When he’d seen all that he needed to, they returned to the living room and arranged terms. From what she said the wi-fi signal would be okay for him. She told him that, nearer the time of her current tenant leaving, she’d phone him with a moving in date. At that time she’d require the rent for the first month in advance.
Returning to Gloria’s, his only reservation was about having to share wi-fi, because he was used to doing online all his banking, shopping and other sensitive matters.
Thursday – Week Four
Another dance class
When Frank looked around the Community Room, having paid his dues for the week, he felt his stomach lurch. Directly across from him Charlotte was sitting talking to Janice.
“Oh, God!” he wondered, “What’s she been saying?”
It was what Charlotte may have said that he had in mind – and whatever mischief she may have been up to.
“Ah well. Only one way to find out.”
He locked a happy smile onto his face – at least he hoped that was how it would appear – and walked across to greet them. Both women looked up as he approached.
‘Hello Frank,’ Charlotte said, ‘I’ve just been introducing myself to Janice since you didn’t do the honours last week.’
‘Evening Janice,’ he said, ‘What poison has my ex-wife-to-be been dripping into your ear?’
Janice laughed. She assured him that she’d not heard anything about him to concern her, and Charlotte said that she’d been on her best behaviour and wouldn’t dream of besmirching his character. She then said that she’d leave them to enjoy their dancing.
Once Charlotte was safely out of earshot, Frank turned to Janice:
‘Okay, spill. What did she really say?’
‘You do sound worried,’ Janice replied, ‘Honestly, she’d only been talking to me a couple of minutes. She hadn’t said much more than, that you hadn’t been seeing things eye-to-eye lately, and that you’re separated. But you’d already told me so much last week. Anyway, you should have introduced us then and she wouldn’t have needed to come and do it in person.’
Frank apologised and asked was there anything she wanted to know about him – other than his criminal records for rape, murder and embezzlement. She told him that she’d like to know a bit more about the rape charge. They both laughed. Frank told her about his visit to Edna, her neighbour, about lodgings. Janice said that Edna had phoned her and had said that she’d been impressed, but it was a good job Edna hadn’t known about all those criminal charges. Frank told her that he’d also formed a favourable impression of Edna and her house.
Their conversation was interrupted as the evening’s dancing started.
Charlotte watched the couple closely, looking for, but failing to see, signs of anything approaching a romantic attachment. She was in a good mood. The morning’s mail had brought a welcome surprise. The postman had rung her doorbell and had needed her digital signature for a large, carefully wrapped package, which she took indoors with her to the kitchen. She had to use a knife to open the parcel which turned out to be from Carrie. It was a photograph, about A3 size she guessed, printed onto a metal backing. The image was one that Carrie had taken that penultimate night in Dorset.
The detail and colours were stunning. There were so many thousands of stars, more than she could remember seeing, tiny pinpoints of light, but dwarfed and outshone by the galactic core of the Milky Way as it curved above the arch of Durdle Door.
Carrie had enclosed a handwritten note with the photograph – and Charlotte had read and re-read it several times, before phoning her friend. By now, Carrie was touring Cornwall on the final leg of her tour of the South West. The two friends spoke for several minutes, during which Charlotte invited Carrie to stay with her whenever, in June or July, the weather forecast for the week ahead appeared to be favourable.
The photograph that Carrie had sent now occupied a place of honour above the fireplace in the front lounge.
I’ve previously shown some photos of the Widnes to Runcorn Silver Jubilee bridge that I took in February on the day before the bridge re-opened. While I was there, I walked across to Spike Island, near the Catalyst Science Museum in Widnes and took a couple more photos of that area. I feature one of those today that show a lock gate where the St Helens canal meets the River Mersey.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MP crop sensor camera with a 35mm f/2 prime lens lens attached. The shutter speed was 1/50 seconds at f/8. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld and I post-processed my shot in Lightroom Classic.