Tag Archives: wife

ROSIE BAUR, D.I. Chapter 4

21 Mar

4. THE WIFE

The front door opened at the second knock and Rosie Baur took the briefest of moments to assess the recently created widow as she stood there expectantly.

Miriam Buttery was in her mid fifties and held a duster in one hand. She smiled at the D.I and her D.S and merely glanced at the ID wallets they held open for her inspection.

“Come in,” she said, her voice uncontaminated by grief, her tones even and almost seductive.

I was never this calm the day after I lost Paul, thought Rosie Baur, I was all over the place… She let her mind slip back for the briefest of moments, two years to when her husband had been killed in what had subsequently proved to be no accident but a deliberate act of sabotage on equipment in what proved to be a dangerous sport. Then she shook herself, knowing people can be so diverse you should never compare their reactions, not even to grief. But she was troubled.

“We need to ask some questions,” she said, smiling sympathetically.

“I was busy…” muttered Miriam, indicating her duster, “can’t you come some other time?”

“The sooner we get started the more sure we are of catching whoever did this and turned you into a widow,” put in D.I Peter Jenson. “It’s a well known fact that time is of the essence, especially in murder.”

“Can’t it have been suicide?” almost whispered the widow, “he’d been a bit upset lately, things as work not going well, the council down-sizing the library and making one of his staff redundant…”

“We might have considered suicide,” grated Peter Jenson, “but we just don’t see how he could have walloped himself over the head with something really heavy leaving an instantly fatal wound and then gouged his own eyes out when he was dead.”

“I suppose…” wittered Miriam Buttery, sounding, but not looking, confused.

“I can see you’re upset, but we must get on,” insisted Rosie, and she pushed politely past the not-so grieving woman, “is this the way to the front room?”

Miriam yielded and nodded and they sat down in the tidiest front room Rosie had seen for some time. Everything was in its almost minimalist place, even the television remote control, which had a neat little pocket next to the set. It made her own home look like gale had whipped through it.

“You say he was unhappy?” asked Rosie. “Tell us more, please. Quite often the state of a person’s mind can tell us more than you’d think possible. Now then, this problem with his job?”

“There were rumours…” murmured Miriam, “what with the council having to tighten its purse strings… redundancies, you know.”

“Just rumours?” put in Detective Sergeant Jenson.

Miriam nodded. “He didn’t like rumours,” she said. “He thought that rumours could be destructive and self-fulfilling.”

Well, that’s gobbledegook when it comes to murder, thought Rosie.

“What about you and him?” asked the D.S. “Was your marriage all that a marriage is supposed to be? I mean, was he happy and fulfilled at home?”

“Of course he was!” almost snapped Miriam. “He always ate his meals, well-balanced from a healthy-eating guide, no chips, loads of fresh vegetables and salad. And he had a shower every day, keeping himself clean and healthy.”

“There’s more to happiness than a diet that you might not like,” suggested Jenson. “Did he like his healthy-eating regime?”

“Of course he did!” said an apparently outraged widow, “He had to! I told him to!”

“What about sleeping?” cut in Rosie, “did he have any problems with sleeping? Was he restless at night, wakeful, that sort of thing?”

Miriam frowned. “How do you expect me to know that?” she asked, “I always slept very well, and still do. He snored a lot so I made him sleep in the spare room. He liked it in there. It was his little den where he could read his perverted books and do whatever he liked, and I’ve got an inkling that he liked it too often!”

“Do what, Mrs Buttery?” asked Rosie, guessing but wanting a woman she found irresistibly unpleasant to put it into words.

“You know. You must do. What men do. Or don’t your sort do it?” she asked Rosie with chillingly cold eyes.

“What do you mean, my sort?” Is this racism creeping into her words? Is this woman any more than a creature grieving in her own xenophobic way? Does she make important judgements based on such irrelevancies as race and colour?

“You know. Brown.” almost spat the corpse’s wife. “It’s the reason I vote UKIP. To get rid of all the … foreigners.”

“We’d better see his room, then,” put in the D.S. This was a situation that needed defusing before it exploded and fortunately he managed to do it.

“Up the stairs, then,” said Miriam, aware that in some way she might have overstepped the mark and equally sure she must put it right before it rebounded on her. But she was a racist through and through, she knew it and could see nothing wrong with it and before the day was out she would complain to someone up high in the police force about this brown woman. Or maybe not. It all depended on … she wasn’t sure what.

“Was your sex life all it should be?” asked Peter as they paused on the landing.

“Sex life? What need did we have of one of those?” she asked, eyes open wide. “The children have grown up and flown the nest and we never planned to have any more, so what use would a dirty sex life have been?”

Rosie caught Peter’s eye, and he smiled imperceptibly. Sometimes sex can be the answer no matter what the question is. Miriam coughed.

“This is his room,” she said.

Rosie nodded at Peter, and that nod, unseen by the woman who was pushing the door open, suggested he should take over the questioning for a while. And he saw the sense in that. There was no need to let unfounded prejudice, either racial or sexual, skew the truth in a murder investigation, but it should be borne in mind. After all, it might, just might, be relevant at the end of the day.

“I’ve not tidied it yet,” said Miriam, “he didn’t like me tidying it. He did what needed to be done himself, so you must excuse it and not blame me for being a dirty hussy!”

Rosie looked around. So it hadn’t been tidied? It might as well have been. Everything was in order, there were no dirty socks or underwear on the floor (Paul had been a devil for dropping things on the floor, it had been one of those things she had decided to put up with years ago), the open book that he had clearly been reading was Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and after a general look around she had to conclude that he’d probably been as tidy as his wife in every way bar one.

Under the bed was a part-empty whisky bottle and a small tumbler, both half-hidden under a spare pillow.

She examined it, and replaced it under Miriam’s shocked and scowling eyes.

“We don’t drink in this house,” she said flatly.

“I guess he needed something, though,” said Rosie, smiling.

TO BE CONTINUED…

© Peter Rogerson 25.02.17

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WAKING IN THE MORNING

16 Jul

WAKING IN THE MORNING

 Dorothy and a roll of Refreshers photo IMG_1774_zpscuqmfx9x.jpg

I fell through the hole in the Universe and landed, here, where I lie
Frightened the devil might spot me or his alter-ego cry,
And the nightfall around me is darkening and my visions grow dreaming and dim
Will I fly through a rainbow tomorrow, or even learn to swim?

Then I open my eyes in a moment, the sun is climbing high
And the river of hope flows sweetly across a light blue sky,
She breathes like an angel is breathing, and with each breath she dreams
That I’ll hold her closely to me, touched by some solar beams…

And suddenly she wakens and smiles like no other perfection smiled
And I take her hand in mine, my heart thrashing and hopeful and wild
For a know in that very instant the sense of perfect bliss
As our lips brush together a moment in the veriest perfect kiss…

© Peter Rogerson 16.07.15

THE TRIALS OF WOMEN

25 Jan

THE TRIALS OF WOMEN

 Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius photo PICT0026-1.jpgThe overpowering emotion I experience (being an old fart in his seventies) is an abiding and overpowering love for my wife. I would leap to her defence if anyone attacked her or even threatened her. She is very, very precious to me. That’s how I’ve felt since we first met over seven years ago and how I always want to feel.

As far as I am concerned the best I can ever hope to achieve is to be her equal, and that will be some accomplishment. And despite the infirmities that are brought on as the years past and I have admit I might be getting old, I find myself wanting to be closer than close to her, metaphorically and physically.

All this is a way of asking “how can men in a different culture be so different?”

I have watched women walking an unnatural distance behind their husbands because that’s what their culture says they must do, the men, being superior, always in front. I am aware that those husbands must have radically different feelings towards their wives than I have. The only way I’d let Dorothy walk behind me like that is if we were carrying a long plank of wood, sharing the load between us and with me at the front.

Appalling stories of the abuse of women – wives, that is – come from around the world. It is considered quite proper for a man to beat his wife and entire legal systems are constructed in order to cruelly limit the freedoms of the women unfortunate enough to be born into them.

And it’s not just in the East where some cultures say that women are inferior to men because they committed the original sin and we’ve all suffered because of it ever since, but closer to home where there are secure homes for battered wives.

How can this be? I’ve heard it argued that some women choose a husband who is dangerous and happy to live “on the edge”, and marry him from choice. They then put up with the excesses some dangerous men are capable of until fear for their lives makes them try to break away – and that’s not always possible. To some, mercifully only a few, the breaking away is postponed for too long, and they end up dead, and with their dying breath they may well tell of their love the man who’s killed them.

I don’t get it, but it does happen.

What is harder for me to understand is the way whole cultures behave that way to their women, and, like the dying lass mentioned above, the women say they like it that way. Maybe they do, possibly because they’ve had the lie, that there’s another life to come and the one they’re suffering is a painful preparation for Paradise, shoe-horned into their brains.

I’m pretty certain there isn’t any such place, though. I can see no evidence that we, on a small planet among billions of other small planets, have been “chosen” to have an eternity in some heaven somewhere. My understanding of the Universe has no place in it for a final destination as fanciful as that.

But if it’s fiction that re-enforces the perceived right for some men to bully those weaker than themselves then it’s about time that fiction was consigned to the scrapbook of history where other fancies fade away.

Women are usually too precious to hurt.

© Peter Rogerson 25.01.15

LOVE

31 Oct

LOVE

 Slopes of Vesuvius photo PICT0019aa-1.jpg

My wife and I on the road up Vesuvious a few years ago.

I’ve been thinking about love a little bit recently. It’s an odd subject for an old fart like me, I know, but it keeps imposing itself on my daily toil via the gift of a wife.
The thing is, love, like a hooked nose, grey eyes or webbed feet, is part of evolution’s constant struggle to improve the species by adapting it more neatly to its environment. Maybe the hooked nose fell by the wayside for quite a lot of us, and it could be that grey eyes had no particular survival merit and most certainly webbed feet are a rarity, but love, it seems is enduring and so powerful that, at the right moment, it can reduce a fully grown man to tears.
It can be quite amusing working out the pitfalls encountered by Mother Nature during the struggle for perfection that ended up with the birth of my wife. We all know our environment and how it hasn’t changed to any significant degree since a brave little hominid climbed out of a tree and strode purposefully along an African valley floor. But we’ve changed. We’ve adapted rather beautifully, so much so that if we try to live on any other planet or satellite in the solar system (or in the neighbourhood of any other sun, as far as we know) we’d find ourselves ill-adapted to enjoy life or even survive at all.
Of course, we need to ensure that there are future generations to follow on behind us, for without the future the present would be a pretty pointless affair. So we reproduce. We pair off and do the delightful deed as many times as we can until the female half of the pairing grows large and produces an angel. Then we nurture that infant for years and years until it’s an independent adult and can do the same itself.
That’s most likely where love comes into the story.
Evolution has produced an arrangement in which both male and female parents stick together. They wouldn’t necessarily have to: the female could naturally acquire a whole regiment of temporary partners and that would suffice for part of the parental task – one to nurture and another to provide, initially out in the forests with a spear and eventually in the office with a secretary. But the male, in those circumstances, would have little vested personal interest in the development of another man’s offspring.
Much better for the original parents to stick together. It doesn’t always work out, of course. There’s the sabre-toothed tiger waiting to take him out if he has a careless moment, and in an intelligent species like ours it’s possible that individuals might not always continue to see eye-to-eye about important things, like life, and eventually split up. But in the majority of cases the parents remain together, at least until the job’s done. And that’s where, I think, love comes into it.
It’s not just physical things that are cosseted by evolution. Mental things are as well, and we are all equipped with a weird and dominating instinct to as good as worship another human being. It must have started as a fleeting little affection and it grew as the more successful parents were also lovers until it became the mighty emotion that it is today. It certainly stops us wandering off and it persists, as far as I can tell, for the remainder of our days, even beyond the dependent stage of our children. It’s strong, powerful, batters us on a daily basis, can have a physical outlet – but not necessarily – and provides each day of our lives with a huge something extra. It contributed to family stability, and when the family’s gone it continues to exercise a benign power on our lives.
How, you might ask, do I know this?
Well, tomorrow is my wife and my wedding anniversary and although we’ve only been married for six years they’ve been six of the most splendid years a man could have. We both say we’d like to have met earlier in our lives, but we didn’t. And both of us being septuagenarians and almost sensible with it, we know this heaven of ours can’t last for ever.
We have been caught up in evolution’s promise for the future and that means there’s precious little that I wouldn’t do for her. You see, I really do love her. It’s overpowering. It’s mighty. It guides my every mood and almost dictates my thoughts.
Woof woof!
© Peter Rogerson 31.10.14