Card on the Table

‘Are you still with that boyfriend of yours?’

I confirm that I am indeed still with that boyfriend of mine.

‘Not getting married yet then?’

The complete lack of any sign whatsoever of a wedding is greeted, as usual, with resigned sadness, tinged with a hint of disappointment.

This is not an account of a conversation with my Mother. My disappointed inquisitor is a member of my form group at school. My Mother gave up asking those kind of questions years ago.

My form are lovely, but like many students/teenagers/people they’re pretty nosey.

Having established some time ago that
(a) the man ‘with the funny hat’, with whom I have been spotted in town, is in fact my boyfriend (Gasp! Shock! Amazement! Teacher does not live in stock cupboard after all but has life outside school!)
(b) I haven’t got dressed up in a ridiculous frock and made him an honest man

some of the girls in my form seemed to expect that marriage was inevitable and a wedding invitation was imminent.

Life’s full of disappointments.


I arrive home from school. As usual Mr TLC has left the post on the kitchen table. Except normally it’s just put down, as it lands.

Today the post is neatly stacked, no, actually it’s perfectly stacked to one side of the table. In the middle of the table, Placed Just So is one envelope in particular. I wonder why Mr TLC (who shares his real name with a Derbyshire town) has arranged it like this.

On closer inspection I discover that the envelope is addressed to Mr and Mrs A Derbyshiretown.

How very formal.

We never receive anything addressed to us like that. Both our families tend to put one of our names on the envelope and both in the actual card. Apart from Mr TLC’s niece, who sends a card each year by post addressed to Uncle A1@n and L0!s – to which we respond in good part by returning one to Niece C and A.

I cannot imagine who this card is from.

‘Is there something you’re not telling me?’ I ask Mr TLC.

Mr TLC denies having anything to do with the card on the table, which is a bit weak to be honest, given that his name is on it. I try to ask him about his secret wife, but he denies all knowledge of her.

After trying to imply that I married him when he was asleep, or something equally unlikely, he eventually opens the envelope, at my insistence. I mean, obviously it’s for him. As I point out to Mr TLC, no-one I know would send me a card addressed like that.

Mr TLC looks at the Christmas card and starts to laugh.

‘Who is it from?’ I demand.

Your Aunt Edna.’

Oh. She knows perfectly well that we are not Mr and Mrs A Derbyshiretown. I think she’s dropping hints. Great big ones.

I decide to rise to the occasion and tell Mr TLC that he can get dressed up in a big white dress and I’ll rent a tux, just to make my form and Aunt Edna happy.

Oddly, he doesn’t seem too keen on this plan. Can’t think what’s the matter with him.

Sorry Aunt Edna. Sorry my form. Sorry anyone who was hoping to see Mr TLC wearing a frilly frock. Life’s full of disappointments.

3 comments to Card on the Table

  • Z

    Maybe she’s being really polite, in choosing to overlook the unfortunate fact of your lack of marriage!

  • Interesting to see usage of ‘boyfriend’ rather than ‘partner’. Usually a good pub debate around these terms.

    And off topic, for your xmas playlist, here’s jjcale gone disco

  • Haha I love it!

    We get that in our family too – people not being really sure how to react to ‘relationships out of the norm’.

    I think it’s probably even worse in ours: as Indians it is very very unusual to live with a partner or even openly have a long term relationship without getting engaged or married.

    Now that two of my cousins have done it all of my aunts and uncles are having to rethink their vocab!