SoCS Feb. 13/16 – tire

‘I wonder if one ever tires of living life like just this,’ he mused, stroking his beard meditatively. He glanced across at his wife, who, to all intents and purposes seemed to be basking in the sunlight pouring in from the tall, Georgian sash window just behind her. This library of his, everyone declared, was the finest in the county.

“What do you think, my dear, hmm?” he asked, as if she had heard his thoughts as clearly as if they had been uttered into the still, mahogany clad room.

“I think I’m bored to tears, Humphrey. Why on earth we have to stay here when everyone else is in St Tropez is absolutely beyond me. At least let me go, why can’t you?”

Humphrey frowned. The perils of marrying a woman twenty years his junior seemed to be thrust under his Roman nose more and more often these days. As one of the bright young things, she had been an absolute charm, but now her tone was shrill, her wants had turned into needs and he rather suspected she was beginning to tire of him and his middle-aged ways. But dammit all, he’d had enough excitement in the last shout, and if the papers were to be believed, that arrogant little man with the ridiculous moustache was spoiling for another fight sooner rather than later. No, he, Humphrey, just wanted a quiet life.

“Anything you want my dear, you shall have. Get Frensham to pack your bags and we’ll get you on old Davidson’s little plane lickety spit. Will that do you?”

She jumped up. all smiles and red lipstick. “Oh, Humphrey, you are the most darling creature, I don’t care what they say about you!”

She shimmied out of the room, calling for her maid, heels echoing on the marble as she skipped into the hall.

No. He would never tire of her, this house, this life.

Especially now that he had the place to himself for a few weeks. Just like the old times. Just the way he liked it.

——-

Here’s my first attempt at Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Please head on over to Linda’s blog to find out and to read all the delicious creativity that can be found there.

Thank you to Linda for creating this little community!

Brief Encounter

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He swore on his mother’s grave, but then he swore on just about everything. So really, being here at the cemetery, gazing down at the inscription etched into the granite was somewhat meaningless. It was more that he wanted to be somewhere different than inside the four walls of his top floor walk-up.

But sheesh! It annoyed him. He hadn’t got to see the gravestone before it had been set, a tortuously long twelve months after her burial. So much for tradition, something that he didn’t really set much store by, but seemed to mean more than anything else to his sister. Big on tradition, not so hot on spelling. True, Hebraic script wasn’t her strength, but why had she felt such a need to do it all herself? Did he not even figure these days, just because he didn’t attend shul except on High Holy Days, and even then, not so consistently?

So now, their mother would be for ever known by a name that wasn’t hers. If she could roll in her grave, she damn well would. Not that he believed in that kind of stuff.

Judah sighed. A passer by nodded in mournful camaraderie, and a flash of guilt reddened Judah’s cheeks. No, he wasn’t mourning the loss of his mother. Tom had lost 25 bucks at the races, and they had nothing to eat except a tin of peas and a slightly soft tomato. Not the dinner he had hoped would be theirs tonight. Still, Tom was a cheerfully optimistic kid and he’d just shrugged as he dropped his betting slip into the trash with an “Oh hey, something will turn up”.

The passer by returned. “I’m sorry for your loss, my friend.”

“Oh, thanks. She was old. It was to be expected.”

The old man smiled and shook his head. “No, no, I was down at the race track. Your boy there, he backed a loser, right?”

Judah smiled wryly. “He sure did. It’s all we seem to do, these days.”

“Don’t we all. Listen, you know what, it’ll all turn out right, just as your boy said. Let me tell you something. When I was  thirteen, just before my Bar Mitzvah, we went to the country club just off Sandy Lane Turnpike. Remember it?”

“Oh yeah, we never had the money for membership. I always wanted to go there!”

“Sure. We got lucky that summer. Anyhoo, my father got lucky too, in more ways than one. There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father. I thought my life had ended right there.”

“Oh?”

“Sure! I was thirteen, raging with hormones and lust like you wouldn’t believe. I wanted her so bad – boy, she was hot!”

“So what happened? Your mother divorced your father, took him for all he was worth?”

“God, no! My parents hated each other, she couldn’t care less. They just stayed together to spite each other and show the Gersteins that they were above all that kind of thing.”

“The Gersteins?”

“Yeah, Amy’s parents. Their divorce went on for years, dragged down the whole shul.”

“And Amy?”

“Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy… You know, I married her in the end. Another Gerstein scandal, you see? Ten years her junior, I was.”

“Nice work, man.”

“Yeah, wasn’t it just. She turned out to be just as much of a meshuggenah as my dear dead mother. Still, I’m here to see her every week, regular as clockwork.”

“Very commendable of you.”

“Heck no, I’m just making sure she’s still six feet under. I ain’t got the energy for her shit no more!”

The old man took Judah’s hand in his, shook it firmly and shuffled off, cackling to himself.

Judah stared at the fifty buck note that had been crushed into his hand. He dropped three stones on his mother’s headstone, murmured a quick prayer and sauntered off, hands in his pockets. Just as Tom had said, something had turned up.