Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sad but true

We were sitting in the café drinking coffee.
"Look, there's your old friend John," said my companion, looking out of the window.
I followed his eyes. Yes, there indeed was John. He was about to cross the road with his partially-sighted wife in tow. Tears rose to my eyes. The person that I knew so well as a man of letters, writer of esoteric articles on Eastern religions, known for his brilliant mind and ability to explain complex issues, in every respect had the dishevelled appearance of a 'down and out.'
I knew the impossibility of going out to say hello. Being suspicious of anyone speaking to him, he would resent it as an intrusion into his privacy. The last time I saw and spoke to him proved this to be so. He told me of visitors prying into his personal life, offering help that was not wanted, and appeared to be afraid that do-gooders would take over his affairs and threaten his independence.
That he and his wife were coping, could be in no doubt. After all, there they were, doing their shopping, while many couples in their mid-eighties were either housebound or in residential care. I knew people were concerned about them but did they need to be? In the past I have visited many elderly people unhappy because they have been put into care. This couple still have each other, and that is worth more than an army of do-gooders coming round and taking away that which they are still able to give each other, however poor that mutual assistance may appear to be.
So why should I be sad? Should I not be rejoicing in their independence? I guess it was the shock of seeing a proud man looking such a scruff. But also because I knew from talking to him during the past year or so that his memory is not what it was. Forgetfulness can put people into danger.
I would like to visit them for old times sake. But now that he is paranoid about visitors calling, will I too be resented?

Monday, September 22, 2008

When Angels Lie... a critical episode

When Angles Lie by Richard L Gray (aka Gladys Hobson) Magpies Nest Publishing. Second edition: When Angels Lie by Gladys Hobson pub. AG Press
This is a crucial point in the story... The Rev. Paul Stringer's secretary has fallen in love with him but being spurned (she does not know that he is gay) has run off… apparently into the arms of her boyfriend.

… When he opened his eyes, the fire was no more than a few glowing embers. He went wearily to bed. As he was about to close the curtains, he looked out of the window towards the church. There had been a shower and the lamp in the lane was lighting up the raindrops on the dark trees of the churchyard. It was half an hour off midnight and it would not be long before the church became a hive of activity. He knew the bishop would be looking at him favourably — on the surface he was a successful minister. But in his heart he was only too aware of his shortcomings.
He gripped the curtain to pull it across the window but then stopped. Something had caught his eye — light was coming from the windows at the east end of the church. Had a switch been left on or had someone broken in? Thieves and vandals could do serious damage; he couldn’t just forget about it and go to bed. Groaning with annoyance, he pulled on a jumper and trousers and ran downstairs.
He picked up a torch and looked for his church key. It wasn’t where he kept it. A key that size could not be slipped into a trouser pocket and forgotten. Where was it? The only thing he could think of was that Angela must have it in that big shoulder bag she carried around. She probably thought she might need it when she delivered the pamphlets late afternoon. When she found the church open and occupied, she would have left her father or Doreen Briggs to lock up. He only hoped the key hadn’t reached the wrong hands. Apart from the damage that could be done, his churchwarden would make sure he would never hear the last of it!
Locking the vicarage door behind him, he hurried to the church. As he entered the porch, he heard music coming from inside. The key was in the lock. He carefully opened the door and stepped inside. What he saw and heard made him sick to the heart.
Under the spotlights, a couple were copulating on the altar. Clothes and bottles littered the chancel. Music was coming from a disc player. But what horrified Paul most of all, was that above the usual grunts and moans of ecstasy, he heard Angela shouting, “Paul, don’t — not that — you’re hurting me!”