It was one of those houses which seemed to be squeezed into a smaller house thioug it was the same size.. There were three houses that if you could imagine it formed a cescent shape. And so this posh part of the town was referred to as the Crescent .Really only a seagull could've seen it like that. but thats where all the docrors lived so they would hardly call it Moth Lane or soemthing
But house was differebt .There was a long avenue leading form the street up to the front door but it was no longer than O Toole’s next door . I never liked the house . It spooked me in a way.It was the way every thing was so quite there , and even the squeaks of light came down through the trees kind of caught you in a glare . Trees shrouded the avenue ; trees we never climbed .
Frank was in a different form. that day ; like he was making a great passionate thing about something he had'nt told me about .He used to get into these pious moments to make up for the other things we were doing . Maybe it was because he well we both had raided the shop. His fathers shop .For me. maybe it was because I was caught trying to make that bomb in school and which i got away with lightly , i have to confess.
.Frank‘s father owned a big store in town , so didn’t feel too bad about it if we swiped a few hooks, some nylon, things like that . Maybe a few spinners , an odd spoon also.,. Anyway we needed them .I’m not sure but I think that’s why we were why I was there . Atonement .;The priest told me I would have to do acts of charity to get forgiveness for making the bomb. This was my go at it. I;m not sure its what he meant .I mean I had no money to be charitable . How can you be chaitable if youve got nothinh anyway ,So who knows?
The old woman was lying in the bed with arosary beads in her hands .. There was a book open on the quilt. .The Bible I suppose . A few wilting flowers. But no smell . She was snoring. Quietly . But snoring. Definately.
I thought we should’ve left it at that , taken our grace and penance and call it quits but Frank just went on
- Ahh aunty Lucy.
She kind of roused her herself like she was untangling knitting or some thing
- Frank !
- Aunty Lucy..
- What.. What do you want Francis - she sounded like an old seal , or maybe it was that she looked like one . Unfriendly. Anyway we didn’t want anything and it made me wonder again even more why we were there .Sometimes you would flog these people a few mackerel and get a few bob for just them seeing you . They might be happy to see you , but they gave you the stern idea that once a yeaar was enough. And we usually left it at that .
. But this old battle axe wasn’t one you could touch like that . The woman wasn’t out of that bed for about 20 years or so I was told. Since after the war or the great war or sometime in history.
- Lovely day !! ..- Frank went on. And I knew it was a weak start.
-Francis ! - she always called him Francis . She was looking at him through her veil of cobwebs.
- How are you ..- the old cow shut him quick.
Francis .. I was sleeping …!
It was getting worse . If there was a taste to her wods i would say ther were like acid...sulphuric
She dragged herself up in the bed and she reminded me of that stiff way old people look getting out of a car after a long journeyth that no one asked them to take anyway. And she hadn’t moved from that spot like I say for ..since before the war or even before that and before that .. what was there ? The dianosaurs ?
-Isn’t it a a lovely day- Frank went on .
- Indeed .. Francis ..what.on earth...
-Oh it’s just a lovely day out side ..
But he just went on like she wasn’t the strangled cripple she was in the bed
But I let it go.
- Why don’t I wheel you out to the front.
I was thinking about the steps and with her the old scowl the woman had made me thing even worse. Much worse
- I Francis. stop this idiocy this instant !! - the feeble corpse sure could roar ..
- Is auntie Doddo down stairs ?- the woman was lying back like one of those statues you see of martyrs with blood dripping and an arrow through her heart .
Do Do !! Do Do!..... !!
There was a clutter and a rumble and a tapping as her sister , the other aunt came up.
And then she started
-Francis .. !! You should’ve known better - Francis I’m susprised at even you.. don’t you realize that Aunt Lucy needs her rest.. Francis .. Francis !
And now she turned on me
- and you . - She looked at me as if I’d robbed the poor box ., or the wine from the cruets . But it was it a pathetic voice ;like the voice of the dying swan that hurt , It was like it was from a different person
- You Donnie - I thought you’d know better .. What age are you.. No sense. No sense..
- Francis .. Take your friend and leave the room .. Please .. Instantly .
And she went on about us having no consideration and things like that. No thought for the sick and did we have any consideration at all for the elderly and all that .
I was a little older than Frank .and maybe I should’ve known better
We went back down the track to the road and I have to say I thought the whole place had an awful sickness about it .
-Sometimes Frank got it right , but mostly he didn’t . I was no help . I’ll admit that now. Freely
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to put your mind in that place where a old person wants just to stay all the time .And she was old .Too old for my tears or any long sadness ..
It disappointed Frank but by the time we got to the end of that dark lane it was all well behind him.He had another plan . He would just bounce back like that . Like a catapult . . Frank was like that .
So we left old Lucy to her tremors and her shakes all her tangled knitting and her cobwebs and burst out onto the open street . Free again a. where the neighbors dogs barked and other gangs were waiting to pelt us with rotten apples .
That’d be why it must’ve been September.Yes it mutsve been because I had been watching the chestnut trees all that Summer looking for the biggest conkers in the high branches.
You always had to be looking forward.