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Saturday, February 5
I can't believe it! She looked at her just like a man would! Bold as brass, the both of them! If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes...
Isn't it amazing what you can see sometimes? And your whole view of things can be changed in the wink of an eye. Couldn't say how many times over the years I've stared out of this particular window, passing the time till a customer comes in, watching shoppers in the street and seeing nothing much to take my interest. But that? Well, that made an impression that did. That gave me something to think about, and no mistake.
It was what you might call a moment of truth, like (I imagine) the moment when scientists discovered a prehistoric fish that was not, after all, extinct. Like (I imagine) the moment when astronomers discovered the Earth was not, after all, the centre of the universe. Like (I imagine) the moment when explorers first sailed their ships over the horizon and didn't, after all, fall off the edge of the world. That's what it was like for me, that's for sure.
Two women pass each other in front of the shop window through which I stare. One, a young, dark haired girl, wheels a green bike on the pavement. The other a blonde, older woman in a blue denim jacket saunters along seemingly unencumbered. They catch each other's eye in passing, and in the flash of a millisecond, the older one gives the other one a glance so full of lust that I'm surprised the girl doesn't faint on the spot. I'm surprised too that the plate glass I'm staring through hasn't melted into a hot gluey pool.
The two women carry on walking, getting further and further apart. To them perhaps,it was not such a memorable event. To me it was a revelation. Like so many before me, I have discovered that life is not as I thought it was. The world is not flat after all. That one electric glance was enough to prove it.
I almost wish one of my colleagues was here to share my momentous discovery, but I don't think that Pearl, nice as she is, or my boss, Owen, would have been useful witnesses; neither of them possessing the detachment necessary to appreciate it.
I will have to find some other confidante.
"I saw a woman today, Don."
"Oh, yeah." He folds his paper at the sports page.
"Unusual, she was."
"What like?" says Carol.
"Oh, I don't know! Anyway, I'm talking to your father."
"What's that? Some woman? What about her?" says Don.
"Oh, it doesn't matter. It's nothing really."
"Lots of strange types these days, dossers, winos, druggies--women and men. In rags, some of 'em. Don't know how they live ... Is there any more tea?"
"I'll put some more water on. Carol, don't do that!"
"Picking your nose. You know you were."
"I was not!"
"Just stop it Carol or you'll never grow up to be beautiful."
"Like you, I suppose."
"Now then young lady," says Don. "You could do worse than look like your mother, when you get to her age."
"What? I mean, Faith, you're looking good for your age. You wouldn't want to be like one of those bimbos in the paper would you? Now then girl, get the tea on, I'm parched."
Sunday, February 6, breakfast time.
Don and Faith are in the kitchen. Don is reading a Sunday newspaper.
Don says, "There's a lot of those sort of women around these days. They're not all they're cracked up to be. Some of them don't know what they're missing. Some do. Haven't found the right man, that's all it is. Shouldn't say so perhaps, but it's true just the same."
Faith's thoughts are fluent but unspoken: he watches too many smutty videos if you ask me. Gets real life mixed up with fantasy. That's what he'd like to believe, more like. Can't imagine many of those real lesbians lying back waiting for a randy man. Like that one in the street, she wouldn't do that. The older one, I mean. Neither would the younger one, I expect.
Her spoken reply is more circumspect: "Hmmm. Anyway, can you give Carol a shout? Her toast is nearly done. She can put her own beans on. And I'll have that newspaper after you, Don, if you don't mind."
"Suit yourself. It's the one you don't like though."
"It's the only one you bought. I'm going to have to get something decent delivered on a Sunday. Something that isn't all nudes and scandal."
"You'll be lucky."
Monday, February 7
"Is it just us this morning Pearl? When's Owen coming in? Did he phone yet? Don't know what's up with him, it's the third time this month he's only worked half day. Turning into a part-timer. Must be that new young wife keeping him busy. That's what Don would say anyway. Still he is the boss so I suppose it's up to him what he does. I'm sorry I'm late by the way, everything went wrong that could go wrong. First Don lost some important papers from work, though it beats me why he brings stuff home, he's not even a full manager, and as for Carol, well, I just couldn't get her up. I know she's not a baby; ought to take responsibility for herself. I agree, yes, but, well, I just can't help it, I have to get them both out of the house before I leave. Habit more than anything else I suppose. I just wouldn't be able to concentrate otherwise, then where would we be? Now where did we get up to in the saga of my bizarre family-by-marriage? Oh, wait a minute, here's that woman for her cottage cheese and anchovy sandwiches and her thick sliced Bloomer. Quick! You get the sarnies sorted, I'll go out the back for an armful of loaves. No, I know she'll only want one but I can see you haven't been in long yourself, the shelves are practically empty. Hurry up now, we'd better get a move on or Owen'll turn up and think we're on strike."
"Phew! That's got rid of that lot! I don't know where they all come from, all at once. Well, let's get back to the soap opera! Now, where were we? Like I was saying, for whatever reason, Don's brother Phil's wife wouldn't put up with him. She just walked out one day and never came back! (Lucky there weren't any children, don't you think, Pearl? She'd have had to have thought twice then, wouldn't she?) Anyway, she's got a new man now, Don says. A better one! I ask you Pearl, where does he get his information? His own brother, too. It's a bit heartless, I must say. I tell you, Pearl, he's more of a gossip than I am, though he'd never own up to it. Probably call it scientific research or detective work or say he's doing an academic study or something.
But think of it, a new man! I couldn't be doing with a new one, myself, could you? I wouldn't know where to start. Fancy, having to get to know a new bloke, and him trying to tell you what's what, like they always do. Couldn't be doing with any of that--no way! Could you, Pearl? Would you be up to it? Now, come on, don't laugh, you'll be sick on the Almond Fancies! Now Pearl, don't be so bashful! You must have thought of it once in a while, what it might be like with someone else, another man, I mean. I don't just mean sex--come on now Pearl, we all do it, even you, you've been married twenty years if you've been married a day and you've got three teenage daughters and a son. You didn't find them under the gooseberry bush! You amaze me, Pearl, you really do. How can you be so bashful after the life you've had? Still, it's not a bad quality, I must admit. Makes a change these days, that's for sure."
Tuesday, February 8
"Has your husband got any interest in football, Pearl? My Don's a Manchester United fan. Used to be Tottenham Hotspurs, but he changed. I didn't know they could switch from one team to another, but seems you can. I thought it was for life, something you're born with and couldn't alter, like the colour of your eyes before they invented coloured contact lenses. But no, from Spurs to Man United my Don went; from South to North as it were. Told me he followed a player that got transferred. Can't recall what his name was. Somebody famous, though. Went for millions. Took my Donald with him."
Wednesday, February 9
"No, but you wouldn't believe it Pearl, football has a healing effect on him. No, really, I'm sure they're all like that! Last Christmas, for example, (you would have had to have been there to appreciate it), Don was so ill it was a shame to see him. He had shingles in his back, very painful, and horrible to look at. Pretty well spoilt the festivities for all of us. (It's stress causes it. I read it in a leaflet I got from the doctor's.) So anyway, it lasted weeks, even though he had tablets. And then, would you believe it, once the football season was properly underway again, he was out of bed and back up there like a shot from a gun. Cheered him up no end, it did. Right as rain in no time. Didn't I say he goes up to watch all the home games? That's why I don't begrudge him his trips up there, it does him the world of good."
Thursday, February 10
Faith is standing in her kitchen. She is ironing. It is her day off. Faith is surprised to find herself quite upset.
Oh dear! Don's off again tomorrow night. Doesn't seem that long since the last time, not two weeks that's for sure. Still, could be worse I suppose, could have some awful hobby like, I don't know, drinking to excess or snail racing or something. Sometimes though, I have to admit I feel a lot less comfortable with this than I do at other times. I think it's the sheer inevitability of it that depresses me. It's as if nothing could keep him from it, like there's a giant magnet drawing him away.
It would be easier for me if he could share this passion with me just a little. I'm no football fan, far from it, but he could at least be a little less surly when I say "How did they do?" I know that the result and even the match report as well will be in the papers and on TV that day or the next, but that's not the point. I'm trying to make a stronger bond between us when I ask questions like that and if he could be a little more understanding I'd be a lot happier. At least he could try to see that I mean well--that I'm trying to show an interest.
I think though, that the real problem is that for him, following football is a masculine thing, something he takes pride in and pins his identity on. I think that if I try to get involved it threatens his self-respect and dignity as a man, which is why he gets so ratty. I'm not saying it ought to be like that, I think it's quite sad; for him as well as me.
Anyway, it's Thursday again which is my day off, so enough of gloomy introspection. What fun-packed day off can I organise for myself this time? (I just wish I wasn't left alone quite so much. And maybe as well, I sort of half wish I had an all-consuming interest outside of work and family like Don does. Something to rivet my attention, to inspire me.) Can't see it though. Maybe I'm not the type, too levelheaded. Too repressed some might say.
What became of my magic moment of truth? That didn't do much to change my life did it? It was only last week but it seems like a dream now. Can't even remember the actual so-called truth that was supposedly revealed. Something to do with possibilities, I think. Which is really the last thing I need. What earthly good could more possibilities do someone like me? I can't even sort the possibilities I've got right now so as to come up with useful or amusing alternatives to spending my precious Thursday off in the launderette. More possibilities would only offer more chances to make the wrong choice or more occasions on which to disgust myself with my own inertia. It's bad enough now.
Friday, February 11
There he goes then, off again, team scarf round his neck. Happy as a sandboy to get away, though he says not, of course. He's lucky his brother's living up there, right by the ground. Kills two birds with one stone when he makes the trip, pleasure and family duty at the same time. It helps to look at it like that, along with all the other considerations.
My family duty is all here, of course, within these four walls. I don't even have the family I was born to, they're both dead now, so there's no one to care if I stick in this little bit of a great big town till Judgment Day, and no excuse either to get away. I feel like I really should get out more though, perhaps travel a bit, even if I haven't got a real reason you could explain to anyone else.
I never get to see Phil these days. Can't say how long ago it was that I last went up there. Of course he never comes down here, to us. But then, he sees Donald two weekends out of four so I suppose he's quite all right with that. Wouldn't worry him that he doesn't see me at all.
Funny to think we used to be such friends when we were young. Don might be surprised if I told him a thing or two about that. Not that I would tell him, what would be the point? It's Don I chose, and that's the end of it. Phil was so quiet you could forget he was there, always in the background whatever the occasion, and then there was Don with his fancy clothes and fancier talk, always something to say on every subject, usually something funny. You could never forget Don was there, he wouldn't stand for it. Had us all in stitches he did, crying with laughter. Even my mum had to laugh at Donnie. He used to give her stomachache she laughed so much. I remember her saying that about him as if it was yesterday instead of nearly twenty years ago.
Time certainly changes people though. Don's certainly not the joker he used to be, though you can't blame him for that. It's the responsibility I think, really, that takes the bloom off a person, not simply the passage of years. It's that job of his, and all the uncertainty. I don't see why he has to be a manager. We don't need the money, not with me working too, and. Carol will be leaving school soon and making her own living.
Heavens, I remember a time when he wouldn't have worn a suit for anyone. But he wears one every day now, and has done for years, and all credit to him for it too, of course, 'cause he has to do it and a lot of other things too, for the sake of me and for the sake of Carol. Though sometimes it's as if he has a suit mentality too, and I never really bargained for that. I probably couldn't even explain what I mean by it if he asked me, which he wouldn't 'cause I'm never likely to tell him I feel like that, not after everything he's done for me and for Carol that he never wanted to do. I wouldn't be so ungrateful. It's just that I thought he could be free still, always be a bright spark, always bubbling over, even if he did have to wear a suit week in week out.
No wonder he has such a thing about the football, it's his only relaxation, his only escape. Gets him away from all the worry of working and paying the bills. I suppose he becomes like a different person when he's at the match, without a care in the world, perhaps like a little boy again, before he found out the way things really are.
I could almost envy him for having such an abiding interest, almost an obsession, you might say. Though I must admit, I'm glad he doesn't bring it home with him like some husbands do. I should thank heaven I don't have scarves and rosettes and team photos to contend with in the living room. And that I'm not required to keep up with the team's position in the league table. Nor am I expected to be solicitous about the most recent groin injury of the team's star striker.
There was more of that sort of thing when he supported Spurs! I suppose that was because they're only next door by comparison. Perhaps with this lot, the physical distance puts a sort of mental distance in his head, so he kind of separates the two things, home and away you might say. Football for him then becoming kind of a Northern thing, wife and kid becoming kind of a Southern thing. I suppose that's the real reason he's so close-mouthed; nothing against me at all. Though what must Phil's place be like then, if that's the case? Littered with Man United regalia I suppose, or perhaps Phil makes him keep it all in his own room, assuming he has one.
That would be sensible, after all Phil has to live with it, even when Don's back down here in his own home. Twice a month he goes up to Phil's for home games. (Only in the football season of course. Once the calendar shows the first week of May, it's goodbye big brother till August, which presumably Phil takes in good part, because we don't hear a peep out of him in the off season. You never know, though, Phil might relish the few months he gets to himself!) Anyway, it's a good arrangement, which seems to suit the both of them.
The other thing that Don does, is, sometimes, when United play down here, he goes to the home ground of whichever London team they're playing, and watches that game. Apart from that, he keeps up to date with their doings by reading the back pages of the paper. He never goes abroad to follow them, like some do. Even when they were in the European Cup competition, he didn't try to do that. I'm glad of that, you have to draw the line somewhere and it would have taken far too much out of the household budget. He's still got his head screwed on, I'm glad to say--family first with football a very close second.
It's funny to think back on it now, but when he first started supporting United I was worried. I was more than worried, to be honest, because, for one thing, I'd never heard of someone changing from the team that they'd always supported since they were a boy, and secondly, I had a funny feeling, a sort of physical feeling of upset about it. As if a very wrong thing was happening and I didn't know what.
And then, unexpectedly, I got over it. I realised it was good for Phil, for a start, to see his little brother on a regular basis, and I suppose I got used to having a little bit of time to myself. Not that I do anything in particular with that time, and not that I feel any less a wife or a mother for that matter being left to myself like that. (Carol still makes her presence felt.) But I do definitely feel a little more like myself as an individual person, and that is quite a nice feeling. It's only now and then that I feel differently about his going off every couple of weeks. Might feel a bit down then. I get over it though, soon enough. And he's back before you know it anyway. It's not worth making a fuss about. Just make sure I've got a nice hot water bottle to take to bed, keep me nice and cosy.
Posted December 6, 2010
Faith in Love is a very mixed style of writing. It has both diary/monologue style writing, to a narrative style of writing. It can be at times hard to understand but once you get the hang of it, it flows pretty easily. The storyline is very interesting and reminded me of a soap opera at times. It did give you many, many climax's and left you at the end of the book wanting to know more about the characters! I really enjoyed it!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2011
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Posted December 24, 2009
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