New Tangled Tango #55


He helped her off with her coat.

“I could get used to that though,” she said, “having a gallant man in attendance.”

“Tea or coffee?” he asked, as he led her into his Living Room, “or have you brought your camomile tea bags? I didn’t see any in Aldi.”


“Just ordinary tea please, skimmed milk but no sugar.”

It was a dry, sunny day again. Cathy looked through his patio doors, walked back to the kitchen and asked, “Would you mind if I opened the patio doors?”

He said, “Make yourself at home. The key’s in the lock.”

As they sat, drinking their tea, Cathy said, “I saw Beryl and George as I got out of the car. They’d been shopping. They waved.”

“I wonder if they’ll be checking how long you stay,” he said, “wondering what we’ve been up to.”

“You know own tricks best,” she said laughing. “Are you a nosey parker? I bet you are – peeping from behind the curtains.”

“Maybe I am a bit,” he admitted. “Aren’t you?”

“Yes, “ she said, ”but I’m a woman.”

“I’m glad that I didn’t say that” he said

“Are you going to show me around your house?” she asked.

“No,” he said, “but you must feel free to walk round anywhere in the house, open doors and drawers. Poke around. Draw your own conclusions and tell me what they are. I probably need to start changing things for whatever future we may have together.”

“Don’t start changing anything too quickly,” she said, “but if you’re happy for me to have a look around, I would like that.”

“Help yourself,” he said, “I’ll sort the dishes.”

“You seem pretty well trained,” she commented.

“I’ve needed to be I suppose,” he replied, “otherwise the house would have become a tip.”

She took him at his word and had a good look everywhere. She noticed that even the drawers were pretty-well organised. Everywhere was clean but, as with downstairs, the house didn’t have any real stamp of personality. It wasn’t so much neglect, as being dated. White painted surfaces were becoming yellowed: the pile of carpets showed signs of being flattened by wear in places. Some of the clothes in his wardrobe looked a bit old-fashioned.

As she’d noted downstairs, the whole place lacked a woman’s touch, but as for recommending change she was cautious. Suppose they were to start living together in time, where would that be – here? In her house? Or, perhaps, would she want them both to sell their houses and buy a new home elsewhere. That was a decision she was nowhere near ready for. She’d been mistress of her own life for a long time and had come to value her independence and would not surrender it on a whim.

She was thoughtful as she walked downstairs.

“Have you formed any conclusions then,” he asked, as she came back into the Living Room.

“None that I’m prepared to discuss yet,” she said, “thinking about change made me wonder whether we’re doing the right thing. We’re starting to look at a future that will turn our whole lives upside down – and possibly that of our children. I’m torn between head and heart. I’m frightened.”

“Come and sit down,” he said, “I do understand. You are right. Staying as we are means we can be comfortable. The thought of living together is both exciting and terrifying, but that’s why taking time to learn about what a whole new future would entail will be so valuable. Of course, there will be risks but also opportunities. Economists call them countervailing factors. Our children are young enough to change jobs and move where new opportunities lead them. We can’t bind their choices. As we age though, the strength of two – to love, comfort and support each other – will become more important. Companionship will also be more important. Look at the older widows in the coven across the room at the weekly dance..”

He stopped: she was howling with laughter. He looked at her.

“The coven,” she said, “I never thought of them like that, but I see what you mean. I’ve heard them cackling and back-biting. Could I become like that?”

“I’d hate to think so – and consider Tony. It looks as if he’s on the way to willingly jump off his personal cliff into an unknown future on the basis of measured hope alone”

The shot that I used of a garden in April for my opening photo could have been the kind of view that Cathy would have had from Steve’s patio window. I’ve re-used the photo of “Cathy’s house since she would have had it in mind as she was considering the options for where she and Steve would live if they were to move in together.

EXIF data were: Fujifilm 26 MP X-T4 cropped-sensor mirrorless camera with Fujinon XF 10-24 mm f/4 lens. 1/15 secs @ f/6.4 and 11 mm. ISO was 250.

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.

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