by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>Mistake</a&gt;

a mistake, is so easy make, but so difficult to rectify


Once I actually had three girlfriends at the same time whose birthdays all fell on the same day. They were not all passionate flames, ablaze at the same time, far from it. But nevertheless I had a fondness for each and they were good fun to be with. Come to think of it I ended up marrying one of them.

The date was March 14th and it usually fell during Lent. One I had known on and off for about ten years since we were at school. It was her 20th birthday on the day of this tale. Felicity lived in West London and was studying at London university that year in 1963, I was at University in Paris at the time. My diary merely had an obscure memo by it – ‘Flick has five likes’.

On the same day I also saw a latin inscription – amor vincit omnia. That was easy and the one I later married. But the third one was really sweet. I had written. ‘Wow, Sheena will love this. She can tell us all where to go today’! Of course it was the day a friend in the States came of age. Well they hadn’t invented emails, or even shemails, in those days so I had to send token cards and presents in a big hurry. Yes, I messed it up completely.

To start with Flick’s five likes had me stumped. I really didn’t know why I’d made that memo. So I bought five different boxes of lovely chocolates and sent them with a really mushy card. But we had that sort of joint humour.

To Sheena in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania I thought a golden key on a necklace would both make the point and meet the purpose. It was a lovely piece of jewellery too. I sent her a pretty card with flowers on it. I was in a hurry.

But for the beautiful little girl from Tuscany, my own Lucia, I had to make it personal, intimate and something she’d like. I lashed out on a large bottle of Chanel no 5 perfume. The card was also over the top, in 3-D and frankly ostentatious. But she knew I meant it nicely. So were they all pleased? Not exactly. The thank you letter from Flick was brief.

“Given the amount those nauseating chocolates, you know I can’t stand, must have cost you couldn’t you have sent me a small bottle of my favourite Chanel no5? But I love you all the same.”

Sheena was puzzled. “It’s beautiful, Anton, and must have cost the earth, but I don’t come of age until next year. I’ll lock it away until then.”

And Lucia. Well we ate out together that night, and she opened her present in front of me. She just stared and said , “Mio Antonino caro, why have you bought me after shave? “ I had been in such a hurry I hadn’t read the ‘pour hommes’ on the bottle. God I’m lucky she loved me so much.