My ‘be careful what you wish for moment’ had apparently arrived
‘You sound very young dear’ the caller ventured, ‘is it going to be for your Mother?’ ‘Oh NO’ I said, ‘it’s for me, I’m definitely 60, my voice is just well preserved’ – probably due to the vast quantities of alcohol that had passed through my throat I thought.
She proceeded to tell me the details in a cheery tone, whilst I, slightly shocked, took notes and agreed to meet her colleague Kate, the next day.
I got home and my ‘much younger man’ had poured me a glass of wine and run a hot bath for me. I noticed that he was all scrubbed up and smelling sweet. Clearly he was in a bedroom frame of mind. He asked about my day and, as he tried to tempt me with his nibbles and dips, I told him, this and that about work and family, selectively forgetting to mention my unexpected phone call.
Heading towards the candlelit bath, (he really had pushed the boat out), I shrugged off my biker jacket, and peeled off my thick tights and short skirt. I noticed my gel nails needed some ‘maintenance’, I thought I might have the new seasons gold or silver next time.
OMG, as younger people say, WTF shall I do.? Yes OK, so my body is over 60, my birth certificate doesn’t lie. But my brain feels like there’s been a huge mistake and I should be, I WANT to be, the better side of 40, I don’t want to qualify for a bus pass, or any other type of ‘mature peoples’ concessions.
I don’t think I’m ready for what’s been offered to me, the very word has such ‘old’ and settled connotations, I’m usually of no fixed abode, with no roots. For the last 10 years, I’ve been travelling light, backwards and forwards across Europe, my life’s possessions and the dog, jammed in the back of my estate car.
But I looked around my hastily rented, teeny tiny house, where the dog and I get in each other’s way. And now with ‘the much younger man’ in situ for a few more weeks, it was getting mighty crowded.
I need more space, that’s for sure, and the dog needs more than a back yard to explore. A block of flats blocks my view of the outside world, and the sun rarely shines on my parade! All in all, yes, I really should ‘move on’, but really, I mean REALLY, it all has implications that I don’t even want to think about.
The next morning, I dressed as usual in my skinnys from Next, Ugg boots and a Zara Parka, and I was rocking a red lippy look. Maybe I should have dressed more conservatively; something befitting my age.
Whilst I waited for Kate, I wandered up and down the road, trying to get a feel for it. It was a bright breezy day, and good grief, there were many large pants and aprons flapping around on long washing lines held up with wooden poles. Net curtains twitched and a lady with a shopping trolley walked past me and said ‘Hello DEAR’.
A fresh faced girl greeted me, she looked about 12. We walked up the path, she unlocked the door, and as we walked round the freshly painted, light and airy rooms she pointed out this and that, and gave me a running commentary on local shops, doctors and excitedly observed that the bus stops right outside the door.
There was a sitting room big enough for two, yes two sofa’s, I could have friends round, two bedrooms, or one could be a dining room, yippee, my friends could also eat with me now , a kitchen where I could swing several cats simultaneously, and loads of cupboard space to store all the gadgets I never use.
Outside, the winter sun was shining on the big, securely fenced garden, and at the bottom, I spotted horses trotting around in a field.
It was a world away from my quaintly called ‘quarter house’, which was more like an eighth of a house, and where visitors usually had to sit on the stairs, and could also view the state of my unmade bed if they needed a loo break, en suite was really, en bedroom!
Kate gave me a while to ‘think about it’ and considerately left me alone to wander round and ponder even more. But really it was a done deal.
We filled in the paperwork, I’d have been silly not to, but oh how I laughed, as she handed me the keys, and with her tongue very firmly in her cheek she said to me, ‘I hope you will be very happy in your BUNGALOW’