Ralph lay there on his BACK in the snow. There was no BLOOD, and he was fine. Carol started to laugh, then a CHEEKY boy walked past and joined in the laughter, making some joke about falling down. The problem was, Ralph did not find it funny. He began to bristle. But that was how he always was. Things that most people would laugh at, Ralph took seriously. Carol was only just beginning to learn this. All she knew was that if it had been her, she would have been laughing hysterically.
They’d met at University. Both of them were quite CLEVER. It wasn’t long before the love affair began. He had invited her to the Halls Christmas Ball. A formal. affair indeed, calling for a long ball gown and formal wear for him too.
Carol planned for the event excitedly in her head. He talked about it a lot. It was going to be a very special occasion. Finding a ball gown was very exacting for Carol. It had to be just right. In the end she got a friend back home to make her one. A beautiful turquoise colour with silver going through it.
The night arrived, and Ralph greeted her with a beautiful FLOWER. It was an orchid, to pin onto her gown. Perfect. Of course, there was FOOD as well. Carol was never much of a one for food. A scanty eater, she weighed only seven stones. It was impossible for her to GAIN weight, even if she had wanted to.
Suddenly, she had such a FRIGHT. A mouse ran out from under a table. She screamed. Everyone jumped HIGH in the air, or so it seemed. The JOY of the evening was spoiled. But at that point an OLD professor appeared, who amazingly managed to bash the mouse on its head with his crutch. He only needed to do it ONCE, and that was it. Squashed mouse! There wouldn’t have been any time for the mouse to feel PAIN. The action was swift, and final.
After that, Carol and Ralph, though rattled, decided to PERSEVERE with the evening, and not let it bother them. Carol was aware of the RIVALRY that went on between the women regarding their ball gowns. But she didn’t want to get into anything like that. She just wanted to enjoy herself with her man. She certainly wasn’t going to START joining in any such thing. She wore her gown with great STYLE.
Everything seemed set for things to be wonderful. A fantastic future was to be theirs. One of huge SUCCESS. She and Ralph became so close that they were almost TELEPATHIC.
Then came the shock. Ralph failed his final exams. In fact he failed to gain his degree. He had never been so UNHAPPY in his life. So much had been expected of him by his family. Their WISH had always been for him to do well. A polio victim, he had struggled with disability almost all of his life. Not that it was that noticeable. He had one leg that was shorter than the other, but Carol had hardly noticed it. And so, when he fell down in the snow, she was shocked at his reaction. The snow was soft, and he was not hurt. But on that day she learned just how sensitive he was. And she vowed never to laugh again.