Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on March 4, 2014 0 Comments


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Prendergast shuffled in bed and a twitchy sliver of moonlight shone into the room and alighted, every so often, on his face. He sighed because he had to. Loneliness was such a bastard thing!

When the stars shine brightly and the moon is cold,” whispered Angela, “when the shadows touch the walls with silence, that’s when I most need you.”

You daft old romantic!” thought Prendergast, “I reckon that you need me most of the time!”

Then you’re blind and stupid and not the shining knight in gleaming armour that I thought you were,” breathed Angela. “I thought – and you were once, I remember – I thought you would save me from everything and if the heavens fell you would ride off with me, on your white horse, across meadows and down gorges, to a safe and wonderful Paradise where children play and the cowgirls sing… I thought all sorts of things like that as I dusted the window sills and peeled potatoes for dinner!”

What crap is this?” demanded Prendergast, “Knight in shining armour? I was never like that! I was a workman! I came home oiled and filthy and with scum in my hair! And I’ll bet that after a day down the sewers, keeping the toilets of this nation working, I smelt a bit…”

You stank,” agreed Angela, “but that didn’t matter! You had rat droppings rubbed into your knees where you struggled down brick-lined tunnels, looking for somewhere to repair. And your hair … I hate to think what the scum you brought into the house was made of, but you went into the shower room and sang! Yes, Prendergast, you sang in that rich tenor voice of yours! Wonderful songs, love and hope, sixties dreams, and when you came out the only fragrance on you was the sweetness of the soap and the essence of your own testosterone! And I loved you for it, loved you with such a passion I could barely control myself!”

You couldn’t control yourself,” he grunted. “That’s why we had so many kids! But it was all above half a century ago, the kids have kids of their own, and those kids are having even more kids … and now the leaves are falling from the tress and autumn is well on us…”

I didn’t mind the smell,” whispered Angela, “and all the rest of the mess! None of it mattered, only you! But now the mess has gone, the stink, the grime, the filth, the dirt – you have a shower every morning, not because you need one but because it’s there, but the smell has gone. Manly gels and shampoos on your bald pate replace good old fashioned soap, the testosterone has gone, your hair has gone, and you smell worse than ever…”

But I can’t … I don’t” he protested, “and anyway, what about you. Fair you were, once upon a time, long tresses of gorgeous fragranced hair, the loveliest bosom a man could ever hope to see and … and I hate to say it … but you knew how to dress to please a man!”

How could you!” He heard the sting of almost-tears in the cadence of her voice, the way something unseen yet painful tugged at it. “Just because it’s not appropriate … look at my legs, for goodness’ sake! Varicose veins and old knees … I’m not going to show those to the world! Instead, all I want is the warmth of you, at night when the old shadows kiss me with the foretaste of forever … it will be forever soon, Prendergast, when there’s no more rising sun, no more gentle breeze like perfume from the stars, no more life…”

Now you’re getting morbid, love,” he said more quietly. “I didn’t want you to parade in the altogether before hoards of strangers! That wouldn’t be right and not one of them would see you anyway, no, it wouldn’t be right at all, if you don’t want to… but to me, here and now, in our little home, you’re the most beautiful creature I have ever seen…”

I’m no creature!” she snapped back at him, not properly hearing the words but just feeling her own sadness. “I’m your wife!”

You were,” he sighed, “of course you were, and I loved you then as I love you now. It was you who died, don’t forget! You who answered the call. You who left me… to dream alone.”

© Peter Rogerson 04.03.14

About the Author ()

I am a 68 year old male happily married to his lovely wife Dorothy. We enjoy the simpler things in life together. I also gain a great deal of inner peace by expressing my sometimes wacky thoughts as blogs. I also enjoy writing poetry, sometimes concernin

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