Chloe and Ben were nine years of age and they were inseparable.
Pitford was a tiny hamlet with no transport links, only the school bus that took them to their lessons five miles away. They were the only children in Pitford, so naturally they gravitated towards each other. Ben’s father worked as a farm labourer nearby whilst Chloe’s was Commanding Officer at the top-secret army depot seven miles over the moor.
At Chloe’s birthday party, attended only by Ben and the offspring of two other Army officers, her father sprang the news that he was being transferred to Washington in the role of British Military Attaché.
‘It’s a very important, job, Chloe,’ he said quietly. ‘You will be living in a really nice house in America and meeting many more boys and girls.’
‘And it’s a big promotion for Daddy,’ added her mother.
Chloe looked at Ben, who sat watching her as if trying to absorb the information.
‘I don’t want to live in America. I like it in Pitford.’ A tear trickled down her cheek. ‘What about Ben? He won’t have any friends at all if I go to America.’
Her mother hugged her. ‘But you’re so young. You can write to each other. And there’s the internet nowadays so it will be easy for you to keep in touch.’
‘But Ben doesn’t have the internet. They can’t afford it.’
They stood at the roadside, watching the removers drive away. Ben took Chloe’s hand. ‘One day I’m going to marry you, Chloe. I promise.’
Chloe snuffled into her tear-soaked handkerchief. ‘I believe you, Ben.’
The Registrar smiled. ‘Stephen and Chloe, it is now customary for the groom to kiss the bride.’ He watched as they embraced, and the guests applauded.
A few minutes later, as they signed the register, he said, ‘You don’t recognise me Chloe. It’s the beard and glasses. I’m Ben, your childhood friend from Pitford. When I saw the listings I just had to get the job of officiating. Remember I promised that one day I would marry you?’
‘Now I’ve kept that promise.’