The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

LIBBY’S LIFE #83 – Letters from afar

Libby logo blueFrom: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe
Subject: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 1, 2013

Hi Maggie!

Sorry to interrupt your holiday – or should I say “vacation”? – but I thought I’d better drop you an email. Fergus wasn’t very well last week, not eating, looking very sorry for himself, and I took him to the vet. The vet says it’s nothing to worry about, probably just the heatwave getting him down.  So I have to make sure he stays hydrated, and I’ve got a huge horse-tablet supplement that I squash up and hide in his food. Which, of course, he won’t eat.

It might help if the stupid dog came into the house instead of staying outside in the heat on hunger strike, but he won’t. Pining, I suppose. Such a drama queen.

How’s Florida? Has your ex arrived yet? (!)

Love, Libs

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 2, 2013 

Hello my dear

Not to worry, I’m sure Fergus will be fine. It will take more than a bit of outdoor sulking to finish him off.  If you’re passing by my house, there’s an unopened bag of those organic treats he loves in the pantry. Just keep them away from Jack and any of his little lady friends😉

Florida is very hot.  Well, naturally. It is August. On balance, though, I prefer unbearable Florida heat to unbearable Massachusetts cold. At least you don’t have to shovel ninety-five degrees of sunshine from your driveway.

Derek isn’t here yet. He arrives tomorrow. I have deliberately not cleaned the apartment, because I wouldn’t like him to think I’ve changed in our years apart and am now the perfect housewife. I am not, and never will be, a replacement for his dear, departed, oh-so-perfect second wife, Cassie.

I try not to speak ill of the dead, but since I spoke only ill of the woman while she was alive, a death certificate with barely dry ink shouldn’t make any difference.

Much love, Maggie

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 4, 2013

Ouch! Well, no one can ever accuse you of being a hypocrite😀

I got the treats from your pantry, as you suggested, but to be honest, Fergus seems fine as long as I don’t force him to come in the house. So – I can’t believe I did this for the ungrateful hound — I’ve set his bed up in the children’s Fisher-Price playhouse, in the back garden. Jack plays in his bedroom or the uber-air-conditioned dining room most of the time, so it’s not a problem.

Did I tell you that Jack has a new imaginary girlfriend? Her name is M, he says. Just M.  She was born in England like him, he says, and her dad is in the army, and she’s lonely. I’m always amazed at children’s imaginations, but I’m not convinced his obsession with “M” is entirely healthy. We even have to set an extra place at the dinner table for her.

Hopefully, this nonsense will stop in September when he goes to kindergarten and makes some real friends.

How’s Derek? Are you playing nicely together, or is he turning out to be an imaginary friend also?

Libs

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 7, 2013 

Sorry I didn’t answer right away. (That’s the difference between emails and old-fashioned letters – no one expected an immediate answer in the good old days of first class stamps and duck egg blue Basildon Bond.)

Derek has been here four days now. I must confess that when I offered him the chance to spend two weeks in the Keys with me, I was a) feeling sorry for him and b) drunk on our daughter’s wedding champagne. Sadly, he can hold his drink better than I, and therefore remembered my offer the next morning. I could have argued, but Sara and her new husband were witnesses.

Will explain more later, but I have to go now. Derek and I are heading off for a catamaran cruise this afternoon. All the years I have been coming to the Keys on vacation, and I have never been on one before — isn’t that strange?

M x

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 11, 2013

When you said you would explain more later, I was expecting another email from you the minute you got back from your cruise. Don’t leave me in suspense like that!

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 12, 2013 

So sorry, Libby!  I should have said — the catamaran involved was in South Beach, Miami, and instead of coming back immediately, we decided to stay a few days. Neither of us had been before, and it’s a wonderful place. Very romantic, if you’re that way inclined. Which, obviously, having acrimoniously divorced forty years ago, we are not.

M

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe

Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 12, 2013

Acrimoniously divorced people don’t generally vacation together. There is nothing obvious about your situation at all.

L.

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 14, 2013 

Back in the Keys now.

By the way, don’t let Jack’s imaginary girlfriend bother you.  It’s a phase a lot of children go through.  I remember Chuck when he was small, living in the same house — he had an imaginary friend, too. Cathy was quite worried about it, but as you can see, Chuck turned out fine.

M.

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe

Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 15, 2013

It must be nearly time for Derek to go home now, am I right? Are you sorry or glad?

L.

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe

Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 19, 2013

Maggie? Are you there?

L.

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 20, 2013

Sorry! It’s been a busy and surprising few days. Spontaneity – the zest of life, I find.

I keep meaning to ask – did you ever get round to looking through the folder of old papers about the house, the one that Chuck left for you? And dare I ask if you’ve checked out the basement?

M.

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe

Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 21, 2013

I did indeed. There’s quite a history. The house as it stands now is not the original. There was an older building on the grounds before it, built before the Revolutionary War. Someone kept meticulous records, and even the names of some of the family members are there. Funny to think there were children Jack’s age running around the place two hundred and fifty years ago.

Have I been in the basement? You have to be kidding me.

I take it that Derek has gone back to Virginia and you’re on your own again. Remind me which day you’re coming home? Do you need me to pick you up from the airport?

L.

~

From: Maggie Sharpe
To: Libby Patrick
Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 23, 2013

Tomorrow, August 24th. We’ll get a taxi from Logan, so don’t worry.

M.

~

From: Libby Patrick
To: Maggie Sharpe

Subject: Re: Having a good holiday?
Date: August 24, 2013

Wait — “We”?

.

Next post: LIBBY’S LIFE #84 – Stages of youth

Previous post: LIBBY’S LIFE #82 – A chilly reception

Read Libby’s Life from the first episode.

Want to read more? Head on over to Kate Allison’s own site, where you can find out more about Libby and the characters of Woodhaven, and where you can buy Taking Flight, the first year of Libby’s Life — now available as an ebook.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post!

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Image: Travel – Map of the World by Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 responses to “LIBBY’S LIFE #83 – Letters from afar

  1. Janice August 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Okay, what’s with the basement? Dead bodies? Buried treasure? This is driving me crazy! I going back and re-read the last several installments. I’ve missed something. I think Fergus knows what is going on since he won’t stay in the house. Maggie is being awfully mysterious. Could Maggie and Derek have remarried? Usually, I can figure out the plot right away. I’m loving this!

  2. Janice August 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I need to start watching the History Channel!

  3. Marion Clamp September 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Kate, Just catching up, next episode awaiting. As always — wonderful. Thanks for bringing a little extra “spice” into my life!!
    Cheers — Marion in Panama

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