A couple of weeks ago I went to visit my parents and left Walter in charge of the flat on the strict
instructions that he is not to admit any more imaginary creatures or pantomime characters in for comedy
knees-ups, drug smoking, political meetings, shoemaking, fashioning of magical rings or pretending not
to realise that someone is behind them. He phoned me on my mobile one night, all forlorn. Turns out he
is having girlfriend trouble. His voice is pretty squeaky at the best of times, but he was sounding
noticeably very upset. He's always been a bit of a jack-the-lad before, bringing home a different tiny
pointy-eared female every couple of weeks. They were always a little worse for wear and I long since
resigned myself to the fact that I would always very soon be hearing the sounds of tiny elfin bedroom
gymnastics from within the sofa.
But lately I had noticed a distinct change in him. The regular sofa guests stopped. I was pleased
about this as it meant I didn't have to explain the noises to my daughters Erin and Lottie when they stayed. He seemed very
restless and unable to concentrate on his normal everyday tasks and he started stopping and smelling
flowers for no reason and waxing lyrical about how beautiful everyday things were. After questioning
him about it, I found out the reason. Walter was in love! Her name was Tallina Breeze . A tree nymph
from Bolton Woods. Walter spoke of her in an enchanting lyrical fashion. Such a contrast from the
usual crude descriptions he gave for his latest conquests. Beauty, fear, honour, privilege, longing.
affection, constancy and love all of a sudden became part of Walter's vocabulary.
I had the pleasure of meeting her one evening. Walter sent me out to the shops for a teeny tiny
dining table and dolls china dinner set and he locked himself in the kitchen all afternoon from
where tantalising smells wafted into my nostrils like an amusing game of Name that Smell. When
Tallina finally arrived for Walter's repast, I was pleasantly surprised to note that she was
markedly different from Walter's usual arm trophies. She had a winning smile and was pretty and
striking in a quite unique teeny tiny way. She and Walter seemed to get on effortlessly and the
evening was filled with squeaky laughter, despite the notable absence of Walter's usual inebriation.
A number of similar evenings followed and when I left Walter in charge of the flat that week,
it was in the rather confident hope that he had put his wild oat sewing and hedonism days behind
him and was now forging an altogether more lasting happiness. So when I heard his voice on the
phone, betraying signs of personal devastation, my heart sank for my little love-struck squatter.
To cut a long story short (well, not that short, but I'm trying my best), Tallina has gone all
cold on Walter. He can't understand it and frankly, neither can I. From what I saw of them together,
she seemed as besotted with him as he is with her. From what Walter has told me about what she has
said to him, it seems she has been rather badly let down in the past and is frightened to open herself
up to such hurt again. Walter quoted something particularly poignant which Tallina apparently said
to him in cartoon-mouse like tones:
"because it's easier not to have something than having to worry about how to keep it and look after it"
The poor little things. Sounds like they are both experiencing some considerable angst and anguish.
I hope that they can work it out with time and that Walter doesn't go off the rails in the meantime.
Although each tale stands on it own, Elf Tales is a series of stories best read from the beginning so that you get to know the colourful characters. To read more in the series, click here.
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