Thursday, February 22, 2007

A fairy tale

Is it wrong to have a fantasy about going down to the local bakery, picking up fresh blue poppy seed baps, putting it in my bicycle’s front basket alongside a bunch of fresh wild flowers, and a slim volume of poetry? Is it so wrong? I can see myself riding through the village, enjoying the first day of spring, with that fresh smell of new season air. I would be greeted by all the villagers. Indeed I would stop, listening to a funny story or consoling someone.Finally when I got to my cottage, I could finally have a well deserved cup of tea and a slice of home made cake. There I would open the diary my husband and I share and sort out our busy week. From there I’d study and then move onto a little writing. (Three years later I would be blinking into the bright lights of a camera saying ‘I never thought I’d win the booker’.)

Getting up, a little bit stiff, I’d walk down the path at the end of my garden, taking care on the steps, to the beach for a quick swim. Soon dusky light would dim my arts and crafts cottage and the familiar sound of my lover’s footsteps would come through the window. He would look tired from his day, but still ruggedly handsome. An hour and a half later, after supper, we would be snuggling, taking turns to read to each other in a Bloomsbury style manner. And then... and then he’d shag me senselessly until I was dumbfounded but perfectly happy.

My fantasy seems to be based on either being a vicar’s or doctor’s wife living in a village in England. Unfortunately, I am a 30 year old bald, hairy chested, homosexual.

Although in some ways I am 30 going on 65. I like Lesley Garrett, I get excited at the thought of making a scrapbook, and I do like old ladies. I also like Lavender shower gel (ahem), stately homes and cream teas. And I haven’t had sex for a year. (Although in saying that I read that 55+ people are enjoying a sex life and getting the clap!)

So perhaps I am 65. Although I haven’t had the clap. But I do have to pee a lot.

The lady on the hill

I was walking home from work, slightly stumbling because I have a blister right on the ball of my foot. Just as I was passing Holyrood House, its tall iron gates like those out of Willy Wonka’s factory, I saw an elderly lady in a wheelchair.

She mumbled at me. I smiled. And to my shame I was ready to keep walking.

‘Can you help me? My taxi hasn’t come and I need some help’

I realised that she meant she wanted me to push her wheelchair. Part of me wanted to keep going, the other couldn’t believe that I wanted to say no to an elderly woman who was stuck. As I was thinking, and still painfully shuffling along, she turned the wheelchair around and followed me backwards.

‘OK, how do I handle this thing? How do I get off the kerb?’ I asked.

‘I’ll give you help’

So she directed me and a few moments later I was pushing her up a hill. I saw a group of four mildly amused students watching as my body crouched over in the effort.

‘I’ve got a sandwich for my tea and cold meat for the cat’
What’s your cat’s name?’

An image of a chocolate coloured cat sprang into my mind, excited by a slice of ham, or even better potted meat.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

She mentioned a distant part of Scotland and starting to talk about her husband. It was at this point I couldn’t work out if the cold meat was for the cat or her husband. I couldn’t hear her properly for my own breathing and the busy road.

‘Sorry’ I apologised for nearly pushing the lady into an overhanging branch.

‘Don’t worry about me. This is good, this is good. I like talking to trees, I like talking to twigs, and I talk to everyone’

I looked into her plastic bag that was open. It seemed full of milk cartons, perhaps for Coco. She seemed to be well packed and organised. Everything she needed for a day out.

We were now going down a hill, and I could feel the wheelchair tugging at me, my hands beginning to cramp in their tight hold. Worryingly the wheelchair started to veer towards the right, but I managed to pull it back.

Again we went down a kerb, the lady telling me to turn the wheelchair round and go backwards.

She laughed ‘I’m teaching you things today’.

Finally I got her home.

‘I’m going to have a sandwich and he’s going to have cold meat’. She said as she went through the electronic doors of her sheltered housing.

Five minutes later as I was getting closer to home my blister started to sting, nagging me to stop. I realised then that it hadn’t hurt at all when I had been pushing the lady up the hill.