beryl deliberately got pregnant at sixteen. the crush she had on jimmy overwhelmed her, and when the blood hit the fan, not only did her parents move home to separate the young lovers by four hundred miles, she was also separated from her child at birth, which in 1963 was designed to be as coldhearted and uncomfortable as possible for all single mothers.
roll on to late last year at the tiny sandwich bar on wardour street in soho where’s she’d been working for decades, when a tall softly spoken man from a law firm on cavendish square came in and handed her a letter. he told her not to worry..he reassured her there was no trouble and then left.
beryl was in no position to open the letter straight away cause all the film editing suites nearby would be rolling in through the door for mountains of soho’s finest sandwiches, but once things quietened down, she leaned her tired elbows against the worn out blue formica standing bar, and read the letter.
beryl… here in hospital i miss your little cafe… you always laughed at my timely arrivals to grab one of the three tiny tables… i hardly know a thing about you, but i’ve been watching closely for years. the way you fold those soft fresh sandwiches into greaseproof paper… no one uses that lovely thick greaseproof paper anymore beryl.. no one but you..you fold it round the soft fresh bread like tidy bedsheets…when i look at that simple act of care and precision, i see all the love and loneliness in world. so many of the ideas i’ve had for my work came to me while sitting in that corner over there looking out into reality… it’s a struggle… no one has time to waste and eyes are peeled… i always loved how you urged me to buy another mug of bloody tea with a slice of bloody fruit cake or to bloody well free up a table. i was in heaven every time you laid down the cafe law.
beryl.. whatever that wall is you’ve built around yourself, i just want you to know this world isn’t always as hard as it feels.. it’s not the whole story… before i shuffle off, which will be very soon, i want to send out a random act of kindness…besides….there’s no one else i see daily anymore anyway…they’re all gone or plain awful…so take this lolly…it’s loads isn’t it… if it overwhelms you, hector, the tall chappy who came in is instructed to guide you all the way… maybe you’ll buy a house.. maybe you’ll get your hair done more regularly…i have no idea….just know how you were loved, even if it was from a close distance. i somehow always knew you were too tender for any outside interference.