WHY HELEN?

by Anton Wills-Eve


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/buffalo-nickel/”>Buffalo Nickel</a>

 

WHY HELEN?

 

William, who hated being called Bill but could just about put up with Will, was in a state of serious apprehension. Although he was considered one of the better ‘catches’ amongst the first year students at his university he could have murdered his twin sister for lining up a blind date for him. All he knew was that she was called Helen.

“Look tell me something about her, please. You’ve given me two good seats for the concert and you know I like classical music, but does she? Come on Sally tell me something about her. I mean why did you pick her, did she ask you to or do you feel sorry for her? She hasn’t got anything wrong with her has she?”

Sally laughed, “Will, you know where I met her. The only reason you haven’t met her is because this is our first term at university and she and I are doing biochemistry and you are doing modern languages. Our campuses are nowhere near each other! But she did tell me she loved classical music and you know I don’t. I merely said I’d been given tickets for this do and had given them to you, adding that you would like to take her as you didn’t know your fellow linguists’ musical tastes yet.

“We were lucky getting places at the same university weren’t we? I’ve put her phone number on the envelope with the tickets. She said to text her.”

With the concert only four days away Will sent a very brief text to the mysterious Helen. It read, ‘I haven’t asked Agamemnon’s permission yet but I do hope you can make it over the Hellespont on Friday to take in the concert and a bite later. OK? Paris.’

Her reply told him two things that roused his curiosity enormously. She was well educated and had a sense of humour.

‘I know a short cut, via Thebes and Thermopilye  – You see it keeps my togas dry :).  Shame it’s the first date though, Paris never gets a bite until vetted. No, I don’t mean that sort! A painless vetting 🙂 But a fig or two later would be lovely.  H.’

Will could not resist his reply. ‘ Meet @ amphitheatre front arch’ I’ll be wearing a smart, casual laurel wreath’ expect you to be carrying smart casual Grecian urn.’ At this point anything could happen. Go for broke and laugh along in the manner begun, or dress normally and carry a laurel leaf for identification. It was too tempting. Will borrowed a full Greek tragedy outfit from the drama department. But on arriving at the concert hall on Friday night he nearly dropped. Helen did not so much arrive as burst upon the scene.

A figure clad in a sweeping white gown with her dark brown hair wound round her head like Medusan snakes, descended from a chariot, spear in hand and each toe nail painted a different colour as it peeped twixt the thongs of her sandals. Will was in heaven and took up his part immediately. He swept up to Helen, bowed and handed her a ticket’ The vastly entertained onlookers just thought it all a student prank and clapped when they took their seats in the hall.

As they looked at the programme and the first item, an, overture, began Will suddenly realised that neither of them had spoken a word. He wondered what joke Helen was leading up to next. She certainly kept it up well, really well. The overture finished and over the noise of the applause Will heard his mobile phone go off. Embarrassed, he opened it in seconds and saw it was a text. It said ‘We Greeks have all the inventions of the world, mine just vibrates so we will converse thus’. Helen smiled seductively at him and Will felt the missile from Cupid’s bow which she had aimed at him strike home exactly as she had prayed it might. All he replied was the texted image of a shattered heart.

They kept up the joke thoughout the concert and a really nice dinner afterwards which Helen allowed Will to pay for. As he took the bill she sent a message and a grin. ‘Just checking your bank balance.’ It was only a short walk across a lawn to Helen’s rooms and they sauntered, ever more slowly, to her door. Nobody was in sight when Will could contain himself no longer and finally broke their evening’s silence.

“Helen, thank you for the greatest date of my life. I have slowly fallen completely in love with you, and you never even said a word. No bites, promise, but may Paris kiss Helen goodnight?” The embrace lasted twenty minutes but she had the last word, texting,  ‘see you at Sally’s for lunch tomorrow’.

Will arrived early at his sister’s next day and she asked him how the evening went.  While he described it he was surprised to see tears starting to roll down her cheeks. It was then she explained. “Will, Helen has been keen to meet you for weeks but had to find out how you felt about her first. We concocted last night’s charade because, Will, your lovely Helen has an awful impediment. The poor girl is stone deaf.  She can talk perfectly well, granted, but last night she never heard a note of that music!”

 

Anton Wills-Eve

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