by Marie-Therese Kielty, Clydebank
The late snow had stopped
“I’ve been shut up in this house for four days. Another day in – (with you she said under her breath) – and I’ll go crazy!” said Millie.
Tony had retired some months previously. Instead of the envisaged “together time” it was either the TV or PC. “True Murders” had been displaced by back-to-back “Air Craft Investigations” and when she wanted to go out somewhere, he would give an excuse and slope off to his computer to fly his planes.
Such was the case again today.
Sometimes she could just murder him.
“Please yourself, Tony, but I’m going out.”
He settled himself down at his laptop.
She wrapped herself up and out she went.
She walked gingerly. Snow could be deceptive.
How nimble she had once been on the playground slides in her youth. Run, slide, and turn even. Almost like a ballerina. She had wanted to be a glamorous skating star, and had gone with her friends to the local skating rink, but never got further than skating round the rink without falling.
Film star she would never be.
Was skating like riding a bike – you never forget? She and her friend Freda had hopped on bikes at Millport last summer. True you never forget how to ride, but Freda had forgotten how to stop. She had to deliberately fall off – laddering stockings and skinning knees.
Skiing… Millie had tried it. But like Freda on her bike, it had been the stopping that got her. She shot past terrified fellow skiers, right over the skis of some, shouting apologies in her wake as she headed down the slope “at fifty miles and hour, at least!” Freda had estimated.
That had been in their student days.
That’s how she had met Tony.
“Fall!” he had yelled, and she had heard and obeyed. Just before the gentle slope had changed to a one-in-one. Thankfully.
And where were they all now? Freda with rheumatics in her skint knees; husband Derek in bed nursing flu’ from building a snowman for the grand weans; Tony the flyboy, at home, and she, yes she alone, stepping out, defiantly, braving the weather –
Her own voice rose in a screech, as the world turned topsy-turvy. She lay flat on her back, staring at new-falling snowflakes, waiting for – surely – some handsome Prince Charming on a white charger, to come and rescue her and take her away from all this. Or at least whisk her to Asda for a reviving cup of coffee and a Belgian Bun.
Not too much to ask of life, surely?
Five minutes later, no reply from Tony on her phone, she decided no Prince Charming of any intelligence whatsoever was available. Nothing for it but to heave herself to her feet.
A screaming pain in her – what was it called – coccyx? She didn’t care. It was SO sore.
She limped home. The door was locked. She knocked, she rang, in tears with the pain.
No-one answered. She knew exactly why.
Tony would have his ear-phones on, doing his Biggles bit.
Tony would be lost to this world.
Tony wouldn’t even be checking his phone.
Retirement had brought its own routine, and this was it!
Millie hobbled round to the back window. An eternity of five minutes, then Tony noticed her.
She waited for him to let her in at the kitchen door.
“Let him say I told you so – well, just let him dare, that’s all!”
The kitchen was much too handy for weapons of opportunity, broken coccyx or not.