Diane Mayr and Robert Haydon Jones

Diane Mayr
The Plague


Robert Haydon Jones
Letter from Norway

Inspiration piece

Letter from Norway
By Robert Haydon Jones

Terry Moran had always enjoyed an unfair advantage as a handsome man, but when he returned to civilian life from the hospital with a medical discharge for the wounds he had suffered on his one and only tour with the Marines, he had acquired another very special attribute — he sparkled with joy.

Terry was absolutely delighted to be alive. He celebrated every day. He luxuriated in the shower. He savored his coffee. He appreciated his clean shirt, his underwear, his socks. He loved that he made a very good living as a designer for a famous Advertising Agency. When the pressure was intense, Terry was cool. When his rivals, tried to hurt him, Terry let his work speak for itself. After a time, no one messed with him.

Three years after he returned, Terry married the widow of an officer from his outfit. At 32, Helen was five years older than Terry. They made a stunning couple.

Terry – blond, muscular, was still light on his feet, with a raised, two-inch welt of a scar meandering from below his right ear across his throat toward his left collarbone. Helen was an actress/model who looked like Ava Gardner with a much better body. She was featured in numerous commercials running nationwide. She had three children, a tween girl in middle school and twin sons in sixth grade.

Terry enjoyed their company. And the kids were glad he was there. Helen had suffered when their father had shipped out. He was the only man she had ever loved. Ever. Ever. She was terrified he was never coming back.

She drank very carefully at first and then way too much. Way, way too much. And then pills. And coke. And then a similar sort of progression with men – and women. No one serious. That was pretty easy. Helen couldn’t get enough. She was scary. Very scary.

The children didn’t have the details – but they knew Helen was in big trouble. Then the word came that their father had been killed and grief and peace came to the family.

Many Marines came and all the family. Helen saw them through it all. She was rock steady. Their dear dead father was a hero. He had died for them and for the country. For democracy. For America. Helen gave the memorial flag to their father’s mother. Then life started up again. They went back to school. Their mother went back to work. It was like coming back from a Spring Vacation.

Two years later, Helen and Terry met at a dinner party. Each had been invited as a potential match with someone else. But at the end of the evening, they left together. Three months later, in June, they were married. It was a small wedding. They skipped the honeymoon. They moved to a splendid house in Greenwich. Life was good again. Real good.

Yet people wondered if it would last. Helen had a history. Terry was a very attractive man.

Terry and Helen were well accustomed to being desired. Helen had developed the ability to display a nebulous negative force field whenever a creep (or an innocent) made a play for her. On the rare occasions that failed, she was highly proficient at telling the Romeo to back off. She did so in very plain language. She had never had to do it twice.

Terry had never said no before. Now he just mentioned that he was still crazy in love with Helen and that did the trick. Terry smiled when he said it and flashed his dimples. There were never any hard feelings.

Two Junes after he married Helen, Terry befriended a Norwegian girl in her early twenties. Ingrid sat next to him on the 8:10 train to Grand Central. It was a Thursday morning. Ingrid was an Au Per working in Greenwich going to New York on her day off. She was a blonde beauty but evidently quite used to it.

They got talking. Terry had been to Bergen for a tournament with his prep school Rugby team. Ingrid was just a week in the States. She was meeting up with two friends from Norway who were also Au Pers. Terry made some suggestions. A good lunch spot for a reasonable price. Two museums. He recommended two guided tours. One tour by bus. The other by boat.

Terry worked late that day. He took the 9:09 train back to Greenwich. As the train eased out of Grand Central, Ingrid plopped into the seat next to him. She was happy. Lunch was good. The tours were good – especially the boat one. She thanked Terry. He made some more suggestions. They talked about Norway. He told Ingrid about his wife and family. She told Terry about her family. They lived just a mile from Terry. Her two children, a boy and a girl, were at the same Middle School as Terry’s twins.

Terry offered Ingrid a ride home. In the driveway, she turned toward Terry and asked him to please give her a kiss Good Night. He bent down to give her a peck on the cheek and Ingrid shifted her head slightly and gave Terry a deep, wet kiss that zapped through him from head to toe like an electric shock.

She ended the kiss and got out of the car. “Thank you”, she said. “See you next Thursday.”

It was a long week. Terry felt guilty every day. And excited. What was wrong with him? He loved Helen. She loved him. This was crazy. How cheeky of Ingrid to assume that he would be on the train again next Thursday! She was a friggin Au Per!

On Thursday, Ingrid walked up to Terry on the platform five minutes before the train arrived. When they got to New York, they went straight to a nice hotel. Ingrid and Terry had thunderous sex for most of the day. They enjoyed themselves. They had a lot of fun together. They took the train back to Greenwich. Terry gave Ingrid a ride home.

Terry arranged his schedule so that he had Thursdays open. They liked their hotel. Ingrid asked Terry to take her to museums. They dined well. They went to matinees. They had delicious sex. They went shopping. Terry bought Ingrid little presents. Every once in a while, they overnighted in the city and took the train back to Greenwich on Friday evening.

It was all very pleasant. It certainly did not intrude into Terry’s life with Helen and the children. He was very fond of Ingrid but he did not love her. He loved Helen. Ingrid was his companion. His Thursday buddy. He really enjoyed being with her. She made him feel young. They looked good together as a couple. He was ten years older but they matched up well. On Thursdays.

Ingrid never told Terry she loved him. She did say, “My beautiful Terry – you make me so happy.” But never anything possessive.

Five months of Thursdays spun by and all was well. Christmas was coming. Ingrid was going with her family to California for the holidays. It would be their first separation. Terry was surprised he was feeling anxious about it. He was already missing her! Right after they had the usual delightful sex, Ingrid said, “ Oh, Terry, I would so much like to have a baby from you.”

Terry was startled. “Thanks, sweetie,” he said. “But please let’s not ever go there. Let’s stay friends.”

Ingrid was smiling. “Terry, in Norway, I would have our baby and my Mother would care take. When I get married, my husband would be also the father. We could stay friends.”

Terry jumped up and put his briefs on. He insisted that Ingrid promise there would be no baby.

He tried to get her to cross her heart and hope to die – but she didn’t understand that. So he got her to swear to God, with her right hand on her beautiful left breast, there would be no baby. He asked her to do it twice — and when she did — he jumped back into the bed and they had sex again.

Terry missed Ingrid during the holidays but he didn’t miss her a real lot. He knew she missed him a real lot – and that bothered him more than anything. Then in early January, Terry had to go out to Hawaii for ten days for an important shoot for Ford. He took Helen with him. They went to the Big Island. They had a great time. It was the honeymoon they had never had.

Terry and Ingrid finally met on the morning train on the last Thursday in January. They were deeply tanned. The train was crowded with people standing in the aisles. It was hard to talk. When they finally got in to their room at the hotel, Terry hugged Ingrid hard. He really wanted her. She arched into him and then she stepped back and started to cry. Terry knew instantly what the problem was.

Ingrid was pregnant. Four months going on five. She was afraid Terry would be angry. She was pregnant when she had promised him she never would get pregnant. She would go back home to Norway to have the baby. It would not cost anything. Then her mother would care take. They could still be friends.

Terry told Ingrid not to worry. He stroked her head and kissed her gently. Of course they would still be friends. He undressed her awkwardly. He wanted her so much his hands were shaking.

When she was naked, the white sections of her beautiful tan body inflamed him all the more. He nuzzled her hungrily. She pushed him back and took his clothes off very deliberately. Then they had sex and sex and sex until he couldn’t do it any more.

That was really the end for them. From then on, it was all about getting Ingrid back to Norway with Terry and Ingrid staying friends. Terry kept trying to do the next right thing but that wasn’t easy because when they met, the first thing Terry wanted to do was Ingrid. As she got plumper, he hungered all the more for her.

She quit her job and moved in to the city with a friend from Norway who was studying at Columbia. Her sponsors complained to the Au Per agency but Ingrid didn’t care. Terry visited with her almost every weekday. On Thursdays, they went to their hotel. Ingrid would get upset when Terry left to get the train to Greenwich but they were still friends.

Terry bought her a Business Class ticket to Oslo three weeks out but Ingrid somehow pushed it back a week, twice. She was very pregnant. She was crying a lot and acting strangely. Terry realized she might be two or more months more pregnant than she had told him.

On their last Thursday at the hotel, before her flight on Saturday, she raged at Terry when he left to catch the train. His cab hit every red light. Ingrid beat him to the platform. He tried to reason with her but she raged at him and wept. The train was leaving. Terry got on. Ingrid followed him.

The train was 18 cars and it was jammed. Terry pushed through all 18 cars with Ingrid on his heels raging and weeping. She was screaming at him in English and Norwegian. He had promised never to leave her. What would happen to their baby? She screamed through all 18 cars. When they finally got to the head car, two men got up and offered Ingrid a seat. She sat down and wept. And wept.

In the end, Terry rented a car in Stamford and drove Ingrid back to her apartment. Her roommate helped Terry tuck Ingrid into her bed. She was still crying softly. Terry kissed her on the forehead and closed the door. He never saw Ingrid again.

A few months later he got a letter from Norway addressed to him at the office. It was from Ingrid. The baby had been born, but sadly, the cord had wrapped around the baby’s neck and he was dead. She was still very sad but she was okay. She hoped he was okay.

Terry tore up the letter and threw the pieces into the trash basket.

The years passed. Helen and Terry had a baby girl. Terry was immediately demoted to second fiddle. He didn’t like it.

Three different men and a woman told Terry they had witnessed Ingrid’s pregnant pursuit of Terry on the train. They laughed heartily as they told him. The woman had tears in her eyes.

Occasionally, Terry would wonder about Ingrid. Did she settle down in Norway? Was she married? What about the baby? Did it really die? Or had she just given him a story to be rid of him?

What if the baby had been born? By now, he would be a full-grown man. Did he wonder about his real father?

Then on the Saturday after his daughter’s 21st birthday, Terry opened his mailbox and found a letter to him from Norway.


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  1. Posted December 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm | #

    Another nailbiter by Jones. Couldn’t stop reading.

  2. Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:20 am | #

    Another good one, Mr Jones.

  3. Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:45 am | #

    A perfect marriage of Art and Story………ah Lust, is it a gift, a curse or perhaps a lesson.

  4. Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:05 am | #

    Moving story lust & love & attraction and the tragic that come for something beautiful and simple.

  5. Posted December 26, 2017 at 4:13 pm | #

    Interesting twist. Lots of solid jabs.

  6. Posted January 5, 2018 at 9:04 am | #

    Strong tension from real desire. Love the ending – tension of possibilities immediately clicks in.