I encounter my past (sort of!)
Dad is behaving himself, more or less. He's being polite to me, but doesn't think I can hear him when he shouts at inanimate objects, such as his sock drawer, or the window that he can't open/close. We joined his girlfriend last night for dinner at his golf club, (not that he actually plays!) and when driving in caravan away from it , he thought it would be witty to put on the hazard lights to confuse the cars behind. Intent on driving through the rain-soaked inky, narrow lanes, I didn't see him do this, and had a 'conniption' when I saw them blinking. But all was well, and we got home without futher ado.
The other day Dad needed a trimming tool for the edge of his lawn so we drove to a huge warehouse in a neighboring village. He trotted in, followed by me. My heels clicking on the stone floor resounded around the place, and the ten men shopping there turned to stare at me. I pretended they weren't there and clip-clopped over to the garden tools.
Suddenly a wiry, bespeckled man rushed over from the counter. "Are yoo drivin' that wee blue Mazda oot there?" he demanded.
"Uh, yes," I blinked.
"Weel, it's in the bloody way... cen yoo shaft et?"
He waved his thin arms toward the door. "Move the fuckin' thing!"
I started laughing and he looked confused. "Okay, I'll move the fucking thing. Hold on."
I clip-clopped out the door again to see I'd blocked a fork lift truck. But the driver obviously wasn't worried about a mere thing like a four-door sedan in his way. I watched him edge the truck around the car, leaving only enough room for air to sweep by, and trundled into the warehouse.
"Ach, you're too late noo," said the wiry man, who had followed me outside.
"Sorry about that," I offered, leading the way out of the rain back into the store.
I could hear him shuffling close behind me on his sneakered feet.
"Hey!" he shouted, making everyone in the place turn to stare at me again. "Are yoo that wee girrl who went off tay Americay?"
"Yes, I live in America," I said carefully.
He became quite animated. "D'ya not remember me? Paul, from school!"
As I went to an all girl's school, I most certainly did not remember him, but then recalled I'd attended a 'cramming' school for a year to do my A-levels. "Ah, yes," I hedged. "So, how are you doing?"
He held a palm over his stomach and looked woebegone. "I've had some stumack trouble, way back fifteen years. I haven't had a holiday in twenny years - this place would shut doon without me."
"I'm really sorry to hear that," I sympathized, fighting the inappropriate urge to laugh.
He tilted his head to the side and regarded me, his bright, beady eyes making him look like a curious Magpie. "Are ya married?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," I said quickly. Always the best answer when in this kind of situation.
He deflated. "Ah well, then," he muttered and shifted off to help another customer.
As Dad paid for his new gardening tool, I racked my brains to try and remember who this little bird-like man had been at school. I couldn't think of him, for the life of me. But once again I thanked all the stars that be that I left here and went to live in America. I am so grateful that I am not still in the same town after 20-odd years, and not able to take a holiday.
Roll on tomorrow!