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I first saw you on a crowded platform waiting for the 3.28 train. It was a Monday afternoon and the crowds were mainly school kids on their way home and people like me wanting to get home as early as I could.
I was immediately taken by your beauty. Tall, ash blonde elegantly dressed and very aloof from all around you.
I was taken in by your sharp facial features, your high cheekbones, your eyes behind expensive eyewear and your tall straight demeanour.
You were wearing a black business suit so I assumed you had some job in a bank or someplace but from the get go I began to speculate about who you were, what you did and where you might live.
I followed this pattern each afternoon when I discovered you caught the same train as me. I would stand a little away from you and taken in the beauty I found mesmerising.
As it turn out you alighted at the same station as me and many an afternoon I walked up the steps to the station exit a step behind, or in front or sometimes beside you but never would I be brave enough to speak to you.
I noticed from the start you had the most beautiful long thin fingers and your ring finger was adorned with striking white gold.
I felt ashamed that I was fantasising about a married woman but that fact never took anything away from the image I had of you.
One afternoon as we crowded onto the train I took a seat behind you and noticed you had a notebook on which was written: “Why should I stay?” You have started to list things but I didn’t/couldn’t read what you were writing.
I felt sad you were having relationship issues. I know it happens all the time but that didn’t lessen the sadness I felt for you. That afternoon I sensed heaviness about you, and when we reached our destination and we were climbing the steps I nodded in acknowledgement of you and you smiled back.
At the top of the stairs we parted once again, you left and me right. I felt warmed by your acknowledgement and went home feeling I have achieved something I didn’t think I could.
But I never saw again after that day and I often wonder as I travel to and from work what happened to you and whether or not you found some resolution and happiness.
It had to be an assault.
After all no one had bothered them for so long it was hard to remember when they had been paid any attention.
They lived in blissful ignorance that anything could be different. They survived storms, wind, dust and neglect. They were content.
Now there was this assault on their very being.
They were used to being wet on the outside but on the inside it was almost unthinkable. What was this soap and water being applied? And the rubbing, it was unthinkable!
They were feeling quite affronted by the entire ordeal.
Layers of warmth where being stripped from them. Suddenly it was if they were being stripped naked and the entire world could see their bits, could see right inside their indignation.
To make it worse the one part that gave them some sense of individualism was being taken away. The broken pane, long part of the landscape was being replaced by a clean, bright and in the windows opinion, haughty new one.
It was all part of the new regime to clean up the old shed. For so long it had nestled in the warmth of layers of sawdust and cobwebs oblivious to any other possible condition.
But now there was movement, things were changing, the dust was being attacked, the tools uncovered, the floor rediscovered and to make it even more disconcerting, the windows cleaned.
It took a little while to rid the windows of their accumulated years of dirt and grime but once completed and they realised the benefits of such a clean they took on an air of superiority. “Look at us,” you could hear them saying, “aren’t we the smartest?”
With the windows giving up their long held belief of having a right to hold every thing in, their new found liberation, the fact they could now see beyond the window sill gave a whole new perspective to the old shed and a realisation that the view was well worth a good long look. How had they missed that they asked themselves as they took in the green fields, the cattle grazing and the wood ducks on the creek.
Dirt and being dirty, were a thing of the past and in the windows opinion the rest of the shed had better get its act together to keep up, for no matter how old and dated you might be there was nothing like a good scrub to give you a whole new lease on life.
It was all there before them the proof he had been to the cities depicted in the photos.
They didn’t believe him at first because they didn’t think he had the wherewithal to take on a trip such as he had described. He was basically an introverted character happy to stay home and wallow around in his own little nest.
But he had apparently taken himself to the travel agent and made all the necessary bookings, made the journey through Europe and had the souvenirs, the photos and the bruises to prove he had done it all.
The bruises he said he got when he fell in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. He didn’t see the raised drain and as he like everyone else was enthralled by the sight of the Cathedral (it was a few years before the terrible fire destroyed so much of it) and when it happened down he went, in the proverbial cloud of dust. As he later described it he was lucky he landed on his camera which suffered only superficial damage but he was left with a very impressive bruise on his abdomen, so he claimed as there were never any photos produced of said bruises.
But his camera produced numerous photos of things French, Italian and Swiss. His record of the journey was impressive as he said, “We live in a beautiful world and I was lucky to capture some small part of it.”
When we asked him if he now had the ‘travel bug’ he said no. He didn’t like the long plane journey, the seats were uncomfortable and most places he went were crowded. He did concede the food was excellent.
“I was left with memories of places I only saw in books but more so the experience of mixing with people from every continent, the sort of stuff you don’t forget.”
When I sit down to write so often there is an idea in my head to explore and elaborate on.
It’s also the reason why sometimes I don’t write. There can be days where I have nothing to say in relation to a prompt and so rather than force something, and not be happy with it, I let it go, as there’s always next week.
My reality is I have to be enjoying the experience. It must be of value to me. If my readers find some meaning in it be it only entertainment then that I consider is a winner.
I write for me. I long ago came to the conclusion that writing to please others was not a good way to go. I’m not trying to sell my work; another aspect of my reality is my short attention span!
But when I start and I find the words flowing then I get on the proverbial roll, as they say and away I go. Word limits are useful but so often a pain as I have to limit my verboseness. You might say I like the sound of my own writing.
As long as I enjoy the experience and feel I have something to add to the conversation then I shall continue.
It’s a lot of fun playing with words, shaping them into a meaning you hope makes sense to others for that is another aspect of my reality, as long as I continue to blog I am mindful that from time to time other bloggers will read and comment and that reality urges me to strive for the best I can do at the time.
Words, so many possibilities, so much fun.
My aged companion, Crisp, and I were standing by the canal that meandered its way through the village.
“When I was sixteen I went on a ‘romantic’ date with Toby Felch, our towns heart-throb. We went rowing, and as we went along, he regaled me with river stories. At the time, I was more terrified of falling into the river than of him, and so I tuned out to his drone of a voice.
He was telling me, as we approached the bridge over the river, that tradition said if you kissed your loved one as you went under the bridge, it ensured a wholesome and fruitful life. The next thing I knew Toby’s large bulky form landed on top of me. I began thrashing about repulsed by his rotten fish smelling breath.
The next thing I knew we were in the river, my greatest fear realised. I went home soaked, embarrassed and thankfully aware Toby would never ask me out again.
As Grandad aged it became obvious to us that his love of reading was beginning to fade.
It wasn’t he grew sick of reading but rather his eyesight was not getting any better and he struggled to stay awake when he tried to read.
He’d often be found sitting in his chair, a book on his chest, his eyes shut and a gentle snore would emit from his lips.
All his life he had been an avid reader, he had beside his bed a bookcase in which he stored the new books he’d purchase on line. He said he liked to know he had new novels to select from, and in fact it was the choice of novel he liked best.
Sometimes it would be crime fiction, sometimes some historic fiction he even delved into the occasional romantic account of some person’s life, as he’d say variety is the spice of life.
The source of many of the books he read was what he read on the senior’s book club sites. I’d pick up a new book and look at the cover and if he was watching he’d tell me he’d read several good reviews so was looking forward to finding out why it was so well recommended.
I knew he was struggling and so I offered to go to the library and find out about their audio book collection.
He wasn’t all that keen I have to say and I could tell it was because he liked the feel of a book in his hands and he knew he could just as easily drift off to sleep listening as he could reading.
I took to reading him the paper each day I visited; he liked to keep up to date with the goings on in the world. He had a great social conscious and was very interested in the political side of life.
The audio books he took to better than I anticipated and he’d be waiting for me to return from the library with what new text I was able to borrow. He had me scouring the Internet for them as well and before long had a subscription to several podcast sites. He actually loved the podcasts as they might be only an hour in length and he usually had something to say in support of a topic or was incensed by some ‘crackpot’ as he called them.
By the time he died he was all but blind and his source of information was via his ears. He accepted his fate as he knew his love of language and words could be maintained not just through his eyes but also from listening.
“Who ever would have thought I could be reading through my ears,” he would joke to me as he’d slip on his new headphones and settle back into his chair.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
When Joan was little she knew she loved her Grandad. She also knew he loved her.
He had a habit of showing up at her place carrying a shopping bag within which he hid something sweet and something educational.
“Eccentric” is the word Granny used to describe him. “What’s he done this time?” she’d ask when Joan mentioned Grandad had been over to visit.
Grandad felt you were never too young or too old to learn and never too old to enjoy a lolly.
Joan’s mother was Grandad’s daughter, and was forever going on about him spoiling his granddaughter by giving her lollies when she was doing her best to feed Joan a healthy diet which didn’t include sugar in large amounts.
“You’re only young once,” he’d say as he slipped a jellybean into his mouth.
“Your blood sugars must be astronomically high,” remarked his daughter.
“Perfect,” he’d say, “my GP says I’m the fittest sixty-year-old he knows.”
Joan loved listening to Grandad’s stories, which were usually about fantastic things he said, lived in his garden. Joan soaked it all up and wandered about Grandad’s garden when she visited looking for the fairies he said lived in various parts of his yard.
She arrived one day not long before Christmas to find both Granny and Grandad in the kitchen, huge pots and pans on the stove and Granny shouting orders at him.
“It’s Granny’s witching time of the year,” he said to Joan as she stood mouth agape watching the frantic goings-on.
“Best stand back,” he said, “ Granny uses a lot of ‘double double toil and trouble’ at this time of year. Get too close and you might end up in the mix and we wouldn’t want that.”
So Joan stood back as Granny mixed the heavy dough and poured it into cloth bags, which she suspended over huge boiling vats on the stove. “Keep your eye on the water levels,” she barked at Grandad who winked at Joan and lifted her up to see the bags of dough floating in the vats.
“I’ve got to keep the water at a height just above the top of the bag or the mix will dry out and not cook properly. It’s an important job, so I’m glad you’re here to help keep an eye on them,” he said sounding very serious.
So Joan knowing her Grandad was serious watched the water levels as the vats bubbled away, telling Grandad the water needed topping up from time to time.
“She’s a powerful witch,” said Grandad to Joan, “she can turn a bag of flour into the most delicious cake and pudding, just watch what happens.”
“Don’t take any notice of the silly old fool,” said Granny, “I’m making Christmas cake and puddings is all. We do it each year and every time your Grandad makes up these wild stories about me being a witch.”
“She’s magical,” said Grandad lifting Joan up to see the puddings bubbling away.
Joan giggled with delight as Grandad and Granny set her down at the table later when the cooking was done. Granny had made a batch of scones and cutting one in half covered it with jam and cream, the perfect morning tea in Joan’s eyes.
“There’s a light, over at the Frankenstein place” funny how I thought that as I trudged up the path towards the old house seeking help in the middle of the night.
It sucks breaking down on a country road miles from anywhere.
The fog had come in making the scene far more eerie than it probably should have been but I’d seen the Rocky Horror Show many times and the song just came to my mind.
There was no light over the front door; the room above the door was where the light shone.
I knocked feeling bad I was probably awakening someone and realising they would be as anxious about answering the door at this late hour.
The door was opened by a small-wizened lady carrying a lantern. She looked at me as I explained my situation and asked if I could use her phone, as I had no reception on my mobile.
“Oh course dear,” she said, “come through I was just mixing up a brew for the morning.”
It was then I became aware of the aroma within the house. Wouldn’t say it was pungent but it was pretty close to being so.
“I’ll put the kettle on while you call, its cold out and you need a bit of a warming up,” she said shuffling down a dark corridor and out of sight.
I put in my call and organised help and put down the receiver. She was then back beside me, a cuppa in one hand a chocolate biscuit in the other. I was grateful for the hot coffee and more grateful for the biscuit.
My head began to swim, I felt unsteady and in the back of my mind the Eagles “Hotel California” was playing:
“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”