16 Apr




Where the heck had she put them, she’d searched everywhere?

She normally left things in the same place; it made things easier that way. Getting old was no fun; the trial and tribulations of maintaining a semblance of independent dignity was getting harder and harder. Things hadn’t been the same since Jerry died; he’d always been there for her, picking up after her, helping out when she had one of her senior moments. She missed him now more than ever. Her friends had given her the usual flannel – how things would get easier over time. Of course they’d been wrong!

The pain she’d felt when she found him slumped in the garden shed over the onions was as real now as it’d been then. Lying sprawled on the floor surrounded by smashed plant pots and spilled earth he’d cut a pathetic figure. A bear of a man whittled down by age and disability. Death had softened the lines at the corner of his eyes and the baby blues she’d fallen in love with all those years ago stared out peacefully from his lifeless face.

Where were they, she had three pairs?

Without her glasses she was useless, the world a grey blur. The cataract operation had been successful and although not fully restoring her site had gone a long way to making her world a little brighter and clearer. Now she could actually recognize shapes, however it was her spec’s that bought her world into crystal clear focus.

Her appointment was at two, the annual humiliation with a government representative from the department of transport. The indignity of standing in line with a bunch of teenagers waiting for their first driving permit and her fellow second class senior citizens, hoping on hope that they’d receive bureaucratic dispensation – a pass ,not a fail.

The possibility of lost automotive privelages at the hands of some draconian nit-wit, only an eye-chart away.


The funeral had been the usual awful affair accompanied by the few surviving commiserating friends and family members who’d made the effort to travel in from out of town. Pseudo relationships rekindled after time spent in  Christmas-card-every-year purgatory. Luckily the weather held and the funeral hadn’t crumbled into a graveside mud extravaganza.

She’d hoped her budgie would be ok; she’d left it with the next door neighbor. All the fuss over Jerry’s death had got her in a proper old tizz – she didn’t know if she was coming or going. The wake had been fine, they’d the buffet down at the local pub – The Queens Arms – Jerry’s favorite place when he was able to get out for a drink. The ulcers in his legs had curtailed his weekly game of darts and the fare weather friends he’d called mates had eventually stopped knocking on their front door to see how he was.

Oh well, it was only to be expected – that’s life she supposed. Love you when you’re fit and well but soon as senility and old-age hit they disappeared like Scotch mist.

The interminable handshakes –how sorry they were – how pleased to see she was managing – such a brave soul.

The pub had done them proud, the spread, for the money, had been marvelous. Tongue sandwiches, sausage rolls, quiche and some of that Indian muck for the kids; seemed to be all the rage these days. Chicken bloody tandoori – what was wrong with steak and ale pie? Never much enjoyed foreign food herself. She and Jerry had frequented the local Chinese but that was hardly foreign now was it?


Where were they?

She’d searched everywhere, under cushions, in the pantry – wouldn’t be the first time she’d  left her specks on the shelf next to the cornflakes – even found them in the fridge next to the strawberry jam once! She looked at the clock it was nearly half past, if she didn’t get her bum in gear she’d be late.

Late for your own bloody funeral Jerry had told her. Funny thing was, he’d made it a few days earlier into his casket than the doctors expected. Bugger for punctuality was her Jerry.

Damn it she had to be off.

It was only down the street, two sets of traffic lights and she’d be there. She’d be all right, besides she’d her sunglasses and they were prescription. Hardly fashionable given it was the middle of February -snow was still on the ground, but any port in a storm.

They’d have to do, she had to get going.

One thing Jerry had left her, apart from the pension money and the insurance for which she was very grateful, was a working car. Stickler for regular maintenance was Jerry and the car gleamed like it was new – you’d hardly know they’d bought it second hand seven years ago. Chrome was polished and the paint shone – hummed like a Singer sowing machine. She’d  take it down the car wash after her trip to the registrations office.

Got to get the salt off; Jerry would never forgive her if she let the thing rot away.

Doors locked, budgie fed and with Sophia Loren sun glasses perched on her nose she reversed the vehicle. Smoke billowed up from the exhaust, condensing and fogging the drive-way, huge plumes of grey announcing the passage of something much larger than a family saloon. She looked left and right –nothing coming – squinting through tinted lenses she pulled out in to the road, pressed the accelerator and moved swiftly down the High street.

 She bounced over a speed bump, her handbag spilling from the passenger seat.

Oh dear she mumbled, as lipsticks, pills, and potions disappeared into car floor crannies.

There they were.

 In the middle of unmentionables and necessaries were her glasses.

What a bit of luck!

She quickly leant over to grab the glasses; her fingers barely nudging them before popping back up behind the wheel to stare at the snowscape in front of her. Down again – she delved deeper, her fingers grasping at the box before finally closing around them.

Surprising she hadn’t found them earlier?

The car hit the kerb, bursting the front tire and flipping the vehicle on to its side. Sparks flew as metal grated against asphalt before somersaulting over the railing and crashing through the dry stone wall edging the narrow village road. The sheered petrol line and choked fuel streaming through the carburetor ignited as it contacted the hot engine. The car erupted into a fire ball, the explosion from the petrol tank shattering windows in nearby houses.

Luckily for Bella, she never saw it coming.


One Response to “TWENTY-20…”

  1. Eveline Horelle Dailey June 20, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    An admirable bit of reading. Lucky for me, my glasses were on my nose! Again Colin James presented us with a brilliant piece of his mind. May he rest a day, in peace, while I catch my foggy spectacles.

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