I’m walking to meet you, leaving a trail of lies behind me like confetti at a wedding. A doomed wedding. One that stinks of convenience and the fear of being alone. I’m risking everything yet you treat me like I’m nothing. And still I come. My self esteem so low that I’ll accept any scraps of attention from you. For a very short while I’ll feel like I matter. But we both know that I don’t.
He thinks I’m at Zumba. No, that’s not right. I think he knows that I haven’t set foot in a Zumba class for months but he’s like me, preferring to live in a fantasy world, it’s safer there, easier.
Later, I’ll go back home and we’ll lie to each other and avoid each other’s eyes. The ghost of you will be all around us but for a while we’ll pretend that we can carry on like this.
But for now, I’m all yours. And neither one of us has any idea of how lucky you are.
I’m not lover of art. I don’t know how to react to a splurge of colours on canvas. Or appreciate fine brush strokes on paper. And yet, this evening, I chance upon your painting. It has started to rain, and I don’t have an umbrella. So I step inside the nearest door. As I brush off the raindrops from my coat, I look around. I’ve walked into an art gallery, and you are there, beaming at me. Urging me to come and look at your art. I hesitate. I don’t want to move around and make appropriate noises. Nor make eye contact with you. I have things to do. But you seem so alone in this space. So needy of appreciation that I walk around the room. You paint local scenes. The farmers’ market. The Dover crossing. The white cliffs seem to be your favourite subject. I cannot believe what I see. This painting: The study of a boy with an aeroplane. I look closer and my breath stops. I turn to look at you. Are you some kind of sorcerer who has drawn me in here? Where did you do this painting? I ask. By the…
Salome is looking shabby. Time to give her a bit of a hand-wash. I don’t know why I called her Salome. It suited her, I suppose. My Arthur thought I was mad naming a knitted toilet roll cover, but I have names for all my bits-and-bobs.
Last Wednesday in the month today and so ‘cleaning out the china cabinet day’. As I swirl the Fairy Liquid in warm water, I think how Mother told me to always keep to my list of chores, no matter what.
Arthur died on the third Thursday in February. It was ‘clean the horse-brasses’ day. Once the Powers That Be had dealt with him, I set to. Now, whenever I do the brasses, I think of Arthur, his chin on his chest and his arms folded neatly. The nurses thought I was bonkers when I told them what I was rushing home for. There was no point hanging around, though, was there?
I’m just drying off The Royal Albert when I hear the back gate click. Bloody Susan again. Wonder what she wants to borrow this time?
“Lena? Just coming to see you’re al…