He left the peeled and chopped potatoes in a pan of salted water, together with other vegetables that he’d prepared, washed and dried his hands and put on a jacket to look at a house.
It was another wasted journey. The house was still a work-in-progress. The landlord was there together with the builder who was plastering one of the walls. There were still a lot of other jobs that would need to be finished. Frank asked the landlord to phone him in two or three weeks when the work was complete. If he hadn’t found anywhere else, he’d probably be interested.
Thursday – Week Three
A dance class
The weekly dance classes were held in the Community Room of the Library. It was the same room that was used by the Local History group, but it looked much bigger with all the tables moved out of the way.
The room was large, rectangular in shape with high windows and wall bars revealing one of its other purposes as a community gymnasium. The highly polished sprung flooring, marked out with white lines for use by indoor football and netball groups, was as suited to those as to dancing. A large glitter ball hung from the ceiling in honour of the room’s current use, though, on this early summer night, there was no artificial light yet to reflect off it.
For the dance group, the Caretaker was finishing putting out chairs for the dancers. A table in one corner, next to the door into the kitchen, would be used later to serve refreshments. A smaller folding table in the opposite corner was being used by the dance teacher and group leader to accept or renew annual membership fees and to take entrance fees for the evening. She was just finishing checking her float when Frank arrived followed almost immediately afterwards by a woman, some years younger than him. They were the first arrivals. Frank had just received from the leader a membership form to complete when the young woman spoke:
‘Don’t you see some sights when you haven’t got a gun?’
He turned to see what she was talking about. He saw that she was watching the quite overweight caretaker picking up some scraps of paper from the floor. His wrinkled grey tee shirt had moved up his back as he bent, exposing an expanse of bare flesh above his low-rise jeans, together with a view of a stretch of the crack of his backside.
‘My God,’ said Frank, ‘You could park a bike in that.’
Frank turned to the young woman and they both burst out laughing.
‘Hi,’ he said, ‘Do you want to go first? I’m just filling in a membership form.’
‘It’s okay,’ she replied, ‘I’ll need to complete one too.’
The leader passed her a blank copy of the form and a pen.
Frank and the young woman introduced themselves, paid their fees and walked together across the room. The woman’s name was Janice. She was in her mid-fifties, slightly shorter than Frank, and quite attractive. She wore a brightly coloured dress over tights and white, heeled shoes. She was carrying a shoe-bag.
‘Are you meeting someone here?’ he asked.
‘No,’ she said, ‘Yourself?’
He told her that he wasn’t expecting to be joined by anyone. He explained that his wife would probably be coming but that they were recently separated and he didn’t expect that she’d want to dance with him.
They sat down on adjoining chairs. She asked why he’d come in that case. He told her that it was his wife who’d mentioned that she’d joined, but that she had no shortage of widowers wanting to dance with her. It had occurred to him that he too might need to find a way to make new friends after forty years of marriage.
‘Oooh!’ she said, ‘Are you jealous then? Will you be punching someone’s lights out later?’
Another photograph today from when I was walking back from Happy Valley at Carr Mill along the woodland path – returning the way that I’d come. This image shows a couple watching their dog paddle at a bend in the stream.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MP crop sensor camera with a 35mm f/2 prime lens lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/125 seconds at f/11. The ISO was 1600. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.