29th August 1961


Dear Diary
The end of the end. I remember I described August 4th as the beginning of the end. So much has happened in the 25 days between that it seems years ago. I have had so much to write in here, so many things that I want to remember. It is the little enjoyable things that I need to write down so, when I read it back it can help recall the marvelous time I’ve had. Surely the 25 most enjoyable days I’ve experienced in my life yet. My eighteenth summer was certainly something out of the ordinary and building up into the climax of the last 25 days.

Now it is finished and we have to go back into the old routine. True, it will be the pleasantest possible routine with Alan to share it with me. Nevertheless, it will be the same as every other couple’s lives. Work during the day, seeing each other evenings and weekends. Looking forward to special occasions to break the monotony, then, when they are over finding something else to wait for. That is life and that is how it must be lived.

I must escape from this sentimental mood and get down to the facts of today.
We were surprised by a visit from Uncle Charlie whilst Lena and I were still having breakfast. Mum had written to Auntie Emily and him to tell them about Lena’s ankle and he had come over to see how she was. Nice of him I thought. Actually, her ankle swelling has gone down considerably but she still can’t get her foot into any of her own shoes so she has borrowed my new flat shoes to travel home in.
Alan arrived soon after Uncle Charlie and we were still at breakfast. It was a sad procession that finally left the house. Lena shook hands with Uncle Charlie, who wished her well. Then she kissed Mum and I could see the tears in poor old Mum’s eyes. Jennifer walked up to the station with us and she made her farewells there. I learned afterwards that she ran back home and sobbed her heart out. She let loose what we had all been trying to hide.

We travelled to Victoria and there caught a train to Gatwick Airport, arriving just in time for the 12.30 check-in time. It was then that Lena left us. Not physically. I don’t know how to explain this. While she has been over here we hadn’t thought of her as a foreigner at all. But at Gatwick she met one of her college friends and to hear her talking in Swedish the ties began to break. She didn’t seem to belong to us so completely. We had half an hour before the plane left, so Alan bought us a drink in the very chic cocktail lounge. I’m afraid we practically ignored him. We talked and talked to each other about everything but her going home. I was feeling almost hysterical. I know I was laughing loudly and wanting to cry at the same time.

At 1 o’clock we walked down to the departure gate. I was feeling very numb inside. The moment had finally come. The moment I had been dreading as soon as I realised that today was very close. Our final words were in the strain of ‘we must see each other some time, either in Sweden or in England, so it isn’t as final as it seems.’   Then she picked up her bags and walked away, to her plane, to her family and to her home.

airplane on sky during golden hour


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