I don’t know how long it had been, or how you would characterise it. A friendship of sorts, naturally, but what was the garnish, and was there magic in it? The question began to bother me, so one morning, as I met young Sandy on the way to collect my paper, I stopped her and said, “Do you mind if I ask you a question” and she looked up at me and smiled in that tolerant way, which makes you feel she knows you, and said, “Of course not darling. Go on, ask away”
She calls everyone “Darling” if you really want to know, but it still gives you a bit of something. Makes you feel special, as if you’ve been selected. I always felt so. “I wondered if you’d like to run off with me and start a family,” I said, and I have to admit she looked a bit startled, stepping back a little, and sort of frowning as she did so.
“You must be joking” she said, and you note there was no “darling,” but I was not surprised really, but I was still curious. “Why not?” I asked because I like the details, the background to the answer and all that sort of thing, if you really want to know.
“Because you’re old, fat and smelly. Wait till I tell your wife. I just felt sorry for you, but now I think you’re weird, you sad disgusting pervert”
“Fair enough” I say, because I was only asking, and no offence intended. Still I thought it worth a pop. I would have spoken longer, but she walked off in a hurry, and something in her manner said I’d been a bit rude. Of course I didn’t mean to. Be rude I mean. I just thought she was pleasant, and blokes like me don’t get that much ‘pleasant,’ especially at home.
It got worse later, when my wife got back from shopping, and something in her manner suggested she’d met up with Sandy, and they’d shared a note or two. “You filthy old pervert” said my wife of thirty years, you see she’d picked the phrase up, as if she’d rediscovered who I was, and really wished she hadn’t. “I really don’t love you, you’re filthy and disgusting, and no-one round here likes you, they feel sad that I’m still with you, if you really want to know.”
“You really want to know” is my thing, my single catch phrase, part of my character, but when I annoy her, she steals that as well. “Love’s not in the air” I ask, feeling a bit silly, but got to make the best of it, that’s always been my way. She tells me to get lost, and not for the first time, so off I go quietly, to meet my old friend Ron. Ron’s a bit different, I’ve known him from my schooldays, and his home life is unusual: he still loves his wife. He calls her his “Dream Chicken” which I always thought was stupid, given they’re both sixty, but he doesn’t seem to care.
I tell him the whole story, and he nods his head and tells me, “I’d best speak to Carol. You’ll be staying at ours a bit” Thanks mate, I say” because I ought to, and then I ring my daughter and say, “Your mother’s had a fit” and then I hear her screaming, “I never want to see you. How could you do that to my Mum” and then the phone goes silent and I just shake my head.
She’s always had a temper, just like her mother. Try, but you can’t tell them if you really want to know. A week or two should do it, then I’ll pop round for clothing, and fix something that’s broken, and she she’ll say “I hate you” and I’ll say, “No change there then” we’ll soon be back to normal, sitting there in silence, She likes watching dramas. The one’s you see on the telly were people fall in love.