It is of an invitation of which I now speak.
It was offered to me by my long standing friend Kevin. I have known him since our school days, sometime in the murky passed now.
He and I keep in touch, at least once a month and this request that I call and have tea is a pleasant surprise.
He himself would be at work, but his wife Barbara would take great pleasure in seeing me.
Of that I doubt very much. I am well aware of the love Kevin has for this woman, she literally is his night and day and may god forgive him for it.
It is since several months ago that we last met and it is an experience that I do not readily wish to have again.
However, my good friend Kevin has asked and I will not simply dismiss his ask out of hand.
I love him, as my best friend and in no other way, lest it raise more questions than answers.
It may help you digest the story that ingloriously unfolds as I introduce who I am.
I am Richard Matthews, I am thirty seven years old and I was married , to the what I once believed was the beautiful Antonia.
However, as I found out to my near cost, she had planned to 'Do me in' as the saying goes.
I was lucky in my detection of this and following our rather hurried divorce, I banished her to Clonakilty, of which she remains, convinced of things that live in her garden that are not based on any reality we would recognise.
Too many doses of Echinacea and strong black coffee's I would say are to blame, along with the novels of Jodi Picoult.
However, I am being drawn into an account of my somewhat confused ex-wife.
It lacks any redeeming appeal, so I apologise.
I stand approximately six feet tall, my complexion would be on the blue side, although my hands are often seen as bright red, no I do not know why I appear so. It seems to me to be quite natural and not something that I should interfere with. My hair would be quite dark, but turning grey to white. I shave only when the need arises, therefore I appear quite rough and perhaps the term here that I look like a 'Nacker would apply itself.
To note, I am a writer of graphic novels. They are not comic books, it would displease me so to hear you refer to them as such. It is simply not the case.
So. it is here that I should stay with the invitation from Kevin and tea.
I dress formally, I wear my morning suit and I stand tall and then take a taxi cab to friend Kevin's dwelling.
The house is a terraced abode and decorated accordingly. The front door is shockingly horrific, hideous in its 'dayglow blue look'. I dread to think what really happened the day that accident took place.
I press the door bell and hear nothing.
I assume the device is broken, maybe that is not the case but I do not know this for certain.
the thing that answers the door is as appalling as the door itself. It appears thin and quite unfed, hair that has things growing in it, that is a misconception on my part, the hair is of different colours and that is what misguided me.
It looks female, I could not at this stage be certain of that, wearing a grey track suit and having a telephone glued to its ear is not helping.
It looked at me with eyes that although not quite crossed, but as if it hasn't finished squinting.
I really do not want to look at it.
There are growths of some sort upon its face, as if it has stood too close to a pizza that has suddenly exploded.
I try and raise a smile but I fail.
"What?" It says, a queer look in its blood shot eyes.
"I'm Richard." I said, I spoke clearly and politely.
The poor creature could not have understood me, "Yeah, so what?" It replied.
It then suddenly spoke into its telephone, words that I would confer upon you as quite shocking,
"He shagged Shazza! When was that?" It said, sounding undeniably horrible as it spoke.
I was quite prepared to leave, but this thing then brought me inside and pointed to a room,
"She's in there." It said, turning away from me and I will admit I was relieved it had.
Barbara sat in an armchair close to the window.
She was engrossed in reading The Guardian, a publication I dismissed as being too poncey for its own good. Too many words for too few subjects.
"Hello." I said cheerily.
She looked up at me and I was hoping that I could be in the presence of someone else.
Barbara stood up, placing that paper to one side, I now got a reasonable view of her in daylight for once, anything I knew of her evaporated in front of me.
She was quietly displeasing, my somewhat hidden look on her did not take too kindly in what I saw.
She appeared quite bulky, as a builder might, one who has worked for so long carrying bags of cement from one place to another. She should not have worn a skirt with legs that did resemble thick posts for a gate. Her stance was that she couldn't close her legs, her feet looked quite red and obscenely wide.
They were so solidly planted there, I wondered if she could move quickly at all.
"Hi Richard." She said and her voice was nothing like the rest of her.
Barbara sounded so soft, as if she would never shout and as if to confirm this, I had never heard her shout, only to not perhaps sound as she did.
"Sit down, sit down." She then said and I did as I was asked.
If only I could listen to her, then I would never open my eyes on her again. She sounded so sweet and I was so taken with her voice.
The rest of her is just pig ugly.
"Kevin said you might call." She said.
I nodded, "He asked me to call, so here I am." I replied, I sounded quite nice myself and Barbara smiled.
As she sat in the chair, I could not but admire the strength of those buttons on her blouse, I feared that at any moment, they would let go and fly across the room and do some serious damage. I was prepared to duck, but as luck would have it, the need did not arise.
She seemed to be aware of the hazard and adjusted herself accordingly.
"So how's your dad?"
"Oh, he's fine." I said, "he's dead, so I suppose he should be."
"I didn't know. When did that happen?"
"It was last month, the funeral was very quiet." I said.
Barbara nodded knowingly, "Sorry." She said.
"Oh, it's okay. He died in his sleep."
"Was that at home?"
I looked at her and I found myself lost in her look, as if she were taking me shopping at B&Q for wallpaper, why I thought that I do not know.
I shrugged, momentarily waking me from her look, "No, he was at his girlfriends house." I told her.
Barbara smiled, as though she had just found out about a naughty secret.
it was no secret. My dad would chase anything in a skirt and who was I to try and stop him?
"Now, what can I get you?" She asked.
I found myself wanting to hear her speak so much more, as if I were to be haunted by her voice and I felt so lost within her sound.
"Tea would be nice." I said.
It would, of that there was no lie, I would stay and have tea with her, I would listen to her and beg her to speak as her tones and softness would caress me.
We shared tea, Barbara and I and much more than that. I will disgrace either herself and me in openly saying what adventures followed, it would not be below me to say. I think you should hear of such things. The privacy of our meetings remain as such and I will openly speak of them, but not at this juncture.
The thing that had answered the door to me was in fact Barbara's son's girlfriend, Kaylah. Evidently, Barbara's son needs glasses , or to just keep it in his trousers. It is my belief that he should try the glasses first.
(From 'An Ordinary Day in Extraordinary Ways Part 4. Written by Jim Hewitt)