Tuesday, October 23, 2007

if you've got the tea, I've got the sympathy

Some times I think that blogging isn’t really the medium for me (did I mention I haven’t posted anything for ages?) and when I look at some of the struggling diary writers from whom I draw inspiration; Wife in the North, Ann Frank, I just don’t know how they keep it up. Anyway, let’s try and get this show back on the road. I’m afraid I have been unavoidably lying in a dark room recovering my composure lately (Did I mention I’ve been lying in a dark room recovering my composure?) after I came out of the butchers one day ( I always like to get some chicken for the girls and myself during the week as when I offer my husband a bit of breast or leg he just turns his nose up. Ffion gets her stuff there you know. She's lovely and her husband’s away lot too. I must ask her about what it is he does) when someone leaned out of a passing car's passenger window and asked me 'are you local?' She went on to ask which way it was to the northern heartlands and I told her I thought she probably needed to come off at the next junction on the motorway. After the car drove off I’m afraid that having someone even consider the possibility that I was a northerner caused a delayed shock and I came over all unnecessary.

It was just fortunate that my friend the nurse was nearby and she helped me back to her place. I came round in what I at first thought must be the scene of some kind of terrible accident in an MDF factory but then I realised it was her kitchen. ‘Would you like a cup of tea Rilly?’ said the nurse, reassuringly. ‘I wouldn't say no to a double decaf blue mountain skinny cinnamon latte’ I said. ‘Sorry, I seem to be right out of that’, she said, peering into her cupboard. ‘G&T?’ she proffered. ‘Make it a double’, I said, not wanting to be churlish and refuse her hospitality. ‘Nice kitchen’, I said, looking around. Perhaps I had been unconcious for so long that chipboard and formica were making a comeback now. My nurse friend smiled. ‘You know dear, you could get a kitchen twice as big as this one with an aga and an American fridge if you downshifted’. I told her. She smiled and handed me my drink. ‘You just give up work, buy a couple of houses, knock them through, call it a cottage and, err, that’s it’. I noticed some photographs on the window sill. ‘Is that your husband?' I asked. She nodded. ‘We’re divorced’, she said. ‘shift work, you know, takes it’s toll on a relationship’. I felt that now it was my turn to offer sympathy. ‘I know what it’s like’, I said, ‘being alone, I mean’. She nodded. ‘I miss my husband terribly’ I continued. She smiled weakly. ‘I only get to spend time with him at weekends, holidays, Christmas, the children’s birthdays, our anniversary, weddings, Valentines Day…’ I stopped as I could see my nurse friend was unaccustomed to receiving such moral support instead of providing it. ‘Thank you Rilly’ she said. ‘You’re a rock’ . I smiled. I just hoped she meant I was a southern rock, and not a northern one , and I downed my drink and smiled as we both soaked up the descending silence of mutual understanding.

Friday, October 12, 2007