Morning Tea Near MitcheltonKen Blowers / Humor / Mystery & Detective
MORNING TEA NEAR MITCHELTON
By Ken Blowers
Editing by Eagle-Eyes Editing Solutions
Cover Illustration by Paulien Bats
Copyright (c) 2014 by Ken Blowers
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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3.The Fax Of Life
5.Winners Are Grinners
7.The Car Boot
8.Advantage – Colt .45
Jenny had agreed to meet her estranged husband, Brian, at what had once been their most favourite coffee shop (and florist), Blooms by Tiffany, in Blackwood Street, Mitchelton.
‘G’day, darl,’ Brian greeted Jenny. Running late, are we?’
‘Hmm... you used to stand up to greet me.’
‘Oh. Oh... yes. Sorry about that.’
‘Never mind. I’m more laid-back, these days. Life is soooo much easier these days...’
‘Er..., that’s a nice dress. New, is it?’
‘No! No! I bought it last time we went down to Sydney – must be over a year ago now.’
‘Oh. Well… it looks very nice. Or, should I say, you look very nice… in it.’
‘Look at your shirt! Haven’t you learned how to use a steam iron properly yet?’
‘Oh, er... I guess not.’
‘And you need a haircut.’
‘Er… yes. Yes, I do. I’ll have to keep an eye out for a handy hairdresser.’
‘There’s one almost next door.’
‘Oh, yes, I think there is. I’ll check it out later, if I’ve got time.’
They sat quietly at their table, shuffling their feet uncomfortably while Tiffany served them their coffees.
Then Brian said, ‘I’m pleased to see you’re still wearing your wedding ring.’
‘Yes. But don’t read anything into it. It’s just there to keep the sharks at bay.’
‘Are you sleeping… alright, now?’ Brian asked.
‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. It’s great being able to sleep without being molested. But are you eating properly? I bet you still can’t cook.’
‘Yes, I’m eating ok and no, I can’t pretend to be a cook. You are dead right there. But I get by…’
‘Why did you ask me to meet you here today?’ said Jenny, sipping her cappuccino. ‘I assume it’s something to do with our forthcoming divorce - is it?’
‘Yes, and… and... er... no,’ replied Brian.
‘Don’t you know?’ asked Jenny, expressing surprise and annoyance.
‘Let me explain,’ said Brian. I wanted us to meet here in Blooms because we both love the place! Do you remember the very first time we came in here for coffee, a couple of years ago and we both agreed it was nice and intimate and somewhat unusual these days. Very ‘civilised’ I think we agreed at the time – right?’
‘Oh, yes. Yes, I do remember that.’
‘Good. Well, I wanted somewhere civilised where we could talk privately and be civil to one another; and for downtown Mitchelton, ‘Blooms’ seemed to be the best choice, the perfect choice – don’t you agree?’
‘Oh, yes… I guess so.’
‘As an expression of goodwill, I asked Tiffany to reserve these soft seats in the corner that I know you like and make up this beautiful floral bouquet - here, just for you. Like them, do you?’
‘Oh yes. Yes, they’re gorgeous. But now you’ve really got me worried; worried about the ‘fine print’, as they say. What are you up to? What are you after?’
‘Do you realise that we were married for seven years, well almost seven years? Seven years next month, right?’
‘That’s true. Seven years on the 25th - so what?’
‘In all that time, something like two-and-a-half thousand days, we only had one serious quarrel… just one?’
‘Serious? On a scale of…?’
‘Well, serious being something you still stew over for ages. All the other run-ins we had were forgotten before we went to bed, or the next day and when we got over it, well, we just went on loving one another.’
‘So why did we… why do we, let that one ‘disagreement’, or bust up… whatever, ruin our lives? I don’t think it makes sense.’
‘Just a minute,’ she said showing interest and surprise. ‘Are you saying you want to call it off? You don’t want a divorce?’
‘Yes! I mean ‘no’! No I don’t want a divorce, not anymore.’
‘Why? Why this sudden change? Give me one simple reason why we shouldn’t get a divorce.’
‘For the same simple reason we got married in the first place: I love you. You love me. We’d be crazy to throw it all away. We’re good for each other!’
‘If that’s true, how come we got in this mess in the first place?’
‘Simple. We fell into bad ways.’
‘Yes, yes we did! When we first married we were head-over-heels in love and we trusted one another implicitly. Then after a year or so we both got a bit slack with the reins. I started going out with the boys again, like I did when I was single. You thought, ‘If he can do it so can I’ and you started going out on your own too. Instead of the happy ‘us’ we had before, we began a slow but steady slide farther and farther apart until every decision became a ‘me’ versus ‘you’ tussle, particularly at weekends. That was our first mistake. A big mistake, am I right?’
‘I… I guess so.’
‘Well I think if we are adult enough to admit our faults and recognise where we went wrong, then surely we must have a good chance, a very good chance, of putting things right; don’t you think so?’
‘In the old days, you know, young married couples having troubles would have gone to their elders for help and advice. Today people like us don’t, do they? Thinking we are so damn clever and so independent. We allow ourselves to be influenced far too much by what we see on telly, particularly by those damn soapies because we think the soapies somehow represent real life. That’s a big mistake because the soapies are very much removed from real life. They are designed to engender maximum interest by using plots constructed to create conflict through secrets and lies. When you watch this artificial view of life over and over and over again, you begin to think that lying and cheating between partners is ‘normal’. That was what we did... I think. Yeah and that was another big mistake.’
‘Look, I’ve been talking to some older people I know, people who have been married 40, 50, 60 years. These people know about marriage, strong marriage – believe me!’
‘When you take the time to listen to people like that, you know, seriously you know; they all say pretty much the same thing. They say that their success in having a good long-term marriage is based on two simple, but important points; mutual trust and having no secrets between them and love, of course. But trust was definitely ‘in’ and secrets were clearly ‘out’! Get that right, it seems and everything just... well... falls into place.’
‘You think we could do that?’
‘Oh yes, yes, of course.’
‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’
‘Yes, very serious. You see, I read somewhere that ‘You have to know if you really need what you want, before you reach for it, because you may find you’ve already got it without knowing it.’ Does that make any sense to you?’
‘I’m not sure...’
‘Well, you have to lose something or be very close to losing it, before you realise it’s true value.’ Right?’
‘Well I know I’ve already found the perfect partner and there’s no need for me to ever seek another.’
‘Yes. I know what I want. I want our marriage to survive! Knowing I’m so close to losing it, makes me want it even more!’
‘Oh, I don’t know… It didn’t work before.’
‘No. But that’s because we didn’t appreciate what we had then and what we needed to do. It was like playing a game without knowing the rules. We had a marriage without any rules. Now I know, we know, where we went wrong. When I look in your eyes, I know you want to save this marriage too. I think we both know what we’ve got to do about it!’
‘Fight for it, you mean?’
‘Yeah, right! Now we know where the dangers lie, we sure as hell stand a better chance than we did before – don’t you reckon, darl?’
‘I understand what you’re saying, Brian, but I’m scared... maybe a bit too scared.’
‘But there’s no need to be scared, darl. Not real scared. I mean, I understand you might be just a teeny-weeny bit scared, in case you get hurt. But I ain’t never going to let that happen, never again. No way – I swear it!
‘I don’t know…’ said Jenny, somewhat unsure still.
‘You don’t have to say ‘Yes’, right now. No. Look, why don’t we agree to think about it and meet here again in ‘Blooms’ next Saturday, same time, eh? I’ll speak to Tiffany.’
‘Oh, alright, I suppose… we could do that,’ agreed Jenny.
‘Good. The topic for discussion next week is some kind of trial period, say… six months? One month? A week? Something, something like that to give it a fair go. Understand what I mean?’
‘Ok. We’ll do that,’ affirmed Jenny.
‘Yes. Yes and maybe we can explore what we each mean by ‘absolute truth’ and ‘no secrets’ and anything else of concern. We’ll outlay our problems and sort them out one by one?’ Brian reached out and took her hand.
‘Perhaps,’ he said, pointing at the ‘Blooms’ sign, ‘perhaps our love will bloom again, eh?’
Jenny leant over and kissed him on the cheek, saying, ‘Let’s hope so, Brian. It’s a nice thought.’ She picked up her bouquet and walked out, beaming and calling, ‘See you same time next week, then.’
Brian went to the counter to pay the bill. Tiffany said, ‘Congratulations, Brian, you handled a delicate situation very well. I’m very pleased for you and Jenny. It’s right what you say: you are good for each other. I’m sorry for eaves dropping, but it is a very small shop.’
‘Thanks, Tiff,’ said Brian. ‘But I think the intimacy you get here really made the difference.’
‘Good. Congratulations. You’ll certainly have your table next week. The coffee’s on me, though – ‘cause I’m just dying to hear how it all works out.’
‘Cheers,’ said Brian, as he walked out the door, feeling better than he’d felt in a long, long, time.