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15 years

15 years ago I had very different ideas of how my life would go. I had no idea life could be like this. 
My brother convinced me, last minute to go to a school reunion with him. I really didn’t want to go but there were one or two people I hoped I’d see again. So we went to a pub in Havant and met with people we hadn’t seen in a long time.

It was strange. Seeing these people, many of whom were from my brother’s year or above, and remembering who they were, and who I thought they were. Then comparing that to who they’d become. There were a few people from my year though and I naturally gravitated towards them.

I was standing at the bar surveying the room when I saw a man sat at the head of a long table, holding court. He wore yellow tinted glasses and his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Everyone there was listening to and laughing with him and I felt drawn to him in a way I’d never experienced before. I knew some of the people he was talking to so I sat down and said hello. I remember taking with people, catching up, smiling, laughing. But all I really wanted to do was talk to him.

I found out his name and remembered hearing it time and again, uttered in exasperation by teachers and my dad, alike. “Truby!” My dad, the school handyman and chef, spent half his life fixing the things Truby had broken. I vaguely remembered a blond kid with funny, sticky-up hair. A full-time border with whom I had many friends in common, but wasn’t friends with.

I finally got to sit next to him and we talked. We talked about his music, my sculpture and we laughed about school. He was so easy to talk to and be with and as the evening drew on I knew I had to see him again. I kept touching his knee as we talked. It wasn’t conscious, I was only barely aware of it. But I didn’t stop myself and I didn’t question it.

Then he said we should probably mingle and I admit to feeling a little rejected. I went to the bar to get a drink and give myself something to do. It turned out that was the point he felt a little rejected by me. But we found our way back together and stayed that way the rest of the evening.

The reunion ended and we all swapped email addresses. I wrote people’s names and email addresses and Truby gave me his. It was his songwriting name. I knew I wouldn’t forget it, or him. But he kept telling me to put his name next to it so I’d remember it was him. I told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll remember.” He didn’t get the hint.

Truby and his friends offered to drive my brother and me back to our parent’s house on Hayling. We piled in and drove down memory lane. We stopped outside the wall,  all that was left of our old school. We went to the beach and dropped over the new tourist train tracks. We laughed and messed around. And eventually they took us home. I kissed Truby goodbye. I told him I’d be in touch. He later told me he had asked his friends if I seemed interested in him, or was I just very friendly. They both said I was just really friendly, and Truby was disappointed.

But I emailed him that night. And we emailed every day for a week. Intense emails talking about things and with a candor we never would have managed face to face or on the phone.

1 week after the reunion, on the 14th July 2002, we met for a drink. We were both shy. All our confidence gone. But eventually we calmed and we talked. We drove around and spotted a badger. Truby brought his guitar and sang for me. He sang his ‘greatest hits’. I loved his music. Couldn’t believe it was him. Then he sang the song he wrote about the night at met, Train Tracks and Traffic Cones. I loved it. I loved him. I knew he was someone special. I knew I wanted to know him better.

We made so many plans but life had other ideas. And yet, through every trial thrown at us we grew stronger and closer. I could not imagine life without my Truby. He is my everything. I love him, am in love with him. I’m proud of him. And I never want to be without his protective arms around me. 
 As a girl I dreamed of a white wedding and children. But I got something far better. I got a friend for life. I got unending support and belief. I got integrity, honour and faithfulness. I found my inspiration, my centre and a true partnership in every way.
Thank you, my love. Thank you for the last 15 years. Thank you for the promise of all there is to come. You are my world.
 

Saturday 16th January 2016

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Saturday 16th January 2016

Christmas has come and gone. We spent a week together, snoozing, watching TV, playing and eating before life returned to its usual pace. I have to admit you rather enjoying that week and regretting its end. But the world continues to turn.

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My brother enjoyed the myriad of new toys and I enjoyed the treats and food. But now we have some exciting changes. Our male slave has been making no end of noise I’m his quest to build things. Usually this is a damned inconvenience, but I have been pleased with some of the results.

As I may have mentioned, I am a sucker for a game of chase. Unfortunately, the game is often forced to an abrupt halt when I run out of space to run. This, I think may be about to change. Our shelves that run along one wall have been extended, and he doesn’t seem finished. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I must admit to being somewhat giddy about it all. Of course Ajali forgot all about it within moments, but he’ll be just as excited as me when it’s finished and he realises what it is.

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One more thing. 1 week. Remember I told you a Busu was coming? Something to help me against my brother’s sharp teeth and strong jaws. Well, I heard the slaves talking about, “The Day of The Busu.” It’s in 1 week. Just one more week. I am intrigued to see what will tame or cage the savage beast.

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Now I know I have only a few days to wait. Wish me well, my friends.

What happened to Father Christmas?

When I was a child Christmas was a magical time. My parents would buy two eight foot trees for the first two floors of our Southsea townhouse. We would decorate them together, using the ornaments made by my brother and I on the family tree on the first floor and the posh ornaments for the ground floor room where parties were often enjoyed. The trees were colourful and sparkling with little silver bells, baubles and tinsel. The nativity scene was set and awaited the baby Jesus.

My brother and I never saw a present until Christmas day. All presents were safely stashed away where prying little fingers could not reach. My parents would try to send us to bed on Christmas eve telling us to make sure we were asleep before Father Christmas arrived or he wouldn’t leave us any presents. But we would be so very excited. We’d ask to stay up late, and they warned us against it but would allow it. And then, like magic, we would hear the bells on Father Christmas’ sleigh. We’d race to the window to try to catch a glimpse before Mum hurried us to bed.

My heart racing, I’d hide under the blankets squeezing my eyes shut and thinking I would never fall asleep. But of course I did. And when I woke, a huge stocking stuffed with satsumas, nuts and toys was hanging from the end of my bed. Once I had finished with my stocking I would race downstairs to the tree that was magically transformed, surrounded by presents of all sizes, all shapes. What a miraculous sight that was. Father Christmas had visited and left us a heap of presents. We always knew which presents were from the benevolent man in red because only our names would be written on the tag. Father Christmas never signed his name.

Many, many years later and today’s British children are excited about Santa. Today’s parents, who probably grew up with Father Christmas, are telling their children Santa is coming. I know the name is largely irrelevant, but it feels like a symptom of something lost from British society. Father Christmas was a part of British identity. I remember learning about his many different names across the world. But with today’s lack of borders through the internet, language has homogenised to some extent and Father Christmas seems to have been lost.

I miss those days of innocence. And as an adult, I miss the nuance and individuality of British English as it becomes more and more Americanised. Of course the lack of borders is also a positive change and that gives me loved ones all over the world. It’s not an advance I would change. And of course, they may have taken our Father Christmas, but we haven’t given up our s for z just yet.

Monday 21st December 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Monday 21st December 2015

Christmas is upon us. Ajali and I have been helping decorate the tree, wrap presents and sort through the shopping bags our male slave brings home. I enjoy Christmas and this will be Ajali’s first. I have told him about the food and the presents, but he doesn’t believe such a time can exist. I look forward to showing him he is wrong.

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Ajali playing in boxes

Ajali remains excitable and rather uncouth. He leaps about, making the humans laugh. He steals anything and everything. It’s like living with a puppy. He chews everything he can get his sharp teeth on, including me! That’s when I yowl and the slaves pull him off me. Sometimes I yowl when he hasn’t even touched me, just to see him pulled away. Although the humans are getting wise to this now. Who would’ve thought they were smart enough?

Anyway, here’s something interesting. Remember when I said something is coming? Well I was right. I don’t know what it is, but whenever Ajali bites me they assure me Busu will be here soon. Should I infer this Busu will somehow stop Ajali biting me? Perhaps a Busu is a protective coating? Or a barrier I can breach but my pesky brother cannot? I don’t know, but I shall keep you posted.

In the meantime, Ajali may be irritating, but he plays a mean game of chase. That kitten is fast, but I am wily. I always win. Always.

Sunday 18th October 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Sunday 18th October 2015

I suspect something is happening. I am not sure what, but something is definitely coming. I shall wait.

Prompt: The Interview (456 words)

“Now, how did you come to be here today?” Godfrey sat forward, elbows on knees with a broad, inviting smile. Dinah, his interviewee seemed nervous. Her voice quivered and her face shone with ruby coloured apprehension.

“I saw your advert in the paper. I thought you had a vacancy for a PA.”

“Oh I do. I have an opening, but it needs to be the right person. You do understand?” He waited for a nod of agreement before he spoke again. “I will require a level of dedication you may not have committed to before. I am a busy man and only the finest, most ardent allegiance will do. You understand?”

Dinah nodded but didn’t speak. Her body shook a little and Godfrey wondered if she were made of the right stuff to join his company. He waited in silence, hoping Dinah would feel compelled to fill it with speech. She twisted her hands and feet to an accompaniment of light squeaks from the chair and its bindings.

“I’m not sure I’m what you’re looking for,” she said. Her voice was quiet but firm. Godfrey gave a lop-sided grin and lifted a questioning eyebrow. She continued in a louder and more confident tone, “Forgive me for wasting your time. I must not waste any more of it.”

She attempted to stand, but her hands jolted her back into the seat. They were not only bound to each other but also to the back of the chair. She strained her wrists and ankles against the leather straps that held her in place. Her eyes, far from being wild with fear as they had been for most of the interview, were hard and determined. They narrowed and fixed upon Godfrey’s face.

With delight, Godfrey jumped up and clapped his hands together, binding the fingers. “Marvellous,” he said. He offered a hand to shake before remembering she was bound and unable to return the gesture. “Silly me,” he said, retracting his hand. “Dinah, I knew you had the spunk for this role. You’re a fighter.” Godfrey grinned and bounced on the balls of his feet, the nervous energy of the interview beginning to break free.

“Please,” Dinah said. “Please, let me go.” Tears began to spill from her eyes.

“My dear, I couldn’t imagine life without you.”

He took a gag from the back of her seat and placed it over her mouth. She tried to scream, but the gag performed well, as it had done many times before.

Another quality acquisition, thought Godfrey as he switched off the light and left the squirming woman in her cell. He would sleep well, revelling in the relationship to come and the eventual addition to his beautiful collection of personal assistants.