South West France, March 2012: The driver of the car we are travelling in says, “Do you realize you are now over a mile above sea level?” ‘Crikey’ I think to myself, ‘that’s rather high.’ You see generally I don’t do high – at least not since the debacle of many years previous when I had the misfortune to take a trip in a 1930’s de Havilland Dragon Rapide ‘Gentleman’s Flying Machine’ whose handle bar moustached, aging and rather portly pilot was the worse for whisky. I have not flown since and have no intention of doing so again.
Anyway, we are in the Pyrenees.’ At ground level this early spring morn the temperature a not unpleasant 15 degrees. Atop the mountains – well at least as high as the winding road with its perilous sheer drops will take us – it is minus 8 degrees and the winter snow is far from melt down. We park up to take in the glorious vista. Shirley is fumbling in her bag seeking out gloves as we progress toward a suitable vantage point to take photographs. It is then that a thought strikes me!
“Here Shirley, do you realise I – with your compliance of course – could fulfil my life time’s ambition of joining the ‘Mile High Club’ right here; right now? It’s the only thing left on my ‘things to do before I die list’ you know. Please Shirley please – I’ll beg if you want me to?”
She has found her gloves, leather at that so they sting severely as she playfully slaps me about the face with them, calls me an “Idiot” and walks on laughing.
“I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then?”
“If you think I’m taking my clothes off in minus 8 and snow you’ve got another think coming!”
‘Oh well it was worth a try.’
Summertime, a few years ago; somewhere in Surrey: The old fool sits outside tonight. He is unusually relaxed in his patio chair. It is a summer’s evening, cooling slightly, but still uncomfortably hot. The sun will shortly set. At his side, a glass of good ordinary claret; in his mind, barely an anxious thought. The sunset is magnificent. An orchestra of grasshoppers play only percussion. In the sky above he cannot help but notice a noisy flock of emerald parakeets homeward bound.
Indoors, in the house where they are staying, the one he calls his child bride steps out of the shower and straight into a wedding dress she has found hanging on the back of the bedroom door. Standing in front of a full-length mirror she smiles at herself. “It fits”, she says out loud, not that anyone can hear her. She has never worn wedding apparel before. Having decided that they match the dress, she dons her white-framed sunglasses. She makes her way, barefoot, onto the patio. She twirls before him, smiling the mischievous smile he knows so well. “What do you think?”
“You look lovely,” the old fool says. “If you’re not careful I will have to ravish you.”
Leaning beguilingly toward him, aware that her cleavage in this low cut gown both teases and inflames, she whispers in his ear and says, “You’ll have to catch me first”.
Then she steps back inside, pausing for an instant at the patio doors to glance back at him, he the object of this premeditated bedevilment. She flutters her eyelashes and takes flight. The chase is not a long one. It never is. The old fool, even with his gammy leg catches his child bride at the foot of the stairs. They are careful not to tear the wedding dress.
Later that night they lie in bed together. Her head is nestled in his shoulder. He likes it this way. She sleeps soundly. He gently kisses her forehead. She doesn’t stir. A woman of free spirit when animate, she reminds him of a hibernating dormouse when she sleeps – all tucked up, safe and warm. Like all enduring insomniacs he lets his mind wander to whatever place it wishes. Earlier that day they had spread his parents’ ashes. The old fool is now an old orphan and a perplexed one at that. He thinks back to his teenage years. Back then an only child who had no knowledge of the ways of the world. Now he has the love of his life and all the wisdom he requires. The pair have been together a very long time now and their love persists. In these days of negligence, expedience and wastage he wonders how this can be? He and his lover must be telepathic, he thinks. They do not need words, or even eye contact. Together they always know the right moment for romance, for fighting, for forgiveness, for sharing, for lust, for understanding – indeed for all of the aspects of pure love. Whatever the future may hold the souls of this man and his lover are entwined forevermore. Eventually he drifts into a restless sleep.
In the morning he determines that he shall write her a poem – one she can treasure; keep in her purse to share with others should the fancy take her. The masterpiece he pens reads thus;
I love your eyes,
And all your bits,
But most of all,
I love your………
Upon reading said poem she arms herself with oven gloves playfully slaps him about the face with them, calls him an “Idiot” and walks off laughing.