“Granddad, you never did tell me how you met Nan all those years ago, I asked Nan to tell me and all she said was to ask you”
“Ahh now there’s a story, and such an appropriate story to tell you on your seventeenth Birthday, you know some people believe in fate, some in coincidence and some in something much more mystical. I’m not sure what I believe in, but I can tell you that some things just can’t be explained with any kind of logic. This is one of those tales, it happened many years ago when I was a young man. I’m old now, but my life changed on that day back in 1965. I was due to meet a good friend near Liverpool Street station. I was early and had an hour to kill before I met him; I left the station and was wandering along London Wall when a man stopped me”
“Excuse me guv, I think you just dropped something”
The stranger handed me a cufflink.
“Oh thank you”
I took it even though it wasn’t mine. Seemed like too much trouble to explain that it wasn’t me who had dropped it. I put it straight into my coat pocket and continued walking.
It started to rain, there was a small cafe about fifty yards along the street, I decided to go in and get a mug of tea and wait until the weather changed.
I got my tea, white mug with a chipped handle, strong with very little milk and no sugar.
I sat at the table slowly stirring the hot liquid hoping it would eventually cool down enough for me to drink it. The cafe started to get busy; everyone seemed to have the same idea as me.
“Ok if I sit here?”
It was a woman in her forties, wearing a soaked brown jumper.
“I left my bloody jacket back at the office, only popped out to go the Post Office and then the heavens opened!”
“I know what you mean, these April showers, they can drown you in minutes”
She smiled and sat down and started to sip her tea.
I put some change in my coat pocket and remembered the cufflink. I took it out to have a look at it.
“Oh my god, what a coincidence, I found the other one just outside, I was going to give it to the guy behind the counter in case someone came in asking about it, but it’s obviously yours”
She handed me the cufflink.
“Oh thank you”
I didn’t know what to say, well, what could I say, it would all sound a bit crazy trying to explain that someone had given me a cufflink, I’d taken it even though it wasn’t mine, then half an hour later I just happened to be sitting in a Café and someone else gives me another one, it would all sound a bit bizarre!
“I’m so pleased that it’s back with its rightful owner, they’re lovely aren’t they, were they a gift or something?”
“Err yes from my wife”
I lied of course, wasn’t married then.
“Ahh that’s nice, well I’m sure she’ll be pleased that you didn’t lose it after all, stopped raining now so I’m off”
She smiled, took a last sip of her tea and left.
I looked closely at the cufflinks, they really were nice, obviously gold but with blue and white stones, surely they couldn’t be diamonds and sapphires could they? If they were they would be worth a fortune. What were the chances of this happening, billions to one, must be, maybe I was meant to have them, I wasn’t superstitious or anything but this seemed too good to be true. I put them both in my coat pocket and went out into the now bright sunshine.
I met my mate in Dirty Dicks in Bishopsgate, a good old fashioned ale house. We were both 26 and had gone to school together. He had a job as a Solicitors Clerk in Liverpool Street and I was then working as an accounts clerk in Shoreditch. We hadn’t seen each other for about three years. After a couple of beers he told me something, I can remember his words as though it were only yesterday.
“Hope you don’t mind but my girlfriend is going to meet me in an hour then we’re off to the pictures”
“No, that’s fine, how long have you been going out?”
“Six months today so we’re sort of celebrating”
He then went on to tell me how they had met, she worked in a jewellers in Hatton Garden and he had gone in to buy some earrings for his mum, they started chatting and that was that.
She turned up just before the pub shut, they used to shut early in those days, half past two in the afternoon and then open again about six. She was lovely, tall, red hair, red lipstick, a real stunner.
“Was that Nan, you stole her from your best mate?”
“No, there’s more to this story, so just listen”
Then I remembered the cufflinks, she would know if they were real or not her working for a jewellers. She took one look at them and her face lit up.
“These are really beautiful, they look like real diamonds and sapphires, best place to go to get them valued is down Middlesex Street just up the road, there’s a small jewellers shop there. See a girl called Nancy and tell her that Rosie sent you, she’ll give them the once over for free”
So I did, it was a twenty minute walk and when I turned up Nancy told me that they were real and worth over a thousand pounds.
“But Nans names not Nancy”
“I told you there’s more to this story, listen up”
As I was leaving the shop a young girl walked in, beautiful she was, absolutely gorgeous. Instead of leaving I stayed in the shop and just sort of hung about pretending to look at the gold chains and rings. Nancy was out the back and didn’t hear her come in, the young girl thought I worked there and told me that she wanted to buy some cufflinks for her Dads birthday. Quick as a flash I produced the cufflinks out of my pocket.
“These are the real thing madam but they are very expensive, I can get others in a lower price range but they won’t be in for a day or two, if you give me your phone number and address I’ll call you as soon as they arrive”
She wrote down her name, address and work telephone number.
“And that was Nan?”
“Yep, that was Nan”
I called her the next day and told her the truth and asked if we could meet up for a drink, we did and the rest is history as they say, that was over forty five years ago now”
“You’re making this up granddad, but it’s a great story”
“Ok time for your birthday present, here it is, hope you like it”
He opened the box, he was speechless, there before him were the most beautiful cufflinks he had ever seen, gold but with diamonds and sapphires.
“You have got to be kidding me?”
“Boy, I hope they bring you as much happiness as they brought me all those years ago!”