I lie awake
An ache like toothache
Will not go away.
Nothing feels as empty as a double bed
With a single sleeper.
Nothing as empty as a solitary life
Where once there had been two.
I rise, dress, prepare to meet the blank day
I set two places for breakfast.
I am clumsy. I’ve only recently come to admit it, but I am clumsy. It’s partly age – after 65 you are bound to be less agile, less dexterous, less flexible – plain clumsy in other words.
Add to age-related clumsiness, arthritis and subsequent joint replacement operations, plus incipient cataract – my optician says I need it removed – “a mere twenty-minute procedure, a routine op. The eye surgeon does dozens of them every day.” Maybe he does but I don’t!
Once I could sew and knit – not brilliantly but adequately, now I struggle to thread a needle. Once I could write if not beautiful copperplate at least a legible hand. Now I am profoundly grateful for word processing and spellchecks. How would I have coped if I’d been born fifty years earlier?
I like to think I’ve reached the stage of “knowing my limitations” as our gym teacher used to say. I admire delicate things like Faberge eggs – but from a distance: I don’t pick them up lest I drop them. I’ve been called “ambi-sinister” the reverse of ambidexterous- and it’s probably correct.
If things had been different..
If I hadn’t missed the bus that day
And hurried worrying on my way
Late again, I’d be in trouble
Faster faster, at the double.
Then I bumped into you.
I stopped, you stopped.
I said “Sorry,”
You said something like “Don’t worry”.
“But I’ll soon be late,” I said,
Thoughts of dismissal in my head.
Then you reached out to me
“Get in, ‘ you said, “I’ll take you there
You never thought of asking where
I was bound for, was it far.
Thoughtless, I leapt into your car.
And that is how it started.
We met. We talked, our friendship grew
We laughed a lot and quarrelled too.
No longer “me” and “you” – it’s “us”
And all because I missed my bus!
NOTE: This is a piece of fiction and should not be read as an encouragement to young women to leap into cars with men they don’t know!