Sybil lay under her white cotton duvet, listening to the early morning sounds of farm life. She recognized the crowing of the old rooster near the barn and sighed at the sound of the doves cooing under the roof trusses. She glanced over to where Chris lay snoring gently next to her. She wanted to run her fingers through his pale grey hair but she was reluctant to wake him. What had she done to deserve so much happiness? Sybil snuggled a little deeper under the crisp white linen to enjoy a few more moments of bliss. Her peaceful moment was short lived as the mobile phone on the nightstand vibrated and bounced around to get her attention.
‘Oh my Lord! Not now! Don’t they know how early it is on a Saturday morning? We are trying to sleep!’
‘I’m so sorry Chris… I didn’t mean to disturb you…so sorry my Love.’
‘Good morning, this is Sybil speaking. Do you have any idea what time it is?’ She paced the bedroom floor, shooting worried looks at Chris on the bed.
‘Good morning Ma’am. Am I speaking to Mrs. Sybil Browne?’
‘Yes, yes.. of course you are. I have already told you who I am.’
‘My apologies, Mrs. Browne. This is Myrtle Benning from Visage Promotions. You entered a competition a few months ago when you purchased our full range of facial products. I am very pleased to tell you that you are our prizewinner and you have won a romantic trip to Paris for two people. You….’
‘Are you kidding me? Are you sure you have the right person? Sybil Browne? Woo hoo!’ Sybil catapulted onto the bed and Chris covered his head with the bedding.
‘Chris.. Chris, we are going to Paris, my Love… to Paris. To Paris. Can you believe this?’ The shiny black cell phone slipped through her fingers and shattered into pieces as it slid across the wooden flooring.
‘When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie,**
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine,
Bells will ring…’ Sybil danced across the room, her hands flying above her head.
‘Wrong country, my Love.’ Chris chuckled. ‘That’s Italy. We’re going to gay Paris!’
He held her in his arms as they moved in unison across the room. The rays of early morning sunshine tried to sneak in between the soft white curtains to join in on the frivolity.
Sybil stopped abruptly and disentangled Chris’s arms.
‘Oh my goodness Chris! I have to phone that woman back! I got so excited about Paris. I’ll have to put the phone together again…’ Laughter peeled from her belly like excited bells.
‘Let me help you. I wasn’t even aware that you’d entered a competition for Paris. I know that it’s been on your bucket list for so many years…. and now. Wow! Isn’t this exciting? Want to hear a little confession?’ Chris glanced sheepishly at his wife.
‘No Chris, please don’t tell me that you had a steamy affair there once in your turbulent youth?’
Sybil threw back her silver curls as she hurled an embroidered cushion at him.
‘I’m going to get you for this…. I’ll just tickle you until you wet yourself’
Sybil ran for the protection of the bed covers, but Chris intercepted her and they both landed on the soft down duvet, giggling and out of breath, in one another’s arms.
‘Chris you need to promise me something…’ Her eyes darkened
‘You are frightening me now, my Love. What is it?’
Please promise me that you will never ever leave me. Please, please, please just promise me.’
Chris bolted into an upright position as his stomach knotted. Surely, she couldn’t have found out already.
‘Why are you asking me this right now? How can anyone make a promise like that? Where is this coming from? Who have you been speak…..?
‘It’s just that I love you so much Chris and I’ll just never ever survive without you. I hope you know that?’ Sybil held him so tight that he could hardly breathe and he sighed with relief that she could not see the troubled look in his dark grey eyes.
Sybil’s leg twitched as she sat in the back seat of the vehicle bound for the airport. She glanced down at the burgundy leather shopper on her lap and bit her lip.
‘How far do we still have to go?’
The departure hall loomed large ahead of her. She wondered if she could face the frenzy here today. She took a deep breath and moved towards the check-in counter.
‘Good day to you. Are you looking forward to your trip to Paris? I see that you have two tickets. Will the other traveler be checking in soon?’
‘ I…. um, …. yes, I’m sure he will be. Do I have to wait for him? I’d rather just board the plane as soon as I can, if you don’t mind.’ Sybil tapped her fingers on the counter top in irritated anticipation of her boarding pass.
‘Are you alright Mrs. Browne?’
‘Yes, yes thank you, just excited to get to Paris.’ Her voice trembled as she spoke.
‘Enjoy your flight. The agent shook her head and a frown wrinkled her young brow.
Sybil took large steps up the ramp and headed toward the final boarding gate. She was always elegant and composed. Now wasn’t the time. She had to get to the huge white bird waiting on the apron. She held her leather bag close to her chest.
‘Welcome on board.’ Another warm smile on a beautiful young face.
‘Thank you.. so much’, Sybil replied as she tried to catch her breath.
She flopped down into her seat. Sybil opened her bag and placed a small wooden casket next to her on the open seat.
‘My Love… I knew that you would never ever leave me.’
(**That’s Amore Song written by Jack Brooks & Harry Warren)