My Father In Reflection
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
As l am reading through my Father’s stories, l occasionally come across something that although he has written as fiction is not that way at all, but is very much so facts equally as much as something he may have written as fact is just fiction, the latter a classic example of the time that he danced with Petula Clark is not just fiction but utter bollocks’n’poppycok. However l stumbled tonight across a classic in the former, Fact written as fiction.
The tale below l remember very clearly. In 1982 l was 19, not far out of leaving home to live by myself, and in 1984 l went on holiday with my Father to Greece where he spoiled it by informing me that not only was he an adulterer but had been having his end away from the mid 70’s, and that he liked nothing more than winding my Mother up.
Pretending to her he was having an affair just to cause her stress, except it wasn’t pretence it was reality, but he liked to see her squirm. My Father as l have said before was divorced by my Mother for not just adultery but also mental cruelty. My Father would watch someone, and keep watching them until he discovered the chinks in their armour and then he would pounce on them and tear them apart. As was his way. You know the way of the bully or more direct the Utter Bastard.
What really needed to happen to the man was someone to come along and beat ten barrels of shit out of him, but no one ever did because they were scared of him, because of his anger, but that was only ever directed to his wife and his Son, no one else. True bully style. The reason l left home was because one day l got in the path of him striking my Mother and through sheer luck l broke his nose defending her. However l paid for it brutally he most assuredly made sure of that, which is why l left home, if l hadn’t of done, l may have ended up killing him whilst he slept.
One of Dad’s ways of seriously upsetting my Mother was to flirt with other women in front of her, have females fawn over him, deliberately walk off with other women and disappear if at parties and on more than one occasion, strange women would and were always knocking on our front door with some story about running off with him. However, the tale below is about Penny. He wasn’t having an affair with a Penny at the time, but he was having an affair and he used to get his mistress to ring my Mother up and say horrible things to her [l found this out many years later].
My Mother who had originally been a very trusting woman, was no longer that person, and had taken to reading his diaries………something which she catagorically denies to this day! Both of my parents thought and l think still think me stupid!
Without further ado, the tale that should be called “Will the real Penny, please be upstanding!”
Reflection 1982/Penned 2017
The man drove onto the hard standing in front of his garage and switched off the engine. He slumped down in his seat and closed his eyes for fully thirty seconds, the tension of the day draining out of his body. Finally he got out of the car, locked it and walked towards the house. The cat sat on the garden wall, as usual, mewing a welcome. He stroked her and fondled the animal’s ears. She pushed her head against his hand in pleasure, purring away like a tortoiseshell sewing machine. She always seemed to know when his car arrived and always waited, in the same spot.
He let himself in the door and saw his wife. Oh, my God, he thought. Her face looked as if it had been moulded by the London Brick Company, and when he kissed her the impression was confirmed.
“Nothing!” she snapped. “Why should anything be wrong?”
He shrugged. She would cough it up in due course. Twenty-three years of marriage had taught him at least that. She did, over dinner.
“What?” He stopped eating, his fork poised halfway to his mouth.
He put the fork down, and pushed the plate away. This was familiar country, and he had lost his appetite. “I don’t know anyone called Penny. Why do you ask?”
“She phoned you here today. Said she worked at your place. So who is she?”
He sighed. “There are about eight hundred people work at my place, as you put it, and probably half of them are female. There may be a Penny or two amongst them, but I don’t know one.”
“So, why did she phone you here?”
“Did you not ask her? You spoke to her, not me.”
“She just said she wanted to talk to you.”
“Well, if she calls again, tell her to look in the internal directory, my number is in there. Or to save her the trouble, tell her it’s 2556.”
It didn’t end there, he hadn’t supposed that it would. Like a dog worrying a bone, his wife kept on at it for another half-hour, until they sat without speaking for the remainder of the evening. That night they lay in bed, a gulf of angry silence between their naked backs.
As the spring drifted into summer, she raised the subject of Penny half a dozen times. The mysterious Penny always seemed to telephone his home asking to speak to him, causing more and more marital difficulties. He spent half a day checking through the lists of company personnel, but no one provided a match.
On a Saturday in July he was playing cricket and as the game was almost finished, he saw his wife at the boundary edge. He waved, but she did not respond, standing with arms folded across her chest. After he had changed he went to meet her.
“Penny phoned you again.”
“Whatever happened to ‘How did you get on, darling’? Leave it till we get home.”
As they entered the house she began again. “She said you and her had lunch together on Tuesday.”
“Did she now? I don’t suppose she told you where we went?”
“Yes, Bumbles in Wilton Road.”
He was very angry, but spoke tightly. “Please come upstairs. I want to show you something.”
In the bedroom he opened his briefcase and took out his diary. “This is where you got that information, isn’t it?”
“No, I don’t read your diary.”
“You bloody well do, and have been doing it for ages.” He opened the diary and turned to the previous Tuesday. There was written ‘lunch with Penny at Bumbles in Wilton Road’. “This is where you got it from.”
“No, she phoned me.”
“She didn’t, because she doesn’t damm well exist. Take the diary and turn to Christmas Day.”
She thrust it back at him. “I don’t want the bloody thing.”
“All right, I will read what it says there. ‘The entry for 13th June is a lie. Penny does not exist. It was put there to catch you reading my diary, and you are bang to rights. By the way, Bumbles is in Buckingham Palace Road, not Wilton Road.”
Her hands knotted and went as if to strike him. He face was twisted into a mask. “That’s cheating!” She snarled.
Written by my Father B.M