An Unsettling Seduction


My mother was a woman of rigorous order and routine, disregarding a weakness for iced-buns, and few things were allowed to alter the structure of her day or week, including unnecessary “Hysterical” displays, which was the generic term she applied to any expression of emotion. She was neither a warm nor sociable individual but took her faith and her connection with the church very seriously. Still, life being what it is, and clearly it is organised by someone with a very active sense of humour, situations could occur in which her appetite for privacy and solitude came into conflict with her sense of duty: let me give you an example.

At the age of fifteen, I was an unkempt boy with a remarkably absent-minded approach to grooming, who made his own meals, didn’t bother anyone and wandered around the house during the holidays in a pattern unmarked by parental supervision. Only on a few occasions, apart from the mandatory appearance at church on Sunday, was any interest taken in my whereabouts or hobbies.

Be that as it may, as I wandered through the hall one day, aged about fifteen, my mother came in through the front door followed by a woman of unfinished appearance who I would judge to be in her mid-seventies: “Come in come in” said my mother, in a tone of voice normally used by those who enjoy company. My heart sunk, of course, and then plunged beneath ground level when, seeing me, she added, “Make a pot of tea and bring it up to the living room would you” before turning to her mysterious companion and saying, “My son Brian” and waving her hand in my general direction.

Getting sucked into mothers, “I’m a child of the church and all things good” behaviour was a hazard I avoided at all costs, but now I was trapped and would have to get through the visit as best I could. I made the tea, and carried it up to the living room before sitting myself down in a chair across from my mother, while the old lady sat on the sofa between us. My mother poured the tea and said some nonsense along the lines of “Have you always lived in the south?” puzzled that the old lady was looking at me with a growing intensity. “Do you have any relatives here,” she continued, now clearly disturbed by the strange woman’s growing obsession with her son.

As my mother raised the cup towards her, the old lady said, “Where have you been?” and without any further discussion launched herself across the room before sprawling over me and kissing me directly on the lips.

I must admit I was already subject to carnal daydreams, but nothing like this scenario had ever occurred to me. There was a cracking sound as my mother hit the women on her back with her own walking stick, thus encouraging the old lady to loosen her grip slightly and turn towards her assailant. “He’s my husband from a former life” she explained, which sounds odd given she was an apparently orthodox Christian, but the moment seemed ill-suited to the discussion of theological niceties. “Kindly leave” said my mother to whom the women replied, “Tell her Ronnie, Tell her who I am.”
Possibly to aid the explanation, a half empty bottle of vodka fell out of her bag which had tipped over during the commotion. My mother, a strict teetotaller was becoming less amused by the second and rising from her chair repeated, but in a louder voice, “Kindly leave” and then, “Go this instant” which seemed to drag my new love out of her dream-like recollections.

I was “Excused” from the room, but still loitered in the hall anxious to see the end of the drama, and as the women left the house my mother turned to me and said, “I dislike uncontrolled behaviour,” which was near as she ever got to discussing the event or her feelings. Of course, when I got older, I realised the women was troubled and possibly unwell, a detail that possibly lost on my mother, who reserved her understanding of emotional subtleties for her literary studies. Mysteriously, I never saw the women again.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, Creative Fiction, Fiction, old-age, Peter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to An Unsettling Seduction

  1. Dear Peter, I’ve enjoyed the story thoroughly, but yet I was puzzled by your use of “Women” as a singular noun. Is this effect what you consciously wanted to achieve? Or is it a dialectal use I may not be aware of, being a non-native speaker myself?

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  2. Jeepers! Thanks Mom. Fodder for nightmares or at least a subject for couch time with a shrink.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. catterel says:

    Never in my wildest dreams …. what an initiation!

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  4. ksbeth says:

    i always love your eccentric characters and crazy twists. like a roald dahl, ray bradbury kind of thing )

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  5. Right, stuff like this happens to me all the time… Ha, Peter, another great one.

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  6. Certainly unsettling! One wonders on the effect this had on later life! A great read, Peter.

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  7. Nirodaigh says:

    Hilarious! Sad too, but very amusing read. Thanks, another ‘goodie’.

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  8. Well – at least she had passion, Ronnie!

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  9. Funniest thing I’ve read in ages… Thanks, I needed that!

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  10. Does he still wonder if he is her long-dead husband? What a mystery!

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  11. I just knew when I read this title, this was gonna be a good post. Your characters are always so well rounded and definitely eccentric lol. Loved this.

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  12. judithhb says:

    Her long dead husband? Well it’s amazing what does come out of a bottle of vodka or gin or ……

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  13. Al says:

    I understand this completely. Many a centenarian lady has mistaken me for the late Rudolph Valentino. Of course, they were also known to imbibe.

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  14. araneus1 says:

    loved this…….”life being what it is, and clearly it is organised by someone with a very active sense of humour”
    You were in an interesting mood when you wrote this??
    You know that I always enjoy what you write, but this has another layer. My compliments.
    Terry

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  15. If there’s one thing I can say about this writeup it’s this- I’ve never read anything like it before. Loved it!! 🙂

    Hope to read more of your work 🙂
    Also, I’d love it if you could review something I wrote a lil while ago?
    https://pragmaticfirefly.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/soliloquy/

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  16. elizaberrie says:

    Funny, one day I’ll have the courage to write honestly about my first unsettling seduction. Until then, I’ll just enjoy yours and smile.

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  17. Mari says:

    Love the eccentricity and the humor in this! 😉

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  18. And this is why I stopped drinking before I became a mother–I didn’t want to someday be that old, inexplicable matronly figure being escorted out of respectable (if not repressed) homes for being overly enthusiastic around young men who invariably reminded me of my youth…or some such nonsense!

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