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Rhubarb and custard

  Sat 8th May 2021

Hayley rings, the day after her deadline for moving out, asking me for the number of the Man with Van who moved me. A couple of days later, and after some pleading, I walk to hers, my hot feet moaning at the prolongation of their shift after twelve hours at work. In the lift, there is a poster requesting "no spitting".

Her new place is spacious, with a living room showing off views to the rise up to the postcardy bit of Bristol, but has the bleakness of a recently eviscerated flat. She has no sheets on the bed. The lightbulbs stare autistically at the white vinyl flooring, working together to dissuade a woman who wants everything to be done, rather than to do it, from making the flat her home.

We make plans for a decorating party which will never happen. She'll lapse back to her boyfriend's, which is already her de facto home address. We share a bottle of Pieroni. I listen. I give her the couple of grams for which she said she was going to pay me.

Resolutions for henceforth: money from Hayley in my hand first; only then the handover. At times, she's a taker.

Looking at my leaky bank account the other day, I calculated that, in the last thirty days, I have spent eighty-seven pounds on bus fare.

I wrest myself from Mel's arms at 7am to look at an electric scooter on ebay. I trump all bids with four seconds to go, the slowness of Mel's phone's internet connection working excitingly to delay my hurdling over the others. The scooter arrived when I was out, and was taken in by someone in the same block as me.

When I collected it, he wanted to take a picture of me with it as "some people claim it's not been received. Let's have a nice big smile." I felt like some starlet being ogled in a soft porn photoshoot, certainly the first time in my fifty-seven years that I have felt like a starlet in a soft porn photoshoot. "They're actually illegal you know. I know they're everywhere but they're illegal on the public roads."

"It's not a scooter mate, it's full of weed." My joke, intended as a stopper for his hectoring mouth by making him think that he'd been harbouring fifteen kilos of cannabis in his flat overnight, went unnoticed, and he finally released the scooter to my possession.

I "assembled" it, in a manual operation at the limits of my engineering skills involving no fewer than four screws and an Allen key. It looked tall, black, and daunting. But today, under Mel's supervision I took it up and down our close. I think it's going to be jolly good fun.

I told middle daughter about it, saying that I'll feel happier once I've got a helmet. "You'll have to go into a shop for that. You and mum have bequeathed us very small heads. I can't get that sort of thing off the internet."

I can't remember the last time that due to my impatience to get everything off, my trousers, pants and socks ended up in a sort of rolled up sex ball on the floor. I fucking love it, when all the preliminaries are disposed of, and the murmuring collapses into an abandoned, inelegant undressing. Then afterwards we sat there in this sweaty Ready Brek glow of love. I'd made us a rhubarb crumble shortly before this episode. It was quite tart and Mel enjoyed more than one mouthful.

I won't mention this to Trina when I see her though. It's my brother's fiftieth in July and I was going to use the day to present Mel to my clan, but the care home in which my brother resides under benevolent control has changed the date for the barbeque to one which clashes with a family do for her.

So I've invited Trina instead, who is glad to come. I don't know if I'm prolonging her frustration by doing this. I know what it's like to feel corroded by unrequited attraction, and how the friendliness of the desired one can add more hurt. But she gets on well with my mum, and I need a drinker-in-arms to rescue me, once nightfall comes, from my family's teetotalism.



Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Smart man… always get the money first when dealing with certain personalities and powders.

and i thought the weed joke was hilarious… it’s funny too when drug references/jokes blow right over peoples heads… and the scooter seems a good bit of fun.

alas, i’m glad one of us is getting some good lovin’, though i feel rhubarb crumble is code for something i should know ;)

Sun 9th May 2021 @ 00:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I don’t mind arseholes taking advantage of me, because you expect it then, but not friends. She’s got a good job (for the time being). She could afford to pay me.

No, by rhubarb crumble I do literally mean that. I’m sure it must have some other meaning in some yoof dialect though – most words do!

Sun 9th May 2021 @ 09:16 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Did you tell Mel about Trina?
I can see why you invited Trina, BUT!

Tue 11th May 2021 @ 14:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

On the infrequent occasions I mention Trina to Mel I describe her as a friend. Do you think inviting her is wrong? Please do say – my sensitivity towards others fails me often.

Wed 12th May 2021 @ 00:20 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

If Trina really is in love with you and has hopes of rekindling a relationship with you, then inviting her probably wasn’t a good idea. Done now though.

Wed 12th May 2021 @ 05:49 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I think Trina realises a relationship isn’t possible now. And I selfishly would like to stay her friend. But yes, probably not a great idea.

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Ack, ignore me, I grew up to be way too sensible - which comes as something of a surprise to me, and those who knew me when I was young and reckless.

Wed 12th May 2021 @ 11:18 Reply to this comment

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