitted: July 22, 2012

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Submitted: July 22, 2012

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GOING BACK

The Air Force had sent Marvin to Spain to replace an aeronautical engineer who was leaving.

He had been given forty-eight hours to pack up. Janice had received the news of his imminent leaving with her classical attitude “Why don’t you tell me something new or different?” His children were no different from their mother with their, “Well, Dad, bring us something back from Europe.”
“Janice, I didn’t ask to go to Spain, it’s an order. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Marvin, I understand. I’ve been understanding you for the past fifteen years.” Janice was in the kitchen preparing the dinner and trying to watch television at the same time.
“I shan’t be gone long. As soon as a replacement is found, I’ll be back.”
“Yes, I know it’s for a short time but the children are awful and you know how badly behaved they are when you are away. If you have to go then there is no alternative but to accept it.”
“Thanks, Janice. I’ll ring as often as possible, you can be sure of that. You can come if you like.”
Janice thought for a few minutes, “I don’t feel too well, I prefer to stay with the children, if you don’t mind.”
Marvin said that he didn’t mind but it wasn’t the truth, he did mind. As he was not a young man but a forty-year-old man with a slightly protruding stomach, which Janice teased him about, and greying hair, Marvin was not the type to have a good time away from home. Most of the time he spent playing poker, drinking beer, and eating in restaurants recommended by other Americans.
Marvin would rather have been sent to Hawaii or a base nearer home. He wasn’t interested in Europe. Now he had to go, even though it was for a short time.

Meanwhile in Spain, Felicia was in her bedroom counting the money she kept hidden in a grandfather clock. It didn’t add up to much but it was sufficient for the shopping. She was thinking about selling a valuable if there were any left. Felicia and her sister had a difficult situation. Their parents had died years ago and their brother Carlos had married, went away to live, and then returned to plague them. He had always been awkward, in spite of being a husband and father. He had not changed at all, and from time to time he managed to disturb the quiet lives of his two sisters, Felicia and Esther.
The military police had arrived at the sisters’ flat the previous afternoon looking for Carlos. It appeared that Carlos had stolen tools from the air base where he worked in the warehouse. Felicia asked them how they knew that their brother was the culprit. The answer was easy. It wasn’t the first time he had been observed in suspicious circumstances. Felicia didn’t know what to do. The two policemen had been to Carlos’ home but he wasn’t in. The whole matter was very murky and without any apparent motive. It was probably for money, thought Felicia.
Felicia never said much to Esther. She decided to spend some of her money and went into the living-room where Esther was dusting. What a disaster! There were gaps on the walls where the pictures used to be. The display cabinet was empty and there were no carpets left. It was a sorry sight. Esther didn’t go out a lot, saying that she felt unwell, that there was a lot of traffic. She always had some reason or other to avoid the street. Felicia had no alternative but to do everything possible to maintain the two of them.
While she was walking to the shops, Felicia thought about the selfishness of her brother. As he worked at the base he had a card for the supermarket there and from time to time he gave them something. Now how was she going to manage! The military police said they would call when they had news. Esther stayed by the telephone all day. Felicia did the shopping and then went to the insurance company where she worked in the afternoons. Felicia and Esther managed to get by on this little money.
Three days later Felicia went to see her sister-in-law. But she had no idea where Carlos was. It seemed Carlos was not in the habit of telling his wife much about his comings and goings.
So, Felicia went to the air base. A young man called Brian took her to the warehouse where Carlos worked.
“Good morning. Is there anyone I can speak to about my brother who works here, and has been accused of stealing tools? My sister-in-law has no knowledge of his whereabouts either.”
The young man listened and asked her to follow him.
Marvin was working but stood up when Brian entered with Felicia. Brian introduced her to Marvin, and explained who she was.
“Please, sit down, Ma’am.”
Felicia stared at Marvin. What tale was he going to tell her?
“Have you come to find out something about your brother?”
“Yes, I have. The theft of the tools doesn’t sound real to me.”
Marvin opened and closed his hands on the desk. “I have to check that all the tools used on the various jobs are duly returned, so when I was informed that certain tools were missing from the warehouse, I got angry and said that they were accusing me of negligence. The men who worked with me were questioned and they, their bags, and lockers were searched. Nothing. Then my suspicion fell on Carlos, but he had disappeared. I’m sorry, but everything points to his being the guilty party.”
“But is that certain or not? As he isn’t here to defend himself it can’t be said for sure that it was him.”
Marvin tried to be pleasant when all the while he wanted to get on with his work. Why did it have to be him who had to solve the problem? “It’s for this reason we want to see him to ask him some questions. Have you an idea where he might have gone?”
Felicia looked like she couldn’t believe her ears. “I have no idea where he might have disappeared to.”
“Look, Ma’am. As soon as there’s any news, we’ll let you know, and should he get in touch with you, please inform us. OK?”
Felicia was upset. Who did this man think he was. “I’ll do as you say. Good morning.”
“Good morning, Ma’am. Lieutenant please accompany this lady to the exit.”
“Yes, Sir.”
The two ladies held out no hope of seeing their brother again in the near future, and soon forgot about him. Life was too difficult and complicated for distractions. Felicia had been given extra work to do at home, so she was rather busy for several weeks. The life of the women went on without any nasty surprises. Their sister-in-law had rung a few times to see if they had received news of Carlos. The poor woman didn’t know what to do. Felicia helped her to find a job.
Carlos returned the same way that he had gone missing without informing his wife or anyone else. He had had a traffic accident. The military police who hadn’t given up looking for him informed both his wife and Marvin.
“He’s been found,” Marvin rang Felicia.
“Where?”
“He’s in hospital. Light wounds. Stolen car. And when he’s better he’ll be questioned. There’s something odd here.”
“Thank you for informing me.”
“It was our agreement, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“I’ll take you to visit him whenever you like.”
“That’s very kind of you. Can my sister come as well?”
“Of course. When do you want to see him?”
Felicia was quiet for a moment. “Sunday is the best day for us, if that’s no problem for you.”
“No, that’s fine. Sunday it is. See you both then.”
“Goodbye, and thank you.”
Felicia told Esther what had happened and that they were going to visit Carlos on Sunday. Their sister-in-law had already done so.
On Sunday Marvin arrived punctually. To tell the truth it was very pleasant for the engineer to accompany Felicia and Esther to see Carlos. Sundays away from home, and especially abroad, were just plain boring for him.
Esther didn’t want to go in Marvin’s car but with Felicia insisting and Marvin helping her she got in. At the hospital Marvin left them alone with Carlos.
“Did you steal those tools?” Felicia asked straight to the point.
Carlos answered, “I borrowed them.”
“Why?”
“Because I needed them for a job.”
“I don’t believe it. If it’s true then why didn’t you ask the person in charge for permission?”
Carlos stared at Felicia as if she were an idiot, “Dear Sister, we’re not allowed to take anything.”
“You don’t need to be rude. What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” Carlos was very calm. He really was irresponsible.
Felicia felt disappointed, “I’m going outside to get some air. I’ll leave you two to chat. See you in a minute.”
Felicia went into the garden and found Marvin walking around with his hands in his pockets and thinking.
“Officer!”
Marvin turned his head on hearing her voice, “Have you finished already?”
“I have, now Esther is talking to him. This shameless person is my brother and I have to accept it. I’m sorry, this must be very disagreeable for you.”
“Why must it be disagreeable for me? He isn’t my brother.”
“Maybe not. But I was angry about this case and it’s now obvious that Carlos is nothing more than a delinquent.”
“Don’t worry about it. Nor him. Everything will work out.”
“You seem very sure of what the result will be.”
Marvin gave a light laugh. “I’m not sure of the result, but it does no good to be so worried. Have dinner with me this evening?”
Felicia was silent. “Well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t like to let Esther go home alone.”
“I’ll ask her if she would like to come too, and if she doesn’t we can go to dinner after taking her home. Is that all right?”
“All right.”
Esther didn’t want to have dinner with Felicia and Marvin and she was rather hostile about Esther going out with someone who was involved in the probable imprisonment of her brother. Felicia took no notice of her, and went to dinner with Marvin.
Felicia knew why she had accepted Marvin’s invitation. She hadn’t been out with anyone for years. Perhaps because she was bored with nothing of interest in her life and the invitation had come in such a casual way, she had accepted without thinking twice.
“You must know of somewhere to go,.” Marvin said.
Felicia knew of places from her younger days and also from those she read about in magazines and newspapers. “I know of a place but I’m not sure if it will be open on Sunday.”
“Let’s go see.”
During the dinner Marvin talked non-stop about Janice, his children and his job. This man must feel very lonely, Felicia thought. Marvin was in a good mood and was willing to try all kinds of dishes, accompanied by the appropriate wine. They began the night being strangers and somewhat conflictive, and ended up by arranging to meet on Monday afternoon.

“Are you going out with that man again?” Esther asked.
“Yes, I am. He says there’s a pool in his garden. I fancy a swim. You are invited, too.”
“No, thanks. Is he married?”
“Yes, he is. Don’t worry, he’ll be going back soon. We’re friends, that’s all.”
Esther made a sound of disapproval. “Well, you be careful. He may be leaving, but you have to stay behind.”
Felicia paid her no attention as she was going through the door.
Until Marvin saw Felicia arrive, he wasn’t sure whether or not she would. The most surprising of all for him was his own reaction that on seeing her he felt extraordinarily pleased. Now there was no longer the empty sensation he had been experiencing. Marvin knew that Felicia was going to be his lover, he hadn’t got to this conclusion through an intellectual process, only that in the moment he saw her he knew, the same as one knows the sky is blue and the grass is green and the leaves fall from the trees in autumn. In other words it was in his subconscious.
“Have you brought a swimming costume?” Marvin asked her.
“Yes, where can I change my clothes?” Felicia was trying not to look too interested in her surroundings.
“There’s a changing room right here.”
“Thank you, I shan’t be long.”
Felicia was well made and kept herself in good shape. When Marvin saw her emerge from the changing room in her tight fitting costume he felt such a strong sensation of pleasure that he put his head under the water.
They played like two children in the water until the warm air became cooler. They continued their fooling around even to running to the shower. Felicia had the longest and slimmest legs that Marvin had ever seen and she got to the shower first.
Felicia ran and hid from Marvin and he found her hiding in a cupboard. They surrendered to love making with the same pleasure as they had spent the afternoon.
Later on, alone in his big bed, Marvin lay thinking about Felicia. It was the first time he had betrayed Janice and it was also the first time he had spent such an enjoyable afternoon.

Felicia liked Marvin and decided not to think about the fact that he was married and would be at the air base for a short time. I’m going to enjoy everything as much as possible we’ve had too many hard times to reject happiness however ephemeral it is, Felicia thought.
Felicia ignored Esther’s protests. Marvin began by inviting both sisters, but Esther was so negative he stopped asking her out. As it got hotter, Felicia’s visits to the house with the pool got more frequent.
They spent the afternoons in the pool, the kitchen, and the bedroom. Felicia loved it all. The pool, the food Marvin brought from the base, and the hairy, corpulent body of her lover.
They never wasted time in talking about the future. Most important was the here and now. The pair of them had their reasons to leave things at this point.. Nevertheless, both parties knew that their romance was not casual but something deeper. To avoid any negative emotions, neither of them put into words what they hid in their hearts.
Right from the start neither of them had fooled themselves in what would be the final goodbye. When Marvin was informed about his return home, he felt sad on thinking of Felicia. He was happy that he would see Janice and his children again. He loved Janice but he had never felt so alive as when he was with Felicia. He just couldn’t imagine Janice tickling him. He would never forget Felicia’s laughter and giggles when she had seen him in his underpants for the first time. Marvin had felt a bit offended, but when Felicia managed to control her laughter she asked him if he was going to participate in a sports event, as it wasn’t like underwear. Janice had chosen Marvin’s underwear and it was obvious that she had seen him with the eyes of a wife and not with those of a lover like Felicia. Although he and Janice had got away from the children for a romantic weekend they were never as Marvin would have liked them to be.
He wasn’t afraid of telling Felicia about his return home. Felicia didn’t let him down, and didn’t cause a scene. Esther’s reply to Felicia’s news about Marvin was, “”Don’t you think you’ve made a fool of yourself? You knew that he’d have to go back to his country sooner or later.”
“Esther, you don’t understand. I knew that from the beginning and I don’t repent. It has been a very good experience and I’m happy for having met him.”
Esther made an effort to get at Felicia, “Those words at your age! You sound like a teenager.”
“That’s something you can’t understand. Logic and age have nothing to do with the emotions. I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ve got work to do.”
Felicia didn’t tell Esther that she had promised Marvin to help him buy presents for his family. Esther would never understand Felicia, nor about the situation.

Marvin and Felicia spent the evening before he left going from shop to shop. When the shopping was finished they went to his house.
“Don’t you have to say farewell to your bosses?” Felicia asked him.
“I’ll see them tomorrow at the airport.”
“You want to see your family, don’t you?”
Marvin didn’t want to leave Felicia without telling her the truth. “I want to see my family, but at the same time I know that I’m in love with you.”
Felicia placed her hands on his shoulders and kissed him. “Yes, I know, but they have more right to you than me. I’m happy to have met you and this happiness will last for quite a time.”
“This is the first time anything like this has happened to me when away from home. I had never touched another woman since I married Janice. I’m no Don Juan, that’s obvious. What’s occurred between us has taken me by surprise. I had never imagined myself in such a situation.”
“Does it make you feel well or bad?”
Marvin, without thinking said, “Very well. Why do you ask?”
“Because if you feel bad then it’s better you go, but if you feel well, then go knowing that you’re leaving behind someone who wishes you well.”
“It’s your understanding that makes it difficult for me. I know I’ll never forget you. I mean it seriously.”
Felicia said, “Every time I think of you it will be in gratitude, due to our being so happy together.”
Felicia went home to sleep. Marvin packed his case and sat down with whisky and ice and thought of Felicia knowing that the next day having her far away and being with his family again, the memory of her would be something to live again in lonely moments as at dawn, an afternoon fishing, or just when he had the need to feel loved.

Marvin had given her a small packet, Felicia didn’t open it until the plane had taken off. She had tried not to cry, but life with Marvin was nice and pleasant, and Esther with her unpleasant remarks had been unable to destroy it. Inside the box was a gold medallion with the stone of her horoscope and the words 'FOR EVER Marvin' engraved on the back. Felicia put it round her neck straight away. Esther had to make one of her signs of disapproval on seeing it. Felicia wasn’t interested.
After Marvin had left her life, Felicia concentrated a lot of attention on how she and Esther could keep the flat and survive at the same time. Now she was used to nice things with Marvin, she didn’t want to go back to what her life had been before him.
Alone in her bed Felicia thought about Marvin, and to reassure herself that he had really existed she touched the medallion.

Ten years later on a cold and windy day Marvin returned to Spain. He wore a black overcoat against the weather. This time he was not there for the air force but on business. On retiring from the air force he had set up a fast-food restaurant. Between him and Janice the business had gone well, but now with Janice dead since a year ago Marvin felt the urge to get away for a while and go back to where (just like in a dream) he had felt happy. During the year after Janice’s death he had often thought that in spite of Janice’s having been a good wife, she had never made him feel in the same way as he had felt with Felicia. Spain was where he wanted to look for certain alimentary products and at the same time clarify his own emotions. Had the romance been as beautiful as he remembered or was it the fruit of his imagination?
On the second day there Marvin went for a walk where Felicia had lived. He went into a shop where she did her shopping and asked the assistant whether the sisters still lived in the area. The shopkeeper told him that their old flat was now a student hostel run by them. Marvin walked in the direction of Felicia’s flat. He saw from a distance the door suddenly open and she came out. By her clothes he could see that the hostel was doing well. Felicia was older, nevertheless, well preserved. Seeing her looking so well made Marvin feel happy and proud of her. He promised himself that he would visit her the next day.

Felicia opened the front door thinking it must be one of the students who had left his key in his bedroom. The hidden emotions that for years she had never shown, rose to the surface on seeing Marvin. They didn’t know how to begin talking as they had so much to say to each other.
“Hello, Felicia. It’s me, Marvin. do you remember me?”
“I wear a souvenir from you around my neck. Please come in.”
Marvin followed Felicia into the flat, so he was able to see the changes that had been made to it. Esther was sitting behind a desk. She hadn’t changed much, just a bit more unpleasant than before, Marvin thought.
“Look, who’s here, Esther.”
“I can see who it is. You’ve made my sister wait a long time,” Esther said dryly.
“Esther, don’t speak to him that way! I’m sorry Marvin. Like to look around?”
“Yes, very much. Is it true what Esther says? Have I made you wait a long time?”
“Don’t take any notice of her. She likes to dramatize everything. This is the old dining-room.”
Marvin saw a well-furnished room with an enormous television. At the same time he was thinking of Esther’s words. They went from room to room. Felicia talking, Marvin listening. When the tour of the hostel was over. Marvin and the sisters sat down for something to eat. Felicia felt sorry for him on hearing of Janice’s death. They arranged to meet the following afternoon.

They met in a busy café and sat down in a dark corner.
“Who runs the hostel when you’re not there?” Marvin asked her.
“Esther, she likes to stay at home and be in charge. As I’m an adult, she can’t boss me around, but she bosses the students. The hostel belongs to both of us.”
Felicia asked Marvin why he had come back to Spain.
“I needed to find out whether our romance was as good as I remembered. Also I’ve got a business of fast-food and wanted to investigate some of the local Spanish dishes.”
“Have you left the Air Force?”
“Yes, I left it when Janice took sick, I didn’t want to be far away from her. I never thought she would die so fast. And you?”
“We have the hostel and that’s it. No love affairs. You and I were past our prime when we met and fell in love, making it more emotional and deeper, because we weren’t looking for it. To tell the truth, I’ve not had any interest in going out with other men. When I compared you with others you always won out.”
“Want to know something? You’re the only person I’ve really laughed with in all my life.”
“That’s a very nice compliment.”
“It’s not a compliment, Felicia, it’s the truth.”
“Marvin, why didn’t you let me know about your wife’s death?”
“Because I was afraid of receiving a letter telling me that you were married with children. It was fear, nothing else.”
“Yes, I see.”
On leaving the café, they went to the cinema. Anything to put off being together alone and the inevitable intimacy.

A winter sun shed orange rays onto the hotel when Felicia arrived to meet Marvin. Just seeing the intensity of his gaze Felicia knew what was going to happen but she did nothing to avoid it. After feeling a certain modesty at the beginning, she discovered that being with a man with whom she had been before was like walking along a well-known path. There had occurred slight changes but the geography was still the same.
“So this is why you have come here.”
Marvin stared at her and making no attempt to avoid the truth said, “Yes, I had to find out.”
Felicia laughed, “Of course. At least we have always had a good time together and I knew there would be no let down.”
“Now we both know what we needed to know about each other.”
Felicia leaned on one arm with her face directly over Marvin’s face. “And what is it we know.”
“Felicia, please, first of all that we get on well together, and second that physically we are still in tune.”
“Only that?”
“Is that not enough for you?” Marvin didn’t know what to say to her. He would have to get used to being with her again.
“Yes, I suppose it’s more than enough.”
“So you agree then?” Poor Marvin asked, rather taken aback by Felicia’s hesitant attitude. “Felicia, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine. I was thinking about all the time that has gone by since you returned to USA. Marvin, where has all that time gone?”
“In living and surviving. Perhaps it was necessary to be separated to appreciate our relationship more.”
“You’re probably right.”
“Felicia, please don’t get sad or melancholic. Now, when we should be happy, that would be too much.”
Felicia gazed at him and in that moment decided that the only important thing in her life was Marvin.”
He touched the medallion and said, “Do you know what it means?”
“Yes, I do.”
“It wasn’t a joke then, and it isn’t now.”

Esther burst into a false laugh, “Ha! You’re getting married. And what about me?”
Marvin and Felicia were in the office where Esther kept the accounts and the keys.
“What do you mean?” Felicia asked her sister.
“Who’s going to help me with the hostel?”
“You can run it by yourself, or ask our darling brother to help, or employ someone.”
“As easy as that. You know what ?” Esther said turning to Marvin. “Felicia is very selfish.”
Marvin wasn’t at all interested in anything that Esther had to say. The fact that she was Felicia’s sister was an accident, nothing else. “Esther your sister and I are getting married, like it or not. So please don’t waste your time.”
On hearing that Esther kept quiet, and Felicia felt grateful to Marvin and found herself stronger in facing up to her sister.

Marvin and Felicia had decided to get married after spending one whole day together. They didn’t experience the passion that they had had in the past, but some of it was still there, and that ‘something’ was enough to get started on.
“We don’t keep secrets from each other, and that is very important. We don’t have to get to know each other as we already do, it’s just a question of continuing something that was interrupted.” When Marvin finished speaking, Felicia took his arm to show him she agreed with him.

In spite of herself, Esther attended the wedding. It was a simple affair. Before arranging the papers, Felicia and Marvin had agreed to stay near Esther till she found help.
Having lived a romance and then the long separation, and now together again, made them feel reborn. Felicia would never have got married, but the easy and natural way she had fallen in love with Marvin and the acceptance of his children made her appreciate him all the more. The years that she had spent with Esther no longer meant anything to her, she only thought about her future with him.
Marvin was happy, not just because he had another woman in his life, but because that woman was Felicia. Every gesture she made reminded him of his stay in Spain ten years before, and go back to the time in his life when meeting a woman didn’t figure in his plans. Speaking and being with Felicia was for Marvin a return to the known with discoveries still to be made. It was to stroll along a path with nice surprises from time to time. Above all, Marvin began to laugh again, knowing that his happiness was – as he had had engraved on the medallion – ‘FOR EVER’.


© Copyright 2017 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.