3 years without you is too long.
I still miss you every day and especially today.
3 years without you is too long.
I still miss you every day and especially today.
The basic facts of this story are from real life, of course as a writer I have embellished….
The weak winter sun shone through the bathroom window. Outside the light covering of frost only survived in the shadowed part of the meadow. Elsewhere the grass was a shiny bright green.
Rob climbed out of the shower and slipped his bathrobe on. With a corner of one of the sleeves he wiped away some of the condensation from the window and peered out. He had had an idea. As he finished his ablutions the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen wafted through.
“Coffee?” Alexia asked as Rob came into the kitchen.
“You, my love, are an incredible mind-reader, amongst other things.” Rob kissed he cheek as he took his mug and sipped the warm dark liquid.
“Revived?” Alexia asked him.
“The shower was nice and hot this morning. I’m feeling a lot better. In fact I was going to suggest a morning walk.” Rob perched on one of the stools at the kitchen counter.
“Sounds like a plan,” Alexia said. “Up to the old monolith perhaps?”
“That’s the plan indeed, mindreading again are you?” Rob smiled. “So I’d best go get dressed.”
While Rob was in the bedroom dressing Alexia grabbed their coats and scarves so they were ready to set off as soon as Rob came back. The morning was already getting away with them. It would soon be lunchtime.
Once they were all bundled up in their jackets, scarves, and hats, with mobiles charged and in their pockets ready for the photos they would invariably take, they set out up the hill.
“I can’t wait to see what the monolith really is. And what the tarpaulin beside it is hiding or housing,” Alexia took photos of their destination in the distance.
“It’s just a marker for mapmakers,” Rob suggested.
“Hmmm,” Alexia wasn’t convinced. “Where’s your romance this morning?”
“Romance? You want more romance? I think the fact that I’ve to replace the towel rail in the bathroom speaks enough of the romance we’ve already enjoyed this morning.” Rob laughed.
“Point taken,” Alexia acknowledged.
“Said the actress…” Rob began.
“Yeah, yeah.” Alexia took the lead as smoke wafted their way from the direction in which they were headed.
“Smells like whoever has set up camp at the monolith is cooking us lunch.” Rob suggested.
“And it smells like they were lucky enough to catch a wild boar. That is a delicious smell of bacon.” Alexia licked her lips.
“By the time we get up there I will be ready for a bit of lunch. I hope they’re happy to share.” Rob said.
Finally they crested the hill that looked down over the meadow in which the monolith stood. It still wasn’t clear what exactly it was, and the tarpaulin kept the secret of whoever had set up camp. The smoke was coming from some place behind the monolith so they couldn’t yet see what their lunch may be. They found a path through the dense woodland and headed down into the meadow. Here and there the undergrowth was so thick they had to retrace their steps and start again.
As they broke through the edge of the woodland Alexia was sure she saw someone behind the tarpaulin. She waved in what she hoped was a friendly nature. With her phone she clicked off a few photos of the monolith and surrounding area. Zooming in she could see that down the length of the large stone were symbols that she didn’t recognise. She showed the image to Rob. “Still think it’s just a marker?” she asked.
“They could be anything,” Rob replied. “Added by locals at any time.”
“Hmmm” Alexia wordlessly but meaningfully conveyed her thoughts.
“Come on then.” Rob took her free hand and they headed across the meadow towards the monolith, and strange encampment. There was no one around. The air was still and silent apart from the occasional crackling of the fire behind the tarpaulin.
“Doesn’t look like anyone is home,” Alexia said as they came closer.
They stopped in front of the monolith and stared straight up trying to read the symbols. They both agreed they looked like some kind of Scandinavian runes carved into the surface of the granite, but neither of them were experts on the subject so Alexia took photos to check on the internet when they got home.
Once they had enough of staring up they started to walk around the side of the tarpaulin. Rob had suggested that they not look inside, it would feel like trespassing, he thought.
As they rounded the back of the Monolith and the encampment the source of the delicious smell came into view. There was a large piece of meat on a spit roasting over a rather fierce fire.
“Jabili?” Alexia asked, using the local name for wild boar.
“Looks a bit large for that. Possibly a deer.” Rob moved closer to the fire. “God no?!” He exclaimed.
“What?” Alexia asked having been startled by his loud exclamation.
“It’s not Jabili, nor deer. I’d swear its half a human torso.”
Alexia felt suddenly weak and sick as behind them in the bushes they heard twigs snap and voices coming closer
So this is what I was up to last weekend, as told by my wonderful friend, Xan..
Sunday, we went to an incredible Ploughman’s lunch/tea at our friend Mark’s holiday rental apartment, Tulstig DelMar in Vilanova i la Geltru. Check out the link for information on renting it! We’ve attended his afternoon teas before and always have so much fun and eat WAY TOO MUCH! This event wasn’t any different.
Tomorrow is Tres Tombs in Vilanova i la Geltru which is why Mark decided to do a Ploughman’s lunch instead of the normal afternoon tea. If you don’t know what a Ploughman’s lunch is please read Mark’s blurb in the photo below. If you don’t know what Tres Tombs is…well stay tuned as Mark, Bob and I are going tomorrow so I will share photos and details.
There were little critters (with big shadows) on the tables to add to the theme of the day.
Our fabulous host Mark telling us about all the lovely drinks available.
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As many people are starting the year with an intention to give up smoking I am reminded of a trick that my brother and I played on our dad that almost made him give up. Just the memory of it can still make me laugh.
Back in the days of my childhood you could get mini bangers that could be hidden anywhere.
Somehow Andrew and I got our hands on some and decided to slip one or two into it dad’s cigarettes. We carefully pushed a couple down inside the cigarettes with a pin and replaced the doctored fags back in the pack. We were both keen to see what would happen. It would be a game of Russian roulette with dad as the unknowing participant.
Back in those days smoking was much more accepted, and people smoked everywhere. Every time dad lit up we waited expectantly.
A trip out in the car, which was always exciting in those days, was made even more exciting by what transpired.
As usual dad was driving as mum took the cigarette packet and her lighter out of her handbag.
“Cigarette?” She asked dad as she lit one for herself.
“Please,” dad replied.
Mum passed him the one she had just lit and took another out of the pack for herself.
In the back of the car Andrew and I watched on hopefully.
Dad took a long drag of his cigarette and sure enough there was a loud “bang.”
“Bloody hell!” Dad exclaimed throwing the offending article out the window. “I’m not smoking any more of those.”
In the back Andrew and I were unsuccessfully trying to stifle fits of giggles as dad repeated himself. Mum, naturally, didn’t light another after dad’s surprise.
We did own up later to what we had done and were suitably chastised. We didn’t mind it was a seriously funny prank.
Liz woke up and rolled onto her back. She pulled the duvet up to her neck against the breeze blowing through the open window; Jim’s early morning escape route. It was a warm summer’s morning but the breeze was still cold.
She cupped her breasts and smiled dreamily. She liked the way they felt, already fuller and fleshier than just a few days ago. Her body was changing rapidly. She decided she would tell Jim tonight. She had put it off so far as she didn’t know how he would react. Then the more difficult explanation to her parents.
Running her hands down her naked body under the duvet she could still smell Jim on her skin. Reaching between her legs she remembered their vigorous love-making just a couple of hours ago. She closed her eyes and caressed herself.
Outside the door her dad coughed loudly. “Mum’s started breakfast, down in ten,” he called through the door as he rapped his knuckles roughly on the other side. Liz wondered if her parents had heard her and Jim last night. She had tried to be quiet, and their room was at the other end of the hallway so hopefully they still had no idea she was no longer their virgin daughter.
Liz rapidly stopped what she had started and called back a breathy “okay”.
Slipping out of bed she grabbed her robe and dashed across the carpeted floor to her bathroom. She turned the shower on and moved back to the vanity unit to brush her teeth.
As the steam filled the bathroom Liz dropped her robe on the chair and stepped into the shower. While she was washing her hair she thought she heard the phone ring downstairs, which she thought a little odd as no one called on that these days, everyone used mobile phones. Her curiosity piqued she tilted her head to see if she could hear anything of whatever conversation ensued.
“It is she,” she heard her mother say formally, followed by, “who? Ahh,… ok.”
The rest of the conversation became more difficult to hear or understand as her mum dropped the volume of her voice soonafter.
Once she had showered Liz dried herself, slipped on jeans and a t-shirt and headed down the stairs.
In the kitchen her mum, dad and sister were sitting silently round the table looking up at her. Her sister looked like she had been crying.
“What’s wrong?” Liz asked as she sat in her usual place and grabbed a slice of toast.
“Mrs Simmons just called, James’ mother,” her dad replied.
“Really?” Liz asked as she started to butter the toast. “What on earth did she want?” She tried to keep her voice level even though she was worried what kind of conversation her parents may have had with Jim’s.
“He was here last night, wasn’t he?” Her mum looked directly at her.
“You know he was,” Liz replied as nonchalantly as possible.
“Your mother means we know he stayed the night, he didn’t just drop you off,” her dad leaned over and took her hand.
Liz knew the game was up. “Yes. I’m sorry, I would have told you. We’re in love and…” She started to explain.
“Shhhh,” her mum said coming round the table towards her. “It seems there was some kind of accident between here and his house in the early hours …”
Liz’s dad took up the story. “Jim was knocked off his bike by a passing juggernaut. The driver didn’t stop, but someone else did and called emergency services. The ambulance rushed him to the County General, but…”
The way her dad stopped and looked at her Liz guessed the way that sentence ended.
“Noooooooo,” she cried holding her stomach as she did so.
Her mother leaned forward and hugged her as she cried.
“But mum, I’m pregnant,” she whispered.
I hope all my friends and family celebrated the change on the calendar in a way that suited them best. I did, kinda, I watched TV, snacked, cuddled the TulStig7 and went to bed at the usual time. I don’t really miss all the hyped excitement of it all, but as usual missed Tony, as I do each and every day.
2018, wasn’t really a memorable one for me and I am not sorry to say goodbye to it, although there were some positives, and plenty of the little things for which to be grateful.
During 2018 I lost some more dear friends, some again to the horror of cancer and HIV, and sadly some turned their backs on me through their sheer bloody-mindedness, or their discomfort with my continued rawness. I have never dealt with loss well, but in knowing that, I muddle through.
I’m still learning how to ‘deal and heal’, and have reminded myself that I am my expert. I guess the counselling training all those years ago did help. I’m neither angry nor bitter about the hand dealt me, but I am still hurting and broken. I’ll say this again ‘Time doesn’t heal, it allows me to hide the cracks more easily.’ I know I will never ‘get over’ the loss of Tony, no matter what some may wish or suggest.
My precarious situation as a Brit immigrant in the EU still worries me, but more and more I am leaving it to ‘what will be will be.’ If Britain crashes out of the EU in March I hope my adopted country will be kind to me, kinder than the country of my birth, and have to wish all my friends back in Blighty, who didn’t want this, the best of luck. I seriously think you will need it.
I’ve no idea what else 2019 has in store for me, and I know some will suggest (Tell me?) I need to be positive to get positive back, but look at just how that has worked out in the past. As I learn to be a human being, I still get told I need to be a human doing.
I’ve just read that back and it comes across as quite bleak. Perhaps that’s how I feel this morning, but it’s not how my life is. I know I still live a good life in a country I love, mostly doing what I love, and know that I have the support of some amazing, AMAZING, friends, and I thank each and every one for the good times we have shared this year, and for the unwavering support of the few. I love you all more than I say. All in all I’m still very lucky (Privileged?) for which I am grateful and I am trying to make the most of what I have.
I send you all much love on this day that means so much to so many. Be kind to yourselves and to each other.
For the previous chapters click these links.
And if you don’t want to read the previous chapters…
The story so far…
One afternoon our main character, Saul, had an unexpected and unexplained visitor. Over the coming weeks Saul was visited more times by this mystery man who claimed his name was also Saul. So far Saul has no knowledge of who this stranger with his name is. Then while Saul was sleeping when the other left him a note. During a trip into town Saul was sure he had seen his visitor but when he gave chase it was fruitless. Later the other Saul was sitting on the sofa when he came back into the living room. Finally he started to explain, but an ominous knock at the door interrupted. The callers were 2 members of the Police Force, although Saul 2’s later explanation revealed them not to be strictly so. He also warned Saul that his house had been bugged by them .
After finding out that his house had been bugged by the visitors he had thought were the police Saul became just a little more paranoid than usual. As the other Saul hadn’t explained exactly where or what kind of bug they had planted Saul no longer felt comfortable in his own home, and if he had not had the responsibility for his furry family he would have moved out to a friends or a hotel, or maybe just done a runner to get away from this whole saga. Instead he tried to carry on his day to day life as best he could, although he was desperate for his twin to return and explain better what was going on. He still felt in the dark. He spent his days looking over his shoulder, and his nights in wild dreams that tired him out. He was nearing the end of his tether.
While watching the television one evening one of the characters in a new series he had started watching looked directly at him and told him he needed to be extra careful, at least that was how Saul experienced it. He had been eating his supper at the time and had nearly spat it out with shock. He immediately grabbed the remote control and changed the channel to a documentary that he thought might be safer.
Of course the cats picked up on Saul’s increasing nervous energy and played up to it. For three nights in a row Arson didn’t come to bed as usual but instead caused all kinds of mess in the living room for Saul to clear up each morning. He was getting more and more tired and didn’t know how much more he could take. His nerves were constantly on edge.
Saul had stopped using his home phone and even limited what he did on his mobile. If he needed to do anything on the internet he used his PC at work during his breaks, and made all important calls from there too. He was thankful that his job only needed minimum concentration on his part; local data and invoice entry for a huge corporation had never been his dream job, but it paid the bills and allowed him the freedom and security he had wanted. Now he wasn’t so sure.
As he was entering an invoice one afternoon soon after his twin’s last visit the phone rang, as it did many times a day.
Saul picked up the receiver, “Accounts control, Saul speaking,” he said.
“Don’t speak,” the voice at the other end told him, causing the hairs on his arms to stand on end.
“OK” he whispered, looking around the office to see if anyone was watching him.
“We know you have had regular contact from your other,” the voice continued, “and we can help you. All you have to do is tell us what you already know and you will be safe.”
As the other person spoke Saul felt the device his other had given him start to gently vibrate in his pocket. Without saying anything he slipped the hand not holding the phone into his pocket, and held it. He didn’t want to take it out in case he was being watched. Strangely just touching this odd gadget calmed him a little.
“Who is this, please?” He asked, trying to keep the pitch of his voice steady.
“We can help you.” repeated the voice at the other end of the line.
“I’m not sure I understand,” Saul told the caller. “Are you sure you have the right number?”
“We’re sure,” said the caller. “It’s your choice.” and the line went dead.
Before Saul could react Joanna, one of his colleagues, stuck her head round the corner of his booth. “Got a moment?” she asked.
Saul nearly dropped the receiver as he jumped out of his skin on hearing her voice.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to surprise you like that,” Joanna told him, touching his arm. “What’s wrong?” She asked. “You look like you’ve just seen a ghost, and your arm is dead cold. What was that call you were on?”
Saul tried to gather his senses. “Some crank call,” he told her. “I’ve been getting a few lately. I should be used to them.” he lied.
“You should speak to ‘tech’. They can trace the call for you. You really look like you need some help here.” Joanna perched on the edge of Saul’s desk. “Do you want me to speak to them for you?”
“It’s fine. I’ll do it.” Saul lied again. “Anyway what can I do for you?” he tried to act as normally as possible.
“Thought you might like to join me for lunch today,” she said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a gossip, and you look like you could do with a swift half; on me of course.”
“Any other day that would have been lovely.” Saul was trying to come up with a reason. “Today I’ve got an errand to run,” he lied. “But I’ll walk out with you.”
He clicked the ‘log off’ button on his PC and stood up ready to get some fresh air. He needed to contact the other Saul some way, but he had no idea how. He slipped his hand back in his pocket and rubbed the smooth almost sentient object that he had kept on him, as instructed, since Saul’s last visit. He felt he was in danger and hoped that this gadget would communicate this to his other. He didn’t know what else he could do.
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