I’ve reached a worrying point in my life. If not exactly worrying, certainly a point of concern.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not a totally new conception. I’ve had inklings of concern over the past 26 years and this, strangely enough, is the amount of time a certain someone has been in my life – Richard.
I mention him quite a lot. Actually, there’s no ‘quite’ about it. I do mention him a lot.
We have a strange relationship. To the outside world our relationship shouldn’t work. I am seen as the Wicked Witch of the West, even on days when I don’t wear my pointy hat and cackle like a demented maniac, and he is seen as a halo-wearing saint. I’m a bossy cow and he is a sweet little mouse, scurrying around, making my life wonderful with his every perfect action.
In reality, none of this is true, other than the bossy cow bit. But, to the outside world, and family, I rule with a very large baseball bat and he obeys. It’s all crap of course. I don’t own a baseball bat. No, seriously, are these people nuts? Why would he still be here after 26 years if I was the devil incarnate?
Sometimes he’ll joke in the presence of family and say things like, ‘You see the kind of life I have to live?’
I merely smile and say, ‘It isn’t compulsory you know. You can leave at any time.’
Then, they’ll be times when he’s confounded by a massive conundrum and I’ll kindly solve the problem for him. For instance, the other day he couldn’t find the 50ml line on a measuring jug so I assisted by grabbing said jug and stabbing the 50ml mark with a sharp forefinger nail. ‘I don’t know what you’ll do when I’m gone, and you have to sort out these problems for yourself, I said.’
‘Neither do I,’ he replied.
It’s a throw-away comment and one he often uses – but I can tell he’s serious and that he means it.
Anyway . . . what am I drivelling on about? I’ve strayed off course by ten miles. What I was going to explain is why I’ve reached this ‘point of concern.’ This is why . . .
On Monday the dear soul toddled off for the day to help my son, who’s a landscape gardener, with the tidying of a particularly neglected garden. I resisted hanging out the flags from the upstairs windows and did my best to hide my joy and stupid grin as he said goodbye and exited the house.
A whole day to myself. What to do? Well, I had a plan.
Some time ago I bought a very large piece of solid pine furniture for the kitchen. The piece in question looked fine in the village shop showroom but when we got it home the buttery-coloured pine did not match the existing table and chairs. Obviously, I couldn’t admit to having made a cock-up and pretended that it was lovely. Delightful. What a good eye I had and what a great choice I’d made.
It looked crap. No other word for it. It stuck out like a large sore thumb. Sooooo . . . and here’s the thing . . . I decided to restain it while Richard was out.
Doesn’t sound very risky does it? Just whack a colour on top. What were the chances of it still not matching the table and chairs? That wouldn’t happen, would it? Nah, course not.
So, with brush and stain in my little hands, and with some trepidation, I applied a little on the back outside leg and stood back. Then I made a cup of tea.
On return it looked OK. Pretty much OK. With Dell Boy’s words circling my head, ‘He who dares wins, Rodney!’ I started in earnest.
An hour later and it was done. I stood back, compared it to the mirror. The Table. The chairs. Pretty bloody close if you ask me. No more yellowy, buttery, yuck-yuck pine but – well – different.
I washed my brush, because I’m good like that, and then removed a few splashes from the floor tiles and that was that.
When Richard came home, something had cropped up meantime – but I’ll tell you more about that when I know for certain that the thing that cropped-up is going ahead – and I shouted down the hall, ‘Don’t come in we are going straight out.’
He came in.
‘I need to post some stuff,’ he said. ‘It’s urgent.’
So, I waited while he dragged out a chair, found addresses from the P.C, opened one of the drawers, grabbed 5 envelopes, closed the drawer, packed the items, threw them on top of the drawer unit and then stood up saying, ‘OK, let’s go.’
This was on Monday. It is now Wednesday and HE STILL HASN’T NOTICED THAT THE HUGE DRAWER UNIT THAT HE CONSTANTLY USES HASN’T CHANGED COLOUR!
This is my concern. What if I’m flat on my back on the kitchen floor one day, expired? Will he even bloody notice that I’VE changed colour?
Fortunately, it won’t really matter because I’ll have expired – but it isn’t very reassuring, is it?