When the envelope arrived with her results, Ruby called me, and I drove home to be with her as she opened them. She was as nervous as I’d ever seen her be, and she tore open the letter with quivering hands. She read the paper then looked at me, wide-eyed. “Oh my dear God Tony, I’ve done it, I have an MA Honors in Linguistics.”
I grabbed her, and we laughed and kissed and were both just giddy with excitement. I opened a bottle of Champaign that I’d set aside for just this particular occasion, and we were enjoying our second glass when her phone started ringing, with all her Edinburgh friends calling to exchange results. I admit to feeling a little put out that I had to share her excitement with others, but I put a smile on my face and watched her excitement.
I suggested we have a party to celebrate, and Ruby was thrilled at the prospect. Soon invitations had been sent out to old classmates, neighbors, and friends, and Ruby was busy with catering and arranging the finer details. Come the evening of the party the house was full and everyone had a great time.
After the last guest had left, Ruby and I sat drinking a glass of brandy and staring into the dark Norfolk night. “You know,” Ruby said after a while. “Edinburgh has the longest sunsets I’ve ever seen. I think it’s because it’s a lot further north than down here. I loved going to Portobello Beach and watching the sun over the water there. Did I ever tell you a couple of us climbed up Arthur’s seat late one night? The city was laid out before us like a set of diamonds – incredible sight.”
She had an odd wistful look on her face, and I asked if she missed Edinburgh. “I do, I really do.” She said. After a pause she carried on “I was thinking, we have to go back for the graduation ceremony next month, maybe we could go up early and spend some time there? I’d love to take more time showing you around.” I agreed that we’d do that, and she smiled and kissed me.
Looking back, I think maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall then, but I was so content with Ruby back home that nothing else seemed to matter.
The week before Graduation we set off to Edinburgh. Being with Ruby as she took me around the city I slowly became aware how much the country girl I had always known was changing into a woman about town.