Image by Grant Wood
I don’t wonder about you to the same degree the police do. Shameless, I know. Mother said I was lucky bagging a Doctor. She told everybody long before I was even ringed. A Mother worries I suppose. I daren’t start blaming her. I’ve had the curtains drawn all month out of respect. Respectable curtains. You got down on one knee and proposed, remember, Dearest? Even then I could see the reticence about you. The idea of dirtying one knee of your trousers for me. It was too much, wasn’t it? Mother said I was lucky to be dating a man who wore such fine suits. The quality of fabric that now congests all the wardrobes gave Mother many peaceful sleeps. I shouldn’t criticize that. Everything, even suit fabric, has its place. You orchestrated us towards the thick tuft of weeds, away from the dirt road. Dirt gets everywhere out here, be it dry, be it wet. Into all our fissures. You got to root it out before something gets infected. Such fine suits. You found somewhere clean and you got down on one knee and proposed, but I wrong-footed you. Disgust in your eyes. I shouldn’t dwell on the bad stuff. Disgusting eyes, respectable curtains. Shameless of me, I know. I wrong-footed you right at your moment of glory. You could’ve stood up and walked away and nobody would have been any the wiser with that unsullied knee. An option of a clean escape, that’s what the thick tuft of weeds meant. Smarter than me, that’s what Mother meant. I was lucky bagging a Doctor. Still, I wrong-footed you, I said “On one condition.” You were about to scrunch your nose and say “Huh?” I know that now, but you knew enough to suppress it until you got that ring tight round my finger. My one condition: that you never talk to me the way you do to your patients. Mother had a bad cough, Dearest, long before we went to the Maureen O’Sullivan picture together. I took Mother to see you. We were invisible. Mother was awestruck. Disgust in your eyes, delight in mine. You will treat me with respect. My one condition. Seven months you managed. But somewhere along the way you unveiled this dismissive “Huh?” where your nose scrunched and you brought it home to me. There’s a policeman in the hallway and through the upstairs window I can see four more standing on the thick tuft of weeds. It won’t be long now. I kept thinking about Mother as I was carrying out all the necessary procedures, not you at all. Shameless, I know. Mother said I was lucky bagging a Doctor. Even you must see the funny side of that. But she had this dreadful neglected cough. I don’t wonder about you to the same degree the police do but, when I do wonder, the odd time, it’s whether you’re holding a harp or a pitchfork. Where does He stand on this, do you think?
More Visual Verse stories by Simon Webster here