Your Turn To
Come To Us...?
by Sandra Crook
watched Helen extracting tiny morsels from her
meal and lining the edge of her plate with them.
I had forgotten about the chicken. When
shed finished harvesting chicken, she
launched a second trawl through her meal. If
Id forgotten that shed never touched
chicken since once contracting food-poisoning,
there was every chance I might also have
overlooked her aversion to garlic.
progressed in silence.
slaving over dinner, Id cleaned the house
to perfection that afternoon. The cloakroom
gleamed, and a virgin bar of soap and unused
toilet roll still lay sealed in their wrappers,
in an attempt to allay Helens phobias. The
unmistakable odour of disinfectant hung in the
doubted that she would use the bathroom
facilities. She never did. This evening would end,
as always, when Helens bladder dictated
that it must.
She raised her
wine-glass to the light. The gesture had the
semblance of a wine-buff admiring the hue, but in
reality she was examining the glass to satisfy
herself it was scrupulously clean. She took a
delicate sip, pronouncing it to be
Clearly it was
too dry for her somewhat unadventurous taste but
my husband, less versed in Helens lingual
gymnastics, looked pleased. It was indeed a
superb Chardonnay, but I knew that Helen would
drink no more than two glasses, to avoid using
I reflected on
the dessert course, wondering whether, in all of
Helens history of bad
experiences I had ever heard blame laid at
the door of crème brûlée. I thought not. There
had been something related to
meringue glacé, though I could no longer
remember the facts. She wouldnt touch the
cheese, as she considered cheese to be
sufficiently defiled by the very nature of its
own creative processes.
went without incident and we decided to take
coffee on the terrace, to enjoy the gathering
twilight of this warm summer evening. The dogs,
pleased to have the company, stirred themselves
and moved closer.
My husband lit
his pipe, and Helen pointedly moved her chair up-wind
of him. Rufus, our older dog, moved closer to
Helen and laid his head upon her knee, causing
her to stiffen and shift her chair once more.
at her with a pained expression of surprise. In
our household such displays of affection
warranted a pat on the head, or a titbit from the
table, and he was clearly hurt that nothing was
With a heavy
sigh, he lumbered to his feet, snapped at a
hovering fly with immediate success, and strolled
off to the lawn to relish his victory. Helen
raised a small lace handkerchief to her lips and
dog, Cubby, stared speculatively at us for a few
moments before struggling slowly into a sitting
position. Recognising the posture, my heart sank,
and we all watched with varying emotions as Cubby,
sitting bolt upright with back legs splayed, eyes
raised lasciviously skyward, vigorously shuffled
his backside for several yards along the grass in
front of us.
dogs come into the house very much?
enquired Helen, in the silence which followed.
into the kitchen. said my husband
reassuringly. We dont really like
them in the living areas.
I went to
fetch their coats.