Tea and Tears

12th January 2012

First I have to apologise for not having posted since the end of December.

I’ve been struggling with a lot of personal things recently and I haven’t had the time to talk to Kira about the blog. Being the nice person that  she is, she doesn’t blame me in the slightest for taking a break.

(The Bartender insisted that I put that in, by the way! – Kira.)

Anyway, let’s get back to the real purpose of this blog… the telling of stories so I don’t feel so full up!

Relaxing is difficult for me. I’m a multipotentiality and I can’t just stay in one place reading for long… well not unless I’m on holiday somewhere warm – the heat makes me lazy.

Get on with it.

Sorry. I do a lot of different things to relax, reading is just one of them. I paint abstracts, make jewellery, knit socks, get my hands dirty in the garden and so on.

Of course it’s winter (or at least that’s what the calender says, the weather seems to have a different idea) and there isn’t much to do in the garden, but on Monday, I was out there pottering around, tiding up the plants, fixing the fence, weeding and so forth, when my next door neighbour popped his head over the fence.

He’s a lovely old guy, really sweet to animals and a dab hand at woodwork, he made my bookcases last winter and they are beautiful… Anyway, he looked a bit blue, so I asked him round for a cup of tea.

Once I’d got all the hostess duties out of the way (making the tea, getting the biscuits out, making sure the cat didn’t smother him) I sat down.

“What’s the matter, Paul? You look a little down.”

Now you might remember that I said before that I don’t go out of my way to have people talk to me, but I do have certain exceptions. Paul is one of them. Ever since his wife died three years ago, I’ve been listening to him talk and I always make time for him.

He sighed. “My daughter has Cancer.”

“I see.” I sipped my tea, thinking what I should say. Paul only has one daughter and she’s been the apple of his eye since he first looked into her bright green eyes. He often says that I remind him of her. “Is she coming back to the UK?”

He shook his head. “She says that they have better surgeons out there in California and she can afford to have the best consultants look after her. I suppose that might give her a better chance of surviving.”

You’ll notice that I didn’t trot out any cliches or try to sympathise with him. He wasn’t here for that; the woman from the house on the other side of him does enough of that! She also does other things to him… but that’s a secret.

“So why are you worried? If she’s got the best help available to her…” I trailed off as he started crying. I blinked. Paul never cried in front of women, it was one of his rules.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t help it.” he put his cup down and blew his nose on the biggest white cotton hanky I have ever seen, sounding very much like an old car horn.

I smiled sadly and put my cup down as well. “Paul, you have to cry sometime. I don’t mind seeing you like this.”

“I don’t want to lose her. She’s twenty-nine, a baby still. It should be me not her.” He sniffed and large tears began draining through the weathered wrinkles on his face, dripping from his chin onto his mud stained cords.

I stayed quiet. This was one situation that I’d been in far too often and I understood the rules of such encounters very well.

“She keeps saying that she doesn’t need me to go over and be with her, that she can cope with it and that I’d be in the way, but I have to see her.” his mug forgotten, Paul wiped his eyes with his hanky. “I don’t think I could handle it if she died without me like Denise did.”

I sighed.

Denise had been at work when she’d had a heart attack. Unfortunately she happened to be the only one in the office at the time (it was lunchtime) and when they found her she was barely breathing. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital and Paul blames himself for not being there when she died.

“Paul, you need to do what you think is best. Go and see her if that will make you feel better, I’ll look after Bulgy and Kipper while you’re away.”

He hiccupped. “Thank you, dear.”

I passed him his mug and he took several sips in an effort to get rid of the hiccups.

“I’ll surprise her and go out there for her birthday next week. That way I can say that I was planning it all along when she tells me off.” He wiped his eyes and blew his nose again.

This time it sounded so much like a car’s horn that I giggled. He looked surprised then laughed himself. It was a long ten minutes before we both managed to catch our breath and stop laughing and it seemed that laughing had made Paul feel better than the crying had.

“Denise would have done exactly the same.” I told him.

“That’s true.” he nodded and finished his tea.

He went to see his daughter and as far as I know, he’s still out there.

I’m looking after his garden and the cats, collecting the mail and fielding inquiries while he stays with her. I hope that everything is alright though. I know that I shouldn’t be worried about him; he’s with his daughter and her husband.

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