The Phoenix Time #54


At one point in the evening, as Charlotte was dancing, she noticed that Frank was looking in her direction. He winked at her, before turning back to his partner. Just to top off a perfect evening, as Charlotte was changing her shoes, she looked up and saw him walking out towards the exit with the same woman. She was furious.


After the Ball was over…

Frank hadn’t been home at Gloria’s long when the landline phone rang. Gloria called up to him.

‘Dad, it’s mum for you. It sounds like she’s going to put you on the “naughty step”’.

‘What in blue blazes was all that about?’ Charlotte demanded, ‘and who was that woman?’

‘Oh! We’re still on speaking terms are we?’ he asked, ‘From your text on Monday, I thought that you needed me to keep my distance. No more meals together – a sort of, “don’t call me – I’ll call you” relationship.’

‘My understanding was that we needed some time apart to reflect,’ she said, ‘not for you to start an affair. She’s practically young enough to be your daughter.’

‘Pretty though, isn’t she?’ he said.

‘Put Gloria on,’ she said, ‘I want to speak to someone sensible.’

He handed the phone across, laughing.

Afterwards, Gloria confronted her dad,

‘Mum sounded really pissed off,’ she said, ‘Were you really flirting with this woman?’

‘Don’t be daft, Gloria love,’ he said, ‘How do you think I felt when your mum told me about the men at the dance damn near fighting for the chance of a dance with her? How do you think I felt about her going off on her own to Dorset? How was I to know what she was getting up to down there?’

‘It sounds a bit childish Dad,’ she said, ‘Tit for tat – at your age?’

‘Maybe love,’ he replied, ‘but think of her text to me, on Monday reminding me that we’re not joined at the hip. I just thought I’d let her see what separation could entail.’

‘So who was this floozy then?’ she asked.

‘Her name is Janice,’ he answered, ‘She’s  not a floozy – she’s a young widow. We got talking when we were registering to become members. She’s been lonely and a bit depressed and we just got on well. I seemed to cheer her up. Whet harm is there in that? Winding your mum up was just a bonus. We’re never going to get back together until she climbs down off her high horse and stops being a bloody control freak.’

Gloria listened and waited until he’d finished justifying his behaviour.’

‘Well, I think what you did was cruel,’ she said, ‘From what Mum said you looked like a courting couple – her words. Are you sure that you want to get back together with Mum?’

‘Of course I do love, but not until she comes off her high horse and stops behaving so bossy.’

‘What if she can’t change?’

‘When you get to my age love,’ he said, ‘you realise that time is like money – but much more important that money. Your mum and I have been lucky healthwise, but I  read the “hatch, match and despatch” columns in our local paper, and I see how many people my age are dying. Every second that passes that we don’t make the most of is time that we’ve frittered. I don’t have enough to fritter. If she can’t change, then I may have to invest my time differently – where it may return more enjoyable interest.’

‘That’s quite some speech for you Dad. Are you interested in this Janice then – or are you just hedging your bets?’

‘Neither my love. She’s fun to be with but she’d never be interested in an old man like me. I’m not daft. She just needed cheering up. Both me and her have two left feet and we’ll neither of us ever be the next Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers pairing. But it was fun and we could laugh at our feeble attempts.’

‘I’m not convinced that you’ve answered my question Dad – either question in fact.’

‘Well, that’s all I’m saying for tonight. I’m quite worn out and ready for bed. I bet Peter’s wondering what you’re doing down here. You go and I’ll check the doors and turn off the lights.’

Featured Photo

A change of scenery today. I took this photo of a lone tree on 7th March while I was walking from Rainhill Stoops, Merseyside towards Pex Hill near Cronton.

I used my Pentax KP 24 MP crop sensor camera with a 35mm f/2 prime lens lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/80 seconds at f/8. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

3 thoughts

  1. Awesome story. I can relate to the man in the story. When you get older, you get tired of drama and all you want is to live in peace. It sounds like he wants to make the most of what time he has left. I don’t blame him. 🙂


    1. Thank you very much for your kind comment. His wife is also finding new ways to self-fulfilment. The question now is whether they can find a way to help each other to constructively find such fulfilment. I liked what I read on your Blog about bullies and haters.


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