‘What has he had to say about your dance class?’ David asked.
‘He seemed a bit taken aback when I told him how several widowers all wanted me as their partner,’ she answered.
‘Is that right, then?’ he asked.
‘Well, yes – up to a point,’ she said.
‘How do you mean,’ Gloria asked.
‘It’s true that I had no shortage of widowers and divorced men wanting to dance with me, but what I didn’t tell him is that I didn’t enjoy dancing with them, and that after a while I chose only to dance with other women.’
‘You crafty so-and-so,’ Gloria said. ‘What was wrong with these men then?’
‘I tell you, even with those under eighty who didn’t have two left feet, bad breath, or a charm gene deficit, it wasn’t nice being pawed like that – being held tight by someone with sweaty hands trying to squash my boobs into his chest. And that’s when they weren’t trying to squash other parts of their anatomy into me. God, it was awful. I’d rather turn lesbian.’
By the time she’d finished describing her experience, her guests were in stitches, laughing.
‘You’re rotten, leading him on like that,’ Gloria said, but she was laughing too. He’ll miss you, you know,’ she said..
‘I know, and I’ll miss him,’ Charlotte replied, ‘I just couldn’t resist leading him on, but it’s driving me mad being in this house on my own.’
‘I’ve watched him at our house,’ Gloria said. ‘He’s not the same. I’m sure that he’s missing you.’
‘Well, he knows where I live,’ her Mum retorted.
‘You also know that it isn’t as easy as that Mum,’ Gloria said.
‘Do you think that you’ll ever get back together again?’ asked David.
‘God alone knows,’ Charlotte said, ‘I hope so, I do. This house is too big for one person. I know that I’m always complaining that the kitchen’s too small for two people, but I even miss him getting in my way. Making meals is all wrong now. I’m used to preparing portion sizes for two. Everywhere’s too quiet with him not being here.’
‘Would you have him back then Mum?’ Gloria asked.
‘Like a shot – but I won’t let him know that. I’m not going to beg.’ Charlotte said. ‘I don’t know how it could happen, but I hope that it will – and soon.’
The youngsters, usually determined to join in any discussions were very quiet, listening intently.
Before they all left, Gloria and David insisted that they’d help to wash-up and clear everything away, aware that their mum would be very busy the following morning preparing for the long drive South.
Charlotte asked David, if he had a chance, would he cut the grass for her. She’d tried to use Frank’s petrol mower, but she didn’t have the strength to pull the cord properly. He promised that it would be done well before her return.
Her children told her that they expected her to keep in touch so that they’d know that she was all right.
Preparing for sleep that night, Charlotte reflected that the evening hadn’t gone too badly – and that now this first meal without Frank was over, the next time would be much better.
I took this photo last week (16/02/2021) during a walk with Ted in the Brickfields woodland near where I live. It is land that has been reclaimed from its industrial past by Forestry England and other organisations.
I used my Samsung Galaxy A51 smartphone. The EXIF data are: shutter speed 1/160 secs @f/2 and aperture 4.6 mm ISO 32. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.