Copyright© 2011 Angharad
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Once I was home, I explained the full story to Simon, Jenny and Tom who were all equally appalled at the way Cilla had exploited Maureen, and to some extent at Maureen’s gullibility.
“But to some extent, I’m just as naive and I saw through it immediately,” I grumbled.
“Because you think like a woman. You were hardly a man long enough to become one,” suggested Simon and Tom agreed.
I disagreed, primarily with the latter part of his statement. In my opinion, I would have been just as female if I hadn’t altered my body, I’d have perhaps got better at hiding it though I’d have been so unhappy—I might have topped myself by now.
Jenny understood what I was saying but the two men didn’t seem to.
I asked Jenny if she still wanted to rent the house, and she said she did but wouldn’t need it for a while longer as their current landlord had given them a stay of execution. I told her to let me know when she was ready.
Simon offered to go and get Maureen but I wanted to find out a bit more about this woman, Cilla. So I said I wanted to go with him if Tom and Jenny were happy to put the girls to bed. They said they were, so after feeding Catherine, I was ready to go and phoned Maureen.
“Oh, it’s okay, ma’am, I’ll be staying over until tomorrow. Andrew’s ’ad ’is spleen removed so I thought I’d stay to see ’ow ’e was in the mornin’.”
“You just be careful, you know what happened the last time you supposedly spent a night with that one.”
“Aye, I’m beginning to understand ’ow Joseph felt.”
“Joseph? Who’s he?”
“Married the Virgin Mary.”
I was tempted to ask who was she, but even Maureen would have guessed I was winding her up.
“Oh that one, not Joseph of Arith-metic.”
“Yes, very good, I can see where Trish gets it from.”
I was very much hoist by my own petard, and cut my losses. She promised to call tomorrow morning.
So instead of rushing about the South Coast, I got to spend a quiet night in with my children who asked me to read to them after they finished their homework. Simon had paid for pizza, so I was quite happy to make myself cheese on toast. As I ate it, I told Simon, it was a pizza with a bread base. He laughed saying it was the wrong cheese.
“Whit, nae tuna, are ye ill, lassie?” Daddy asked coming into the kitchen.
“Can you believe I’ve run out?”
He looked at me in disbelief, shook his head and went off to his study; Simon roared with laughter. “You two ought to be on the stage as a double act.”
Once we got the kids to bed, I watched Simon, Jenny and Julie playing cards. I declined the offer, not being much of a card player. It was also interesting to watch the three of them and the ruthlessness they all displayed in trying to win. I only got like that when on a bicycle, like someone else we all know and love.
Simon got quite grumpy when he lost out to Julie, who reminded me of Jodie Foster in the film of Maverick, which I’d seen a while back on telly. I was too lazy to turn it off and ended up watching it and enjoying it.
In bed, I was quite glad that Simon wasn’t feeling amorous as I don’t think I’d have had patience. We chatted for a while, him pretending to be reading a book and me, I was supposedly too tired to do anything but lie there and doze.
“I wonder how Maureen’s getting on?” I mused out loud.
“If she gets pregnant will she be able to claim child support from Cilla?” joked Simon.
“Wouldn’t think she’d need to, the tabloids would be queuing up to buy the story,” I countered. “But it would have a nice sort of natural justice about it, wouldn’t it?”
“Oh I think it’s a wonderful thought,” he chuckled to himself and I felt the bed quivering. He always finds his own jokes funnier than anyone else does. I was tempted to tell him the one I’d heard on the radio the other day.
A man goes to the doctor and says he’s afraid of lapels. The doctor told him he had cholera. It was mildly amusing but he’d have nevertheless been laughing two hours later, he’s a real schoolboy when it comes to humour. Mention poo or farts and he doesn’t hear the rest of the joke, he’s collapsed laughing.
I suddenly noticed the mattress had stopped doing its imitation of an earthquake and when I looked, he was fast asleep with the book balanced on his lap. He was still sitting up but was clearly asleep. I got out of bed walked round the bed and took the book off him and put it on his bedside table. Then told him to lie down and he did so like one of the kids would. I couldn’t resist it, I kissed him on the cheek and said, “Mummy says goodnight, sweetie-pie.” He just smiled.
I got back into bed and tormented myself for the next half an hour as to whether he was really asleep or taking the proverbial. In the end, I decided I could live with the uncertainty and went to sleep quite quickly.
The next day was Thursday and the day after that was Trish’s birthday. I needed to get in some stuff for the feeding of the five thousand, so as soon as I dropped the girls off to school, I went off to Tesco with a great long list of party stuff.
I escaped there about an hour and a half later and significantly lighter of purse. I was trying to remember how many of her class were coming and did I have enough to make up the goody-bags? At least they were all girls, so it was just a question of girl things, some sweeties, a balloon or two, some joke jewellery, some hand cream and lip balm, a pair of panties with Party Princess written on it in a horrible pink colour and a pair of white ankle socks and some coloured pens or pencils.
The forecast was quite good and Simon agreed to come home and do some party games in the garden while Jenny and I laid out the feast—sandwiches, sausages on sticks and jelly and blancmange that sort of stuff. I probably had enough jelly to agglutinate the river Thames.
It was when I put the bags in the car that Maureen phoned. She asked me what I was doing and I told her.
“Crikey, I forgot all about Trish’s birthday.”
“That’s hardly surprising given what’s happened recently.”
“But I ’ave to buy ’er somethin’.”
“When d’you need me to come and get you?”
“I’ve got a train ticket, so you don’t need to.”
“Oh, alright; how is young Andrew?”
“Not very well, but they think ’e’ll be okay in a day or two—just the shock of the impact.”
“He did rather catch most of the impact, didn’t he?”
“Have you heard anything about the other boy?”
“’E’s at Stoke Mandeville—they think ’e could lose one leg and may never walk again—’is back was injured.”
“I was afraid of that.”
“What about the driver? He wasn’t exactly speeding was he?”
“I told the police that—it was an accident, pure and simple—the boys ran out and bang.”
“In the twinkling of an eye.”
“I wish I was as poetic as you are, ma’am.”
“Yeah, okay—when I was about ten or eleven, we had to write a poem about a pet. I wrote one about my cat who was called Inky, because she was black.”
I’d been unable to forget this stupid verse, so I let rip with my recitation skills.
“Inky is my lovely, black cat,
She sits on chair not on the mat.
She likes to eat meat and sometimes it’s fish
We give her to eat in her little pink dish.”
“Oh very good, ma’am, I can see the talent ’asn’t left you. Am I invited to the party tomorrow?”
“Of course you are, Maureen, I know Trish would love to see you.”
“If I get ’ome in time, I’ll call by probably after six.”
“That’d be fine. Oh how is Cilla, coping?”
“She calmed down eventually last night. So she’s more tired than anything.”
“Oh, okay, I’ll see you tomorrow evening if you can make it.”
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