She listed her loves for me. Cattle were first. I love cattle, she said. (We’d been discussing the Royal Welsh which had prompted this confession. Cattle, perfume and…was it coffee? Obviously, I love my family first, she said. Of course, I said. But it was the perfume I responded to. I asked her what she wore. Miss Dior, she said. Then she told me how her daughter had sprayed some on her wrist that morning before going to her exam to remind her of her mother and give her courage. Nice. I admitted to loving that scent too. I get some for every birthday and Christmas, she said. She didn’t offer to put some of that fluffy pink padding onto my soles when she’d finished. I’m glad. She was a little put out when I refused it last time. I watch her as she works away with the emery board. Her nephew calls her ‘scary aunty’. I can see why. I like her, and indeed warm to her, loving her tales of farming life, children and the parochial in and outs of this town, but I can sense a temper, a sharpness that wouldn’t take much to excite.
I lost my torch. I’d had to stop to do up a boot-lace and must’ve put it down and walked off without it. So be it. May those that found it have some pleasure in the illumination it gives.
We had time to kill in between seeing her and work. I suggested tea and reading in a café. He with his papers and me with my book. Our favourite one was closed. They are off for their holidays. So I choose a new one, we know it but not well. I found an empty room and set up ready for him. He came and was pleased until a man and his young child came in. He was disappointed wanting peace and quiet, but it wasn’t to be. He had too much coffee, I got agitated. We rowed. Then at work there was the email from J. and I was floored.
I didn’t want to hurt. I tell what I see. I share the exuberance, the eccentricity of what I encounter. We could’ve met in a café but she changed her mind. Let it be. I will take a break from it. I want this. I want to implode. I’ll go into the world, he said, and you stay here. Yes. For now. Yes.