The Girl of his Dreams
Robert had seen the girl of his dreams several times. She worked in the public library and he knew she was a local girl because of her accent. A local lad himself, he was proud of knowing his way round town and so he decided to ask her out.
But shyness clamped his tongue to the roof of his mouth, like a car parked in the wrong place but now unable to release itself to the right place.
“Do…do…” he stammered and fled in confusion.
Thus thwarted, his love never developed beyond being a beautiful dream. Eventually the hope of what-might-be became no more than a wild memory of what-might-have-been.
Until the day she walked through the swing doors, her thick lustrous hair falling in waves round her face in exactly the way it always used to. Robert forgot the public library had been closed for some time due to lack of funding. He forgot the years of unrequited longing and spoke at last.
“Doreen,” he cried, full of love and joy. “I’ve been waiting so long for you and at last here you are!”
The girl looked at Robert with a mix of apprehension and pity. What she had heard was,
“Do-o ee, beno wa’er lolo hehe arr!”
Embarrassed, she appealed to the care assistant who was busy extricating the dodgy footrest of Robert’s wheelchair from the ball of knitting wool that had fallen off the lap of the wispy-haired elderly lady dozing by the window and unravelled itself all the way across the room.
“I’ve come to visit my granny, Doreen Dudley,” she said.
“That’s right, we were expecting you,” smiled the carer. “I’ll just tell her you’re here.” She tapped the elderly lady gently on the shoulder. “Wake up, Doreen,” she said, “your granddaughter’s here.”
“Do-o ee!” cried Robert. “Oo eer?”
Just then his kindly ex-neighbour came back into the sitting room. She had been enjoying a confidential chat with the manager of the nursing home about whether a course of speech therapy might help improve his speech which had become difficult to understand since his stroke the year before. She couldn’t help thinking it sounded as if his tongue was permanently clamped to the roof of his mouth.
“Is there anything you want me to bring you next time I come?” she asked brightly, as she always did to indicate the visit was over.
‘No, thank you, there’s nothing I need, unless you see some of those chocolate biscuits I like when you’re doing your shopping,’ was what Robert wanted to say. What he actually said was,
“Do-o ee, oo eer!”
Doreen blinked herself awake, saw her granddaughter carefully rewinding the ball of wool and thought again how much she resembled herself when young.
‘’Cep’ I was even prettier,’ she thought smugly.
“’Ave you brought me those choccy biccies I wanted?” she demanded. “Well, you give ’em ’ere then. I don’t want that old man in the wheelchair getting ’is ’ands on ’em.”
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