Thursday, 26 October 2017

Pride

Roger Noons


a large glass of Chianti


“Oh my God!”
    Edward heard his wife’s voice even though he was in the bathroom using his electric razor.
    “Ed, quickly, come and see this.”
    Assuming the latest terrorist disaster was being relayed on television; he switched off the Philishave and stepped into the bedroom. Frowning, he muttered, “It looks like a Gay Pride demo.”
    “It is,” Vanessa said, “From Rome. But look at that woman there,” she pointed.
    He renewed his expression. “She looks like—”
    “It’s your mother!”
    “Mum?” he stared. “I don’t think so, she’s on a SAGA holiday in Tuscany, up in the mountains—”
    “It’s not that far from Florence to the capital.”
    At the moment that Edward moved closer to the set, the cameraman chose to zoom in on the grey-haired woman, which confirmed that it was Amanda Terry. She was wearing a shimmering, pink tee shirt with LOVE in silver letters across the front. As he watched, his mother winked at the camera, turned and began to kiss a younger female on her right. Ed’s mouth opened as he saw, not a peck on a cheek, but a full on, mouth to mouth smacker.
    “Disgusting,” his wife spluttered. “She ought to be ashamed of—”
    Edward burst out laughing.

Neither of them spoke again until an hour later. Having finished eating, they were sitting with their cups of coffee on the terrace of the Hotel Marina. Each had lit a cigarette, which was permitted mainly because the owner/manager was a Camel aficionado.
    “You will have to speak to her, Ed.”
    “Why?”
    “Why? Because God knows who was watching that programme, all our—”
    “Nessa, we are in Majorca. It was Euronews at eight thirty in the morning, that’s seven thirty in the UK. I don’t even know if that programme is shown back home and besides—”
    “Someone we know is bound to have seen it, lots of our acquaintances are on holiday, all over the Continent … and that passionate kiss, in close up.”
    Ed stubbed out his cigarette. “My mother is sixty three years old, she’s a widow. She can do whatever she likes, it’s nothing to do with us … or anyone else for that matter.”
    She put out her cigarette and immediately shook another from the pack. Reaching for the lighter, she added, “But what will people think?”
    “They will think there is a woman who is free of responsibilities and can think and act just as she pleases.”
    “God, what if Jack saw the programme?”
    “He’s with his mates in Paris, waiting to see England play in the semi final. The last thing he’ll be doing at eight thirty in a morning is watching TV.” After glancing at his watch, he added. “I doubt he’ll be awake for another couple of hours yet, so will you please leave it and let‘s enjoy our holiday.”
    Vanessa sulked until just after one o’ clock, when she’d finished her second G & T.

*

“You have to admit Jack, that you didn’t expect them to get that far?”
    “I know Dad, but when they did … well, you hope that perhaps—”
    “Are you two still talking about football?” Vanessa said, as she walked into the kitchen. Ed winked to his son.
    “Morning Mum, er can I borrow the Mini, please?”
    “I’ll need it this afternoon.”
    “Don’t worry, I’m only going to see Gran, ask her about her holiday. Probably cut the lawn while I’m there.”
    Vanessa stared at her husband. “Your father wants to speak to you about your grandmother,” she announced and strode from the room. Both men’s eyes followed her.
    “What?” Jack looked towards his father.
    “While we were away, we watched a news programme. One of the items featured a Gay Pride March, in Rome. We saw Gran, she—”
    “She did go then! Great!”
    “You knew about it?”
    “Yeah, I got the details for Jenny and her, looked up the train times, arranged an hotel—”
    “Jack, why didn’t you … who’s Jenny?” Ed watched his son’s face flush.
    “Gran’s girlfriend, well partner, I guess.”
    “We … I didn’t know any of this.”
    “Gran thought it best we keep it to ourselves, she knew how Mum would react.” Watching his father shake his head, he added. “Why don’t you come with me? I’ll tip Gran off and you and she can talk while I mow the lawn.”
    “Okay,” Edward said meekly, wondering which of them was the most mature.

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