Friends

13 January 2018

SHOPPING


I am one of those people paving the way to getting rid of shops. As we all know, shops are closing left, right and centre because more shopping is done on line. In my present situation I don’t have much choice. Without the ability to shop on line I would starve. Once upon a time I only did one on-line weekly shop in order to have heavy groceries delivered, now it is a case of starvation avoidance. I have had to rethink my domestic arrangements because of an inability to get out and about.

On-line shopping is my saviour. Through it I have found that I can have cat-food delivered along with heavy boxes of litter. And then, of course, there’s Amazon, now known as THE place to shop. Whatever I want I seem to be able to get through Amazon. Even cat food, although I haven’t done that yet as it comes with the weekly grocery. 

I ran out of shampoo the other day and, damn and blast, the hairdresser no longer stocks that particular brand. With my fine hair I avoid what I call ‘heavy’ shampoo and the one I was using was perfect for me. I had no choice but to look on Amazon and, of course, there it was. It is now on route from the US in record time. Is there anything Amazon doesn’t sell?

Henceforth you need never run out of reading material, games, pins, needles, sewing implements, bedlinen, household implements, furniture, invalid cars, food, clothing, shoes (Skechers especially), underwear, outerwear, medicines, flea remover, paint……... need I go on?

10 January 2018

LIVING DRAMA



LIVING DRAMA
(or Mommy's Boy) 

‘I dated your son for five years, five years and one month to be exact.’

Kay Bennett looked up from her laptop and wondered if she should continue with her plan; it had taken long enough to type even one sentence.

Feeling despondent she clicked Save and leaned back to think what to say next. She could hardly say she and Roger had met up a tree or that she was playing Jane to his Tarzan. It was the truth but no-one would believe it.

Although the windows were gaping the room seemed airless. Kay jerked open the neck of her blouse and prayed for cooler weather. Roger had written a poem about her room but it was totally untrue. He made it sound glamorous instead of being littered with magazines and generally untidy. Every day she vowed to clear everything away before he came but there were usually remnants of the last meal on show, dishes unwashed, the kitchen table a dumping place for jars of Marmite or Marmalade, depending on what time he arrived. Yes, the poem was totally misleading but as Roger said, an estate agent would appreciate it if they decided to set up home together. Kay knew he would sulk if she told him she could never sell the house. It was her parents’ home; her mother would turn in her grave if she thought her cottage was being abandoned.

Of course, Roger’s mother knew about his poet’s mind and unique sense of humour. But she couldn’t know how they teased and taunted each other, each trying to outdo the other with wit and poetic lines. His penchant for rhyme gave him top dog status, at least in Kay’s eyes. He won the game with poetry and won her heart in the process.

Kay looked aimlessly around the room. The outfit she was to wear that night was hanging on the door; an inappropriate dress for her figure but she’d managed to squeeze into it at rehearsal. It would be her first solo role, the part of a shop girl. 

If she hadn’t joined the drama group she and Roger would never have met. The room was filled with mementos of different plays. Hanging on the wall by the fireplace was a framed bill board announcing a performance of Blythe Spirit in which Kay and Roger had tiny roles, their first time in a new partnership. They had been teamed together from the start. She was Cinderella to his Prince Charming, Juliet to his Romeo. They were so right together, a perfect alliance. The prompt jokingly complained there was nothing to do when she and Roger were on stage. 

Roger said he had fallen in love with her during a performance of Love Story. He had leaned across her sick bed and quietly declared that he had never seen anyone so beautiful. He said it with such feeling, his voice trembling with emotion that Kay couldn’t be certain if he was still playing a part or if he really meant it. He assured her afterwards he meant every word.

And now, feeling the agony of parting, she knew she’d been nothing more than a gullible fool. Kay wanted to tell his mother that it was entirely her fault. Her continual denigration had sent him in search of a dream; one they’d enjoyed together for five years and one month. Kay could tell her it was selfishness that made her attack her son’s activities. She knew she would never lose him but she couldn’t resist aiming blows at his self-esteem. He was a devoted son so Kay could only put it down to insecurity on his mother’s part. She would have felt even more insecure if she’d known what was going on.

~~~~~o~~~~~

Needing air, Kay left her desk and pushed the window further out. Birds were swapping places at the feeding station, blue tits, a robin, and a swanky woodpigeon trying to edge his way in. The garden had sprung into life. She gazed at the marigolds lining the edge of the small, tidy lawn, took in the new rose on a bush she’d once thought was dying. Did beauty ever really die, she wondered? Leaving the window open, she turned back to the room.

There was a pile of photographs on the coffee table. She was going to sort them out the night before but her heart wasn’t in it. Memories got in the way of the healing process but it had to be done. The decision had to be made whether to keep them or … or what? Roger certainly wouldn’t want them and, if he did, his meddling mother would only throw them away.

Squatting on a rattan stool, pushing an empty coffee cup to one side, she selected a picture of herself with Roger and Roger’s dog. They walked Bessie in the park three evenings a week. The animal was never happier than when she ran wild around the trees and chased daring rabbits until she flopped exhausted at Roger’s feet. Perhaps she should keep that one; the dog hadn’t done her any harm.

The gifts Roger gave her were heaped in piles. DVDs, romantic films they both cried over, books, birthday cards she’d held close to her heart, the purple fur mules, silk scarf, and a gold chain bracelet. And of course, the photographs!

Selecting a more recent snapshot Kay gazed at the countenance of the man she had adored for five years and one month. And still did, even though he had now vacated her life. He looked so handsome in his business suit, the one taken in a hotel room, looking slightly ill at ease because of his preference for more casual clothes. The less the better in her view since his body was that of a sun worshipper, lean and bronzed, with no sign of an ageing flab.

There was nothing they didn’t know about each other, no area left unexplored. Likes, dislikes, concerns and worries were shared, support given when business matters needed careful thought, praise when things went right.

Holidays were zealously planned until the time came, when enthusiasm quickly turned to reluctance as they went their separate ways ... Roger with Mother and Kay with a friend. Wardrobes were examined, items discarded if they no longer fit the tune of their lives. He helped with the shopping; wanting to choose the colour and style of her outfits, examining his choice in the long fitting-room mirror. Kay smiled at the memory and the insaneness of it all, but the smile faded when she remembered her impulsive suggestion that he let his mother go away on her own while he came away with her.

Fingering one of the CDs, Kay silently reminisced. Their love of music was a shared experience, quickly realised when Roger turned up at her door armed with CDs from his own collection. Every one already on her list of favourites. Kay remembered the first one they played together, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers … Islands in the Stream. It was claimed as their song and they rocked in unison whenever the CD was played.

Suddenly compelled to hear her favourite, Kay reached for another disc and took it to the record player, leaning against the wall as the music tumbled into her mind: Somewhere Out There. She remembered the tingling that crept over her as they listened, hand in hand, sitting close on the green rug in front of the fire. It was Kay’s first sign that she was truly in love. Listening to it now was pure torture. Impulsively stopping the music she hurried across the room, back to the computer, cursing when she saw it had gone into hibernation. Quickly pressing the button, she brought it bring it back to life, began to type.

Angry words bristled around her brain as her fingers raced over the keyboard. “YOU NEVER KNEW THE HALF OF IT,’ she wrote. ‘YOU NEVER KNEW IT WAS ME HE TURNED TO WHEN YOU HARASSED HIM ABOUT HIS WORK.’ She paused to wipe a single tear sliding down her cheeks; then sat, elbows on the desk, hands covering her face, giving way to grief.

~~~~~o~~~~~

There were bad times. Roger’s important job gave him headaches and he could have done without the continual hassle. He frequently had to juggle the amount of time he had to give to his work with the demands of life with Mother. He was in a real dilemma when things went wrong at home. Sometimes he couldn’t think straight. He often said his head was in turmoil and he didn’t know which way to turn. Kay had the not unpleasant task of soothing away his troubles. She was good at that. She always seemed to know the right words to use.

Kay was appalled at the amount of chores he was expected to do, the sort of chores best done by women – laundry, ironing, and other general household tasks. Having to juggle a responsible job and maintain the domestic arrangements wasn’t fair. It was fine for women, they had supreme organising talents.

So what was wrong with the woman who bore him? She wasn’t infirm and her work, whatever that was, only took up a few hours a week. Kay had to bite her tongue when he talked about it, reminding herself that she was the pacifier. It wouldn’t have been any use nagging and telling him to act like a man instead of a mouse. Though she had to admit it had crossed her mind. In her darkest moments it occurred to her that she was the sop he needed rather than the woman he desired above all else. Kay dabbed her eyes with a tissue to stop more tears spilling out.

It was a long time before they got round to sex. In the beginning it was just talk. Kay had been reluctant to give herself to a man before marriage so they contented themselves with teasing, cheeky innuendos. Some merely made her laugh; some made her want to pursue the margins of temptation. They agreed that she shouldn’t go where she felt uncomfortable. 

Photographs changed her ideas. Seeing him undressed, his manhood rearing, she soon wanted the real thing. They began to experiment, to see how long they could last before their bodies exploded with desire. At those times Roger said he couldn’t live without her. Certainly Kay felt she couldn’t live without him. Only now did she recognise that Roger was a mother’s boy. Only now did she realise how much her life would be ruined if they'd married. 

But nothing lasts forever. At his home the domestic row that had been brewing for weeks finally erupted. The situation was serious. Kay never heard the full story and never will. Roger abruptly pulled the plug. All Kay had now was silence … and memories. It happened two months ago and she was only now getting used to the pain of abandonment. Never again would she hear his voice or see his beautiful face. It was time to exist without him. And she would.

During those months Kay had done a lot of thinking. It had come as a shock to realise how much she’d been used. She’d been a fool, a pawn in the game he played to thwart his mother. The knowledge didn’t alleviate the hurt or relieve her shame.

The screensaver on the laptop showed a picture of Roger, taken when he was sunbathing in France, the white swimming briefs bulging in such a way that Kay’s thighs jumped. ‘Never again Roger,’ she whispered as she set about removing his image from her screen.

‘I dated your son for five years, five years and one month to be exact’

Seeing those words again she began to type, finishing the sentence.

‘….. and I have great pleasure in handing him back.’

She wouldn’t send it, but it did her good to say it. The affair was over. No more intrigue, no more Roger, no more father of her unborn child. It was all an act, drama without end, the performance of his life. But her role would continue. There must be no more tears, there were plans to make, a future to face, a child to love. Lifting her eyes heavenwards Kay prayed she would never be as possessive and suffocating with her own offspring. 

Goodbye Roger. Take good care of your mother.

06 January 2018

LUNCH WITH A FRIEND



It has been several months since Judy and I did a lunch thing simply because I hadn’t been too well. We don’t live near each other, so we used to take it in turns to do the travelling. Judy is remarkably able considering she is disabled and it puts me to shame when I say I don’t feel well enough to travel. It’s true though, I didn’t feel well enough the last few months.

I saw one of the neighbours the other day and was asked how I was coping on my own. I didn’t say this to her but there’s not a lot of difference to when Joe was here. I still do things like writing stuff for the blog, catching up on writing tales, paying bills, trying to re-educate the memory etc. I must be reasonably occupied because time seems to fly. Perhaps that’s an age thing; I wouldn’t know but the time since rising in the morning and going back to bed at night whizzes by.

Judy and I discussed this the other day. Neither of us minds being on our own in our respective homes, in fact we enjoy it. We both know how to keep occupied and there is always something to do to help pass the time. Both of us have cats, as well, and they keep us on our toes! As for families, both of ours live remote distances away so that family members are seldom seen. Mind you, both of us wouldn’t mind more contact with our grown-up children but we don’t dwell on it.

Judy still does work for the WI, at her home, but since my WI closed I have given up on that sort of work and don’t miss it at all. It’s nice not having the responsibility. I feel sorry for those people who can’t live alone, it must be painful for them if it’s forced on them. So I’m happy to say ‘I’m all right, Jack’ … and mean it. But then again, deep down I know there could be problems ahead – for both of us. 

02 January 2018

THE NEW CAR!

LEO

I have resolved the problem of going up the hill where I live. I researched and discussed with a neighbour the merits or otherwise of purchasing an invalidity scooter. See picture above. In view of the fact that I need independence and not have to be beholden to people for posting letters etc it seemed the most logical thing to do. So when the neighbour suggested a day to go looking I jumped at the chance.

We had thought we’d need to visit several outlets, however we struck lucky at the first one. The variety was enormous, but we managed to dwindle it down to two or three. I decided against having a three-wheeler, imagining a single front wheel would be easy to get stuck in ruts. I could have been wrong but a four wheeler made more sense to me. After all, I had driven a four-wheel car for many years. The colour was easy to choose, red being the colour of the car – and now the scooter. Looking at it another way, red was the most noticeable colour and other people needed to see me coming!!

I bought it and it was delivered next day. Insurance was dealt with by neighbour so I was free to go riding.

Only I didn’t!

I had to work myself up to take the plunge. I mean, what would people think if they saw me riding out on a scooter? Actually, nothing. It was all in my silly mind.

 A day later, after telling myself that if I didn’t get out and practice scootering I would never go out at all, I used Leo (the scooter’s name) to deliver Christmas cards to neighbours. Nervous? Yes! Going up driveways and having to reverse as well as go forward almost put me off, that is – until I gave myself a lecture along with a few expletives about how stupid I was. I had to use the thing to get accustomed to all the switches and what they do. So next day I went out to post some letters, a decent ride up and down hills to the nearest post box.

Several people wished me good morning, you don’t get that in a car!

I met few obstacles, but it was amazing how many drivers illegally park their cars half on the footpath and half in the road. I have seen articles in the press about this inconsiderate way of parking and the police are on the case. One white van was particularly difficult to get past … but I DID IT.

I handled it well, I thought, watching out for pot-holes and learning how to adjust speed. I felt I had achieved something. One thing I did learn, though, and that was to wear a warmer coat!