“Max must have been a tall chap,” said Crisp my aged companion gazing up at the sign.
“There’s no skin on it, so he must have ducked in time,” I replied not rising to the bait.
“A chucklesome situation don’t you think,” she asked.
“Very much so, you’ve got me chuckling, sometimes Crsip your wit is astounding,” I added knowing how much her ego would be soaking it up.
“I imagine Max to be a basketballer, that’s a game for giants,” she said. “I would think going through life being so tall had a few pitfalls. Like shoe size,” she added, “they tend to have big feet don’t they. My mother always said big feet meant big appetites.”
As always the mention of food had my stomach gurgling.
He thought about the current situation and realised he had to do something as he had overstepped the mark in his comments about her aging.
He didn’t know what had come over him, but on reflection, he knew he had insulted her, and her reaction was one he hadn’t seen before.
It required a gesture that demonstrated his remorse for truth be told he was horrified by what he had said.
He thought of getting down on one knee, but that idea as humbling as it was, was troubling as there was the real possibility of him not being able to get back up again. And that he knew would do nothing to further his efforts to say sorry.
As it was, she had banished him to the spare room telling him he could stay there and rot for all she cared. He’d never seen her so worked up. Her response to his comments made it clear he was well and truly in the doghouse.
So here he was on one knee, fearful of rising, but aware of the humility connected with the gesture, a bunch of flowers in hand and his best sincere voice in play.
She was at her sewing machine making clothes for the grandkids who were due to visit in the next week.
He’d entered her space aware of her feelings about being interrupted, she didn’t like it at all under even pleasant circumstances, and on this occasion, there was the distinct possibility of receiving a good dose of her anger, as she hadn’t spoken to him in several days.
He laid himself at her mercy, making it clear how sorry he was for hurting her and acknowledging his wrongdoing.
It was a first for both of them. They had never before traded insults at each other, and the incident had served to make them aware of how fragile they both were.
She stopped working, listened to him and when he finished let him know how much she had been hurt, but it wasn’t anger, she displayed but a sadness that such an incident had occurred.
She took his flowers and helped him up onto his feet for which he was very grateful, as he knew he couldn’t have done it on his own.
“We are both getting old,” she said to him, “neither of us look as good as we did twenty years ago, we have to be kind to each other for life’s getting shorter, and we shouldn’t be wasting it by all this silliness. Now make me a cup of tea and let’s watch that show we spoke about the other day, the one about the wife killing the husband, better to watch it than be the one’s doing it.”
Gran loved shopping on a Tuesday morning. Why we never quite understood, maybe because it wasn’t pension day she thought there would be less people to contend with, but it was folly to turn up at her place early on a Tuesday as she would be fussing about getting herself organised for her weekly shop.
Her pantry was a store of exotic jams and goods that only she knew the true nature of. Once a year, she had a cleanout of all the items that were out of date.
One time I was being nosey and looked about in her pantry only to discover a mouse in one of the baskets she had in there.
“Oh, don’t be bothered by Herman he just drops by from time to time to check out what’s there and on occasion have a bit of a nibble. He loves those ‘Marie’ biscuits for some reason. Often find he’s chewed a hole in a packet, so I keep them in a glass jar now and leave one or two out for him.”
Gran was eccentric in that way, nothing seemed to phase her except spiders. She’d get really excited if she saw a spider in the house, the broom would be out as would the most colourful language you could imagine any Gran uttering.
She was a determined and energetic woman and left us not only the many Herman’s of this world but a myriad of stories.
“It’s all about choice, isn’t it?” said Crisp as we wandered down the lane. “You know we go through life having to choose one way or another, up or down, to or fro, it’s never ending, isn’t it?”
Today was one of Crisp, my aging companion’s philosophizing days. She had these from time to time and often when I least expected it.
“I made a choice when I was 21 to go and see the world. It took me thirty years to realise it but here I am,” she said, pondering the road her life had travelled. It hadn’t been all plain sailing for her as she seemed to attract her fair share of misfortune from time to time.
Just yesterday, a truck had passed her as she waited to cross the road and had sprayed her with mud and slush from the puddle it drove through.
But Crisp saw it as one person’s muck, and another’s luck, at least I thought that’s what she said.
The journey home had come at last. In this period of lockdown he had worried he may never get to go home.
The cost of the ticket had been worth every cent.
On the screen in front of him was a map of the world and his home was somewhere in the far distance.
He had his own bizarre theories about his home country. When the world was made the countries to the north were populous and there was a lot of ocean to the south.
So a land was established in the south, to break the monotony of so much water.
The land was populated with humans and a unique flora and fauna and then forgotten about for the next 40,000 years or so.
The people learned to live with the land, to respect and care for it and they managed developing along the way a culture in keeping with the uniqueness of the land. The flora and fauna gave the impression of being experimental, someone’s notion of a good idea at the time and lets see what evolution makes of it all. The platypus immediately came to mind.
It was indeed a lucky country and he was lucky to be returning.
He looked forward to the inevitable fourteen days of quarantine for being back on home soil was all he craved.
He watched slowly as his destination grew closer. It seemed to take forever, which is often the case when you want to be somewhere in a hurry. He found it difficult to relax into sleep as he longed for the sound of an Australian voice, for then he’d know he was home.
His flight circled over Sydney Harbour before coming into land. His exhilaration grew, the two-week wait in a Sydney hotel would pass. He knew, he just had to wait it out.