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 he got in hot water with his teacher when she overhears a cheeky conversation.
Last week, he was heartbroken to learn the true extent of his son’s deceit and begins realising the impact such actions will have on his grandchildren. In the seventh part of ‘All Arthur Needs’, Arthur comforts his daughter-in-law following the revelation that he will be a grandfather once again – under less than ideal circumstances.
All Arthur Needs: Part 7
Cathy’s clutching at her lunchtime coffee, in a spotted mug, sitting opposite Arthur. The Café is full of people bustling with life. ‘I couldn’t talk when you left the girls off on Tuesday night. He’s staying with a work mate. Says, that she tricked him. Seduced him and fell pregnant on purpose.’
‘I’m glad you rang. We needed to speak. Alone.’ Arthur feels that’s the proper thing to say. He knows he’s not good at conflict or drama. The eclectic café is spacious but they can talk without whispering. Arthur tries not to look much at his surroundings.
Big busted Marilyn and the legs of Ava above Cathy’s head on the far wall catch his eye repeatedly. The different coloured spots everywhere are dazzling too and his head hurts a bit.
Cathy pulls at her hair, ‘I needed to speak with you. You know Martin better than anyone and my friends just call him a bastard.’
Arthur flinches but Cathy’s on a roll. ‘You think you know someone. I knew he was an eejit and liked to flirt but… Did you know any of this Arthur?’
‘No. Who is she anyhow?’
Cathy’s eyes fill with tears, ‘Aleena Morrissey.’
‘Not of Morrissey furniture?’
‘The very one. The boss’ daughter.’
‘Do you know her?’
‘Not very well. She babysat Melissa a few times.’
‘Jesus. What age is she?’
‘Twenty-two.’ Cathy’s tears fall. ‘A spoilt twenty-two. A beautiful twenty-two.’
‘Why did she want Martin?’ Arthur knows his son is not ugly but he’s no George Clooney (and with a wife like Cathy?)
‘Martin says it was because she couldn’t have him.’ Cathy glances around the small café.
It’s in town, miles away from prying eyes. ‘Says she pursued him and seduced him.’
‘I see.’ Arthur feels he can see. He can see his son’s probably lying.
‘Whatever happened? We’ll be ruined, he says, if he doesn’t leave us and take care of her. Mr Morrissey, as we all know, won’t like hearing his precious only child is… in the family way by an employee. No matter how great a manager. He’ll lose his job and our mortgage and the house… what are we to do?’
Cathy actually sobs into the spotty serviette. Arthur wishes Milly was about. She’d know exactly what to say, what to do and make everything go away.
‘Is that what Martin says? That he needs to keep his job this way?’ Arthur looks intently at Cathy’s head in her hands.
‘Yes. He says the only option is to leave us. They cannot technically fire him.’ Cathy gulps,
‘But will make his life miserable apparently. They will announce it all to Mr Morrissey and play happy families with HER.’ Arthur’s mouth opens and closes, but Cathy speaks instead, ‘I should tell him to feck off, but there’s the kids, the house and well, me. I still love the ####. Sorry Arthur.’
The waitress refills their coffees. Arthur’s mouth feels dry despite the liquid. He knows he should’ve talked to Martin but he never rings his sons. It wasn’t something he ever did. Milly always rang the boys.
‘Yes. He’s playing the martyr. Throwing himself on his sword. Leaving his family for his twenty-two-year-old mistress, to save us all from financial ruin. Good of him eh?’ Arthur is totally speechless.
‘Says they will tell the Morrisseys this weekend before they go on holiday.’
‘He’s leaving you? Where will they live?’
‘She has an apartment in town. Where they did ‘IT’, I presume. He’s your son Arthur. What do you make of all of this? I cannot tell my mother yet. It would be too much.’
‘How long has he been … how long has it been going on?’
‘A year or so.’ Cathy looks into the distance, as if she wishes she could run there. ‘So Last Christmas Eve, when he got stuck in the snow in town…?’
‘God.’ Arthur takes Cathy’s hand. ‘I don’t know my son anymore, Cathy. I’m so sorry.’
Cathy nods and looks so much older.
‘Life just seems so hard sometimes. I wish Milly was here,’ Arthur mumbles patting Cathy’s hand.
‘She’d be proud of you Arthur. You’ve been a great support to me. You didn’t take Martin’s side at all. He’s quite angry that you didn’t speak to him.’
‘Why would I call a man who wants to abandon his lovely family?’ Arthur feels inwardly like a fraud. He couldn’t phone Martin anyhow and definitely he wouldn’t be fit to sort out this mess.
‘Thanks, Arthur. I better go back to work. I wish Martin had all of your loveliness.’
Cathy kisses the top of Arthur’s head on the way past to leave. ‘See you soon.’
Sharon is the co-founder of #WritersWise a trending, writers’ tweet-chat (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com).