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Hi Dad, it’s me…

Yes, Tabs….

Yes, it is the middle of the night here…I just wanted to talk to you.

No, everything’s going really well.

No, I’m fine.

Yes, I am.

No, you don’t need to – no, it’s not about Jason.

No…no.

I want to - I don't know how to... um. Look, it’s about – about a - a film I saw.

No I don’t know what it was called.

Because – because I went to sleep with the TV on and when I woke up it was part-way through.

I know that’s not a good idea Dad. I’ve learned my lesson, OK? Because it was upsetting. It was about… well there was this man, he was a Br - a General in the army.

No it’s not Madame Butterfly. Isn’t he a Lieutenant? I mean, famously, he is?

No. So this man was a General.

In the army, yes. And there was this woman, and he –

No, she wasn’t in the army, she was a…doctor. Doctor…Pace. Ophelia Pace. And I get the impression, that in the beginning of the film, they had worked together and he had saved her life a few times –

Um…because it was during war-time.

Yes, it may have been black and white now that you mention it. And there was another man...Nathaniels, who also was after her –

Oh, didn’t I? Well yes, I think this General loved her, I think he did, but he was quite…messed up.

Yes. So it was hard to tell for sure. But she definitely loved him, although she possibly also loved Nathaniels. He was special forces or something, and he had also saved her life. And I think he was the glamorous option, he was sort of dashing, and a bit smooth with the jewellery and the flowers I think. But he possibly wanted her just to have her, if you know what I mean, so the General was the One True Love option, you know, sort of rugged more than handsome, and rubbish at saying how he felt.

No, Dad this is not subliminally about Jason, Jason was extremely good at saying how he felt. And finally, the General and Ophelia, they started to admit how they felt about each other. Because first he got injured and then she was very ill with, um, the flu. And they both realised how much they would miss the other one, and she was delirious, and she let it slip. And so they started to see each other, a little bit.

No, Nathaniels was undercover in America at the time I think. Er, I mean with the Americans. But she was realising anyway, that he wasn’t the genuine article like the Bri – the General was. And then, after a while, the General bought a ring. And she didn’t know know, but she knew, you know? What was coming. So they went out to dinner, and she dressed up, and you could see that her heart was going, and she really dressed up to knock his socks off. And then at the last minute Nathaniels arrived at the hotel -

Um, because it was actually an army dinner –

No well I never said the General was classy, did I? And he hives the General off and gets him drunk – because he was jealous, I suppose, and he’s heard which way the wind is blowing – and he convinces him not to go through with it. I don’t know how, they didn’t show that bit. But he does. So, after the dinner, the General doesn’t propose and in fact he sort of breaks it off. Well he just starts giving her the cold shoulder.

I know.

I know.

Well I would too, with bells on, but the point is, by now she’s in deep and she can’t get out. So she’s all stoic about it, and she’s not going to cry or say anything, she just puts up with it, and she waits. And time goes by, I don’t know, months. And he, he isn’t even speaking to her at all, except when he absolutely has to, for work. And then one day, he goes away to…Headquarters, or something – and the minute he gets back, he rushes to find her, and he says, you know, I’ve been a fool, and I love you, and he proposes, right there in front of everybody. And she says yes like that, in a heartbeat, in an instant, and you can tell that she’s so happy, and her heart is just bursting after all the waiting, and all the pain she’s been through.

No, don’t say ahhh until you’ve heard the next bit. And she’s happy for about five minutes. And then these soldiers burst in through the door, and arrest him. And they won’t say what he’s done, but they start interrogating him. And it starts to become clear that, it isn’t really the General, it’s some sort of impostor.

No, only since he came back from the Headquarters. And it turns out, that he’s actually a version of the General from an alternate dimension.

Dimension.

Yes, it all went a bit science-fiction at this point.

Well they must have had science-fiction in the forties, didn’t they?

Well it was an unusual film. Perhaps it was, you know, retro or something. Anyway. So he is exactly the same person except he’s from another dimension. And first you see her face as it sinks in that it wasn’t her man who proposed to her, and she just slips the ring off her finger. Oh Dad, it was so sad… And he proposed in front of everyone… it was just awful. The look on her face… And I put – I mean – I wanted to put my arm round her and just comfort her – but what can – could - I - you - say, you know? And you could see her wondering, does this mean that the General – her man, the one from this dimension – he might still propose, that he wants to really. But then the alternative one, he has this look in his eye, as if he did it just to be cruel, and he starts saying things to the other soldiers, mean things. And you see her thinking, is her General, has he just been playing with her feelings? And the other General, he manages to get hold of a gun, and so they – the soldiers – they kill him right in front of her, right at her feet. And he looks like the man she loves, you know? And he sounds like him, smells like him, and she loves him and they’ve killed him. And now she’s worrying about the real one – where is he? Is he in another dimension somewhere and other soldiers are killing him at the same minute? But then he arrives back, and he has no idea that anything has happened, and she’s there, and she sees him, and her eyes are just welling up with all this emotion, just full of it, and he walks right past her. And I - you - know it isn’t – nothing has changed for him, he doesn’t know – but I – you - just want to shout at him, you bastard, you thoughtless selfish bastard, to be ignoring her, even if you don’t know. And then later, he finds out, you know, someone makes reference to what’s happened, and he looks at her, and she has to say yes, that it’s true. And her eyes are just… and in that moment you can see that he knows, really, that he cares enough to know how much that would hurt her. And he says ‘I'm sorry’. And he means it. But it doesn’t make any difference. Not to the situation they are in. That she is in. And she just shuts up and locks it all away again, like it never happened… Oh it was awful...well, and that was it really.

Yes.

I know, I’m just tired and jet-lagged and I was half-asleep and it got to me, and I… I just needed to talk to someone about it. I feel better already. I should get some sleep because I have to present at this conference tomorrow.

A few days.

No, I don’t expect I’ll see him while I’m here.

Because I’m on the other side of the country.

Alright then, because we are broken up. You don’t see people after you’ve broken up. Well, not, when it was…like it was.

Because he is very angry with me and he doesn’t understand why I left.

Yes you do know. It was because of the job, this job. Because it was a once-in-a-lifetime…

No it wasn’t…

Yes, he is very nice.

And polite.

Yes, and clean – Dad this isn’t helping. Look, thanks for listening, I’ll drop in and see you when I get back, OK?

Yes, why don’t you Google the film and see…

Yes, good luck with that.

Good night Dad.