Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Keeping The Peace
She must have spotted the Tesco delivery van pulling out of my drive, besides, she never knocks, so I couldn't pretend to be out even if I tried. I bid her to stick the kettle on as I continue to unload.
"Oooh, grapes - l can never buy those when my lot are here."
She shrugs, "Well, they eat them.."
(Is it just me?) I place the bowl in front of her, leaving her to help herself.
"Good thing for you, you got your delivery today, Ben-Ma-Chree's not sailing tomorrow."
I agree. Ben-Ma-Chree is our only food supply route from the mainland, as well as passengers, it ferries the shipments that stock most of our Supermarket shelves. Our local produce of meat, dairy and bread gets stretched pretty thin when the storms blow in. It's not unusual to receive a phone-call to say all Tesco home deliveries have had to be cancelled.
I wonder if hubby's flight home will make it over on Friday, being only a hundred seater, it's often grounded when the weather turns sour. Heading to the utility room, I leave her scoffing grapes as I re-stock the freezer.
Returning, I grab my ciggies en-route, and usher her through to the conservatory, opening the double doors for a smoke.
"Actually, I've come over to ask you a favour.."
She waves her hand in front of her face as I light up, nose wrinkled. Resentfully, I Step out into the garden.
"What's that, then?"
"Um, well - you know Andy?"
"Your married toy-boy?"
I don't know him, I've never even set eyes on him, but I certainly know of him. He lives with his wife and two kids, just a few streets away. When she is on the island, which admittedly is not that much now - not since she drained the joint bank account of her errant, absent husband's life savings, she and this guy (two years older than her son) have been having this rampant fling together.
I say rampant. He comes over during the day to get his leg-over. They can't be seen out together, as she's a "friend" of his family, and people might talk.
"Well, I was wondering.."
"Would it be alright if he parks his car in your drive when he comes over?"
Clocking my face, she rushes on, "Well, no one can spot it from down here, can they? He can't park up at the top, everyone sees.."
I'm gob-smacked. No one can ever accuse her of being the most sensitive of souls, granted, but even I am surprised at her audacity. Separated from her husband, it's up to her what she chooses to do with her dubious love-life, but I'll be damned if she's dragging me in there.
"You nuts? You do realise I'm the one with the husband who works away?"
She shrugs, grinning. "But, you know hardly anyone anyway, it's different, I mean, everybody knows me over here, and well, it's not like your drive isn't shielded from the road, is it?"
Darn cheek! She is happy for me to look the scarlet floozy, just so long as it deflects any gossip away from her door. Do I really have "mug" tattooed across my forehead? This is rich, even coming from her!
Truth is, I never befriended this woman, she just took me over. I don't even like her. She never has a good word to say about anyone, myself included (as I indignantly discovered from a mutual acquaintance). So, why do I put up with it? I'll tell you why, because I hate unpleasantness, and we are neighbours, I tolerate her to keep the peace, and besides, she is a person known best not to cross. But not this time, nu-uh, there is a line, even for me.
"Sorry, no can do. He'll just have to jump on his bike, and hope for the best."
It sailed clean over her head. She left genuinely puzzled as to what the big deal is.
Hmn. Human relations, complex, aren't they?