This week Moville writer Sharon Thompson shares another tale exploring the life of local people.
Each Sunday this series will showcase works of literature written by local women for readers to enjoy.
Sharon first introduced us to the 68-year-old gentleman who is looking for love and life again, following the death of his wife Milly in the first instalment of this excellent short story series, when he went golfing with his close friend Malcolm.
Since then, Sharon has given us a deeper insight into Arthur’s family life when he paid a visit to his son and daughter-in-law’s home on Crescent Close, and Arthur was left feeling red-faced when his friend Malcolm discovers the contents of Arthur’s recent spending spree at the pharmacy. Arthur has since taken up a computer class, and last week, he got in hot water with his teacher when she overhears a cheeky conversation.
This week, he is heartbroken to learn the true extent of his son’s deceit and begins realising the impact such actions will have on his grandchildren.
All Arthur Needs: Part 6
‘You look nice, Granda,’ Jessica is looking at Arthur’s new outfit. Navy corduroy slacks and a smart Hugo Boss jacket, with an expensive cotton light-blue shirt and a purple and navy striped tie. Arthur does a twirl for her in their living room.
‘You got your hair cut?’ she adds.
‘The bits around the sides got a trim.’
‘And your glasses on that string thingy?’
‘Yeah, got the lenses shrunk. They’re designer.’
‘Wow.’ Jessica’s large brown eyes are on stalks. ‘And your hanky matches your tie. It’s cool.’
‘Thanks.’ Arthur’s shopping spree has gone well. On a roll Granda continues and pretends he’s a model strutting up and down the living room floor carpet.
‘Granda’s a model,’ she screams towards her mother at the kitchen. Cathy is standing at the sink that looks out onto the garden but is smiling over her shoulder at the display in the living room.
The beige tiles are shining again. Martin appears looking less happy.
‘Granda is having a mid-life crisis,’ he mutters. Those teeth Arthur paid a fortune to put braces on, are gritted tightly.
‘Nope. I’m long over that.’ Arthur twirls expertly. Jessica howls and hides her face in the furry cushion.
‘Just look at you!’ Martin is in a tracksuit bottom and a sloppy t-shirt.
‘Yes. Look at me?’ Arthur twirls and struts, ‘I’m looking good.’
Jessica peeks and howls with laughter again.
‘You look silly,’ his surly son says.
Cathy comes to the door wiping her hands in a towel. ‘I think you look great Arthur. Very cool.’
‘Thank you. I brought you wine.’ Arthur picks up a fancy bag with two bottles of wine in it.
‘One white, one red.’
‘What’s got into you?’ Martin grabs the bag.
‘It’s for Cathy. She cooks for us all the time. I figured she needs a treat now and again.’
‘Are you making out that I don’t treat her well?’ Martin stomps to the island in the kitchen and clunks down the wine.
‘Ignore him,’ Cathy fixes Arthur’s tie. ‘You look great. Thank you for the wine.’
Arthur whispers, ‘Is he treating you well?’
Cathy’s eyes widen as if to say she can’t discuss things.
‘Granda looks great!’ Jessica is jumping up and down.
‘Melissa is like her Daddy,’ Arthur whispers to Jessica. She nods her blonde curls. ‘I’m tweeting now too …. on twitter.’
‘I know. I bought myself a touch screen laptop.’
‘Can I play on it?’
‘It’s at my house. Course you can.’
‘Make sure she doesn’t access anything bad,’ Martin’s scowl is like concrete.
‘Like what?’ Jessica asks what Arthur wanted to ask.
‘Granda has gone all funny Jessica. God knows what he’s up to.’
‘I think Granda is great. Even if he’s spending all of our money. Like you said, Daddy.’
Jessica lays down the forks.
Cathy is stirring a deep ceramic pot from the oven. ‘It’s only stew Arthur. Considering we are so poor.’ Her old smile is coming back. ‘I’ll have a glass of white please.’
‘Martin?’ Arthur lifts the bottle.
‘Jessica, go to the corner shop with Melissa and get us some ice-cream for dessert. Tell Melissa she can get credit for her phone too.’ Martin’s face is all serious, with the lines in his forehead looking very pronounced.
‘But I’m about to put the dinner on the table.’ Cathy says.
‘Put it back in the oven.’ Martin hands Jessica a twenty euro note. She snatches it and she’s away. ‘I need to talk to you both.’
‘It’s about HER isn’t it?’ Cathy flops onto the wooden chair nearest her.
‘Yes.’ Martin waits until he hears the front door click closed.
Arthur feels trapped. ‘I should leave with the girls.’
‘No. You need to hear it too.’
‘What is it?’ Cathy looks pale.
Martin looks across the island at his wife and says, ‘Aleena’s pregnant.’
Cathy flings a knife and then a fork from the table at him. The scream from her is almost like an injured animal. It stuns Arthur but Martin expertly dodges the implements. One of them smashes the middle pane of glass in one the double doors. It shatters like Cathy’s heart. She sinks to her knees. Arthur races forward to give her a hand or help her somehow. She lashes out at him like an injured lioness making a blood-curdling scream.
Martin is trying to pick up the glass rather than dealing with his wife. ‘Leave her,’ he says to Arthur.
‘You fucking bastard!’ Cathy screams.
Arthur is sure the neighbours will have heard the display.
‘How can you just say it like that?’ Cathy yells.
Arthur is glaring at his son again. Even the back of him, irritates him now.
‘I thought we could sort something but ….’
The sobbing from Cathy makes Arthur almost cry himself.
‘This is some mess,’ he says. No one answers Arthur. ‘The girls will be back soon. I’ll take them out somewhere for dinner. They cannot see you both like this.’ Martin nods as his father goes on, ‘I won’t be able to keep them out long. It’s a week night. They could come stay with me?’
‘No. I’ll be ok. Bring them back later.’ Cathy rises from the ground. ‘Martin, might need a bed though.’ Martin still stands holding the shattered pieces of glass is in his hand.
‘Of course.’ Arthur moves to meet the girls at the front door. Closing the kitchen doors to living room he watches out the window. ‘Milly’s heart would break with all of this,’ he says to himself. He can hear raised voices again in the kitchen.
‘And I’m someone who wants a new relationship Milly? Who could I trust these days? No one like you. Even my own son is a stranger to me.’
Sharon is the co-founder of #WritersWise a trending, writers’ tweet-chat (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com).