Doreen and Len — the beginning

We all have dreams of how our lives will turn out.

At night, when we are young and the stars dance above us, we dream of a soulmate who will love us forever. In those enchanted times, we see ourselves hand in hand with a person who brings us joy. In those waking dreams, we are in fragrant forests or in the heart of a dazzling city with the person who has stolen our hearts. Life seems perfect.

So, then, how did it happen that Doreen and Len became so sour? What happened to their dreams? When I saw them, yesterday as it goes, they looked so weary of life. And the biker is lucky that looks can’t kill. Sure, when his bike growled through the town at lunchtime, it was loud. But their mutual look of absolute and withering disapproval which was shot at him, seemed rather out of proportion.

How did it come to this for Doreen and Len? Why was their hearts’ song now so discordant? Or was it always that way?


He took her hand, excitement burning in his eyes.

“You’re amazing, Doreen!”

“Oh, Len.” She shot him a withering look. “For goodness sake. Pull yourself together.”

“I have never met anyone as sour as you. You disapprove of everything. Let’s stay together. You and me babe. Forever.”

She looked him up and down and told him his shoes needed a good polish.

He felt like he could sing.

“Amazing!” he said. “There’s no joy in you at all. Let’s do it!”

Doreen looked unimpressed.

Len tried again. “I will buy you flowers every single day.”

“Waste of money,” she said, her eyes cold and her mouth a thin line of disapproval. “Horrid things, cluttering up the house with vases. Rancid water filling the house with its stench. Pollen goes everywhere, making me sneeze.”

He looked downhearted.

“It’s a no then?” he asked.

“We are too different!” she snapped, her mouth set in what Len considered to be her most attractive grimace.

He half-turned, his dream shattered. But, he hesitated. He told himself, faint-heart had never won a fair lady. Or, in Doreen’s case, an unfair lady. He turned back, steeling himself against her face, which had become even more sour.

“But I can improve myself. I can become as hard and as unfeeling as you,” he protested. “ I will never see joy in anything. Not ever.”

She looked him up and down, like a farmer regarding the last remaining bull at a livestock sale.

“Suppose you might. Ok, then, you’ll do.”

She turned sharply and walked away. He knew he was meant to follow, so he did.

“I am coming,” he told her. “I will always be here. Just don’t change.”

Her tut, when it came, was enough to send his heart into raptures.

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