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Weekly Writing Challenge: 21st Century Love is…Dangerous

Relationship Status Update

Relationship Status Update (Photo credit: joelaz)

I have had an ‘isn’t it ironic’ post floating around my head about how we first got together, how we talked about everything and anything…how we got to know each other inside out…how we talked about our pasts, honesty, trust! Anyone whom knows my situation will see the irony in that alone SO…apologies for the negativity (and rambling) but this weeks writing challenge seemed like the perfect place to do it.

21st Century love is instant. It’s fast, its varied, it’s easy… But it’s also dangerous. It feels safer pouring your heart out from a distance, being braver than you would in real life but it also feels that way for whomever you’re talking to; while hiding behind a screen can protect you physically, it doesn’t stop you getting hurt emotionally.

If I had written this 6 months ago I probably would have swooned about the night we met and how it definitely wasn’t love at first sight.

I’d have cringed at the memory of getting his name wrong within minutes of him telling me what it was and how we parted ways thinking nothing more pf each other. I would have smiled thinking about how we got talking a day or so later; about how we fell in love with each others personalities before anything else – because we had spent an entire month talking for hours every day (and every night and every chance we could in between) before eventually meeting face to face again.

I would have reminisced about how we really got to know each other inside out during those talks and how great it felt to have someone who liked me for me… Rather than what they could get from me physically. How we would stay up till silly hours just talking on the phone about anything until our ears were hot. How my heart skipped a beat each time my phone vibrated with a new message from him and how I would look my best from the waist up for our video calls but would often get busted when the camera tipped to reveal my pyjama bottoms and fluffy slippers…but it didn’t matter to him.

I would have marvelled at the fact that I felt like I knew everything there was to know about him because all outside factors were removed, no date nights, no low cut tops… Just me and him talking about our lives- past and present, our wants for the future, our fears and secrets.

I would have raved about the power of the Internet -in particular Facebook chat which then progressed to Skype– and how it managed to connect 2 people (whom were a mere 77miles apart) in more ways than just the literal sense. It allowed us to be together, to talk, to hear…to see each other despite the physical distance. It provided comfort, excitement…But overall it produced love.

BUT

This isn’t 6 months ago… And now I know what those fond memories of mine really are… I know the truth behind the story of how “we” came to be. I know that all of those heart to hearts, all of those deep and meaningfuls… all of that “connecting”  was just an act. It was pretend, a virtual reality… perfect on screen but not much good in practice.

It was done for my benefit as well as his own with no intention to be malicious…but it still hurt in the long run and it was executed brilliantly. I mean acting and lying over a text is so much easier than face to face isn’t it? Which is the ironic thing in this…because I would store those texts, those emails, that chat thread. I would cherish them, I would re-read them if ever we couldn’t get time to talk to each other. I would use them to comfort me when I had a bad day, to encourage me when doubtful of the path ahead… To make me smile when I had nothing else to smile about. They were my modern day love letters – sent and received within seconds AND saving paper 😉 The written text felt so much stronger than just hearing it, more solid… So real!

But they weren’t, none of them were. They were just words formed in a way that he thought would have the greatest impact. Copied from past conversations, heard from TV shows, mimicked for years. Just words from someone who was hiding behind a screen. Like a firewall or an antivirus protecting himself; Testing it’s perimeter and managing to block out any threats… Until one slips through and the whole system fails. Well fuck the system, I’ve slipped through and I’m not going anywhere. I’ve thought about how easy it would be to just hit ‘delete’ on all of those cherished ‘love notes’, the ohotos of us… but I can’t. I don’t want to, it would take seconds to delete them all but I’m sure I would regret it just as quickly. I don’t want to delete parts of our past…even if they weren’t real for him…they were and are real for me.

21st century love is being able to store virtual  memories on an external hard drive, deleting the rubbish and rebooting the system so that when the day comes for you to look back at them- they are safe, protected and unharmed. A perfectly edited version of you…of your past…just the way you want to remember them.

xBx

 

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Writing Challenge: Papa Says -About Me

BethAt uni we were asked to compose a few paragraphs and then edit it down to make a few sentences which then became our personal statement, well this weeks writing challenge is all about reducing needless text when writing so all of that came flooding back. It suggested taking an old post and heavily editing one paragraph to see what you are left with; so…I went as old as I could…back to the start…my about me page https://comfortablynumb7.wordpress.com/about/

Original:

‘So this is my blog, firstly explaining the back story (which by the way I have done in separate posts, as trying to condense over a years worth of stuff into one was never going to happen…so for part 1 click here) and how these revelations came to light, but mainly as a place for me to express myself, a place to grieve the loss of our past, to document the trials we are sure to go through and to hopefully discover that we aren’t alone in this.’

TaaDaa:

 ‘I blog to grieve our past, express our present and discover our future’

I think that pretty much says it all don’t you? 😉

xBx

 
 

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Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis: Old faithful

In response to this weeks weekly writing challenge – posted here

Thunder of Bangkhuntian

Thunder of Bangkhuntian (Photo credit: Nickplus)

A crash of thunder shocked me back to life and I slowly lifted my head off the ground, fighting the weight of my cold wet hair. Oh no not again! Where am I this time?? I thought. Why is it that a blazing row always happens to fall the same night as a full moon? Does my change in mood go hand in hand with my physical transformation? I should have checked the bloody calendar before speaking my mind and storming out into an equally stormy night.

Legs trembling beneath me i struggled to my feet, shaking the excess water from my coat in some last ditch attempt to dry myself before embarking on the journey home. The cool, damp ground squelched as i padded home, soothing my bare, aching feet; my mind wandering with every step…how long had I been gone for? How far had I travelled…? How will I get back into the house…if i ever find it that is.

Instinct told me to go left…I trusted it to lead me home and I was right to do so; I recognised the area, my heart began racing with excitement and before I knew it my legs were doing the same. Pounding the ground hard and fast, determined not to waste any more time away from him tonight; desperate to get home to him and reconcile.

Panting heavily i reached the door to our home ‘Baby!?’ I yelled, my voice low and gruff….’baby its me open up…you there?’ I cried out but no one came, crumpling I curled into a ball on the doorstep and whimpered. ‘Bethy?‘ he called, swinging the door open and peering out into the darkness around me. I saw his face, streaked with the pain from our heated words earlier that night and I witnessed the glimmer of hope in finding me back home vanish. I could see the twinge of pain and disappointment hit him in his gut as he hung his head; eyes closed. My heart ached and I reached towards him, desperate to comfort him and tell him we would be OK. His eyes opened, wider still when he saw me at his feet.

Bending down he cautiously offered his hand, ‘Hey girl’ he soothed; ‘What are you doing out here?’ I placed my chin in his hand, letting him know it was ok, I wouldn’t harm him. Nuzzling my cheek against the warmth of his palm I closed my eyes, drinking in the moment, happy to be back home. He sat with me on the doorstep, me leaning into his thighs and him stroking my hair. For a long while we stayed silent, just thinking, just existing together. I wanted to tell him how sorry I was for the words I said, for leaving on such bad terms… I wanted to explain that I couldn’t stay with someone who wasn’t prepared to let me in…to love me. To tell him that I needed to be loved, I deserved to be loved…but that regardless of his feelings for me I would always love him, wherever I ended up.

‘I messed up girl’ he said softly, twiddling the lengths of hair and stroking the side of my neck ‘she’s gone because I messed up…I AM messed up; I have hurt her, she thinks I don’t love her…I told her I didn’t know if I COULD love her…if I could ever love anyone…ever feel anything…’ he dropped his head into his hands. ‘I don’t deserve her…I’m a monster…I don’t deserve to live….’

‘Don’t you dare say that!’ I growled, moving to my feet and baring my teeth. I backed away, my blood pumping, pulse racing ‘Don’t you DARE!’ I barked. ‘Its true’ he said, ignoring my sudden rage ‘She deserves so much more than what I can give her, I’ve fucked everything up my whole life…I’m nothing…I’m worthless…what’s the point…?’

‘NO!’ I lunged at him, digging into the sleeve of his sweater. ‘Whoaaa’ he jumped up, tearing the sleeve in the process. ‘Ok Ok I’ll stop…I’m sorry…jeez! Beth would have done exactly the same if she heard me talking like that’ he smiled to himself at the thought. ‘But come on’ he continued, returning to his seat ‘how could I NOT love her? She completes me, she brings out the best in me…she’s the only one that makes me happy…as happy as I CAN be anyway. I cant imagine being without her, I don’t WANT to be without her.’ I sat down beside him once more, willing him to keep going; he did ‘I mean I miss her the minute she’s out of my arms; my gut hurts when we are apart…that has to be love…doesn’t it?’

He sighed and shook his head, gripping me harder in an effort to pacify himself as I leaned closer into him to do the same. ‘I’m just shit with this stuff, I wish I could just say how I feel…tell her my thoughts…tell her everything…But I’ve never let anyone in before…I don’t know HOW to. I’m scared she would reject me if I told her everything, I’m scared I would lose the love she has for me…so I do the only thing I know how and push HER away to protect myself; to avoid having to hear her confirm my fears. But…she’s worth it, I want to let HER in…I’m trying…’ his voice cracked ‘but its too late; she’s gone.’

Mans Best Friend

Mans Best Friend (Photo credit: superstrikertwo)

Stunned I watched the tears fall down his cheeks, tearing down the mask he was so used to hiding behind, he’s genuine…he’s…crying! I stood up still looking at him, my feet padding on the ground in enthusiasm, the sound of my nails scratching as i moved. My backside wiggled uncontrollably swinging my heavy blonde tail from side to side as my heart leapt in my chest. I gently placed my paws on his folded arms and brushed the tip of my cold, wet nose against his temple. He lifted his head and looked at me, his green eyes red rimmed. ‘Sorry girl, i didn’t mean to bring you down, I’ve learnt a hard lesson tonight…’

I couldn’t help it, I dragged my tongue across his cheek; ‘Eewwww!’ he laughed ‘What was THAT for??’ My way of telling you its ok, I thought. ‘I’ll be back’ I barked at him and with that I sprinted back to where I had transformed into the faithful golden Labrador that my husband had just bared his soul to; Preparing to change back to my true form and return to listen to him tell me all over again.

xBx

 
 

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Writing Challenge: Through the door – Would you?

BEHIND WHICH DOOR,

BEHIND WHICH DOOR, (Photo credit: marc falardeau)

I’m surprised by he lack of familiar squeak from the hinges as I push open my door….he must have finally fixed that…what’s he after? I wonder. Stepping inside I drop my bag onto the bottom step and toss the car keys onto the counter before leafing through the post…*sigh* STILL writing to me with my maiden name? When will these companies accept the fact that I’m married? Wait…3 letters…all using my maiden name? that’s strange…

Carrying them into the living room I stop in my tracks as I realise I’m not alone. Frozen to the spot all I can do is silently watch a girl, about my age, sitting in my house.

She doesn’t notice me as she sits by the window scrolling through messages on her phone. She looks anxious, fiddling with her earlobe and running her hands through her messy ponytail; twisting the longest strands of thick brunette hair between her fingers. Her feet are tucked tightly beneath her and her toes are gently curling, stroking her other foot, soothing herself.

My heart aches as I watch her, I recognise all the signs, I’ve felt this way before; she’s lovesick, she’s hurting, she’s confused and there’s nothing I can do to make it any better. She just needs to ride it out, I’ve been there before…I don’t envy her.

She takes a deep breath, a sigh, as she lifts her hands to her mouth and shakes her head slowly, squeezing her eyes shut tight, allowing the heavy tears to fall. She’s thinking deeply, filled with angst; …and then she looks at me and my heart stops…It’s me…the girl, she’s me…but …how?

Slowly she stands, her red rimmed eyes fixed on me as she begins to walk towards me, raising her arms. I compose myself and start to move but I then realise she wasn’t looking at me…she was looking straight through me. I follow her gaze to a photograph on the shelf behind where I had been standing. Lifting it carefully she brings it closer, running a finger over the glass, stroking his face.

I find myself wondering why she chose that photo, why an old one? And how did it get there? I thought I had put that in an album after we got married…My train of thought is interrupted as I notice she isn’t wearing her wedding ring. Instantly my eyes dart around the room; checking for evidence of our wedding… The photos aren’t anywhere to be found, the bottle of champagne is gone…the bookshelf is looking empty…what’s happened? Has he gone?

Cradling the photo of us she slumps back into her seat and curls herself around it; My eyes sting as the memory of this day overwhelms me. I remember it, I remember the pain; thinking of what life would be like once he went home. Trying to understand how something so amazing, something…someone who made me so happy for the first time in my life would fit into my past when we both wanted it to be forever.  This was the day that it dawned on me that he would be leaving and life as we knew it would never be the same again.

I couldn’t have gone with him, I couldn’t have uprooted and followed him halfway around the world and we couldn’t have stayed together whilst living apart, it would have killed me. This was the day I decided that if he left, if he went home…we wouldn’t be able to stay in touch – at least for a while- because it would be too painful. THIS was the day that I cried to him, that I poured my heart out knowing that we had to say goodbye. The day that my heart broke and I heard his break too when I told him.

English: Two left hands forming an outline of ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My heart raced as the emotions rushed back, I knew how it felt to be her at that moment, I had lived it  just over a year ago…and I knew what happened next. I knew she would call him, I knew they would discuss it for hours, talking round and round in circles, thinking of ways to stay together…to avoid the heartbreak…to make it work; I knew he would suggest marriage…I knew she would say yes.

But I also knew more than that, like that she would live a lie for the next year; that he was lying to her right now, that she didn’t REALLY know him and he didn’t REALLY love her. That she would have one of the best years of her life, she would be happier than ever but still she would be back here soon, heartbroken and stroking the face of her husband in an old photograph. My stomach twisted and my head spun…Was it worth it? If I could go back in time would I do things differently would I? Would I walk away?

With tears streaming down my face I sat beside her, stroking her hair, comforting her while we both felt the agony of our dilemmas; I kissed her forehead, whispered in her ear and with that she sighed…and dialled his number.

xBx

Written as part of this weeks writing challenge…click here for the original post xB

 

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DpChallenge: Manner of speaking: He says tom(A)to, I say tom(AR)to

You say tomato, I say tomatoe

You say tomato, I say tomatoe (Photo credit: dynet)

Being British and married to an American it’s not unusual for us to debate language… In particular the pronunciation of certain words…or just ‘anything with an ‘A’’ as my husband often says.
He says Ass, I say ARse
He says pAss, I say pARss
He says lAst, I say lARst

One that always makes me l(AR)ugh is the way he says hOrrible. He says whore-able so I always make fun of him for that one; I say patronise while he says pate-ronise -like patriot which he always uses as his argument for being right on that one. (I realise from the examples I’ve used it seems like we don’t say many NICE things to each other lol but that’s not the case)

We have fun with it, its not unusual for him to pick up on a word or phrase I’ve said in my accent…and then mimic it…in the worst cockney accent EVER. In fact, when we first met he would frequently say the words ‘guvnor’ and ‘me lord’ in THAT cockney voice – terrible. I mean WHO – apart from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins- sounds like that?? To get him back I’ll do my best American accent and reply with ‘totally aweeesuuuummm’ or (my favourite) ‘don’t you thiiiink, this is kiiiiiiinnd or ridiculouuuus?’ However my American accent sounds like a reeeally camp Lloyd Grossman (Google him) …the total opposite of my husbands deep Mississippi twang.

Aside from pronunciation and accents…(Not to mention the spelling…but don’t get me started on spelling!!) there’s also the complete replacement of certain words. Pants instead of trousers, trash or garbage instead of rubbishcart instead of trolley…At first it was amusing, endearing and a novelty but after a while you adapt, it merges and it becomes part of your own language. I will often purposely say the american version i.e. are your ‘pants’ (meaning jeans) clean or dirty? -If only to make life easier and to avoid having to clarify which word I mean every time I say something but the whole ‘as in pants pants? or underwear pants?’ conversation still happens because he assumes I’m going to be stubborn and stick to ‘my’ words. *sigh* I may as well say it MY way every time.

Fanny Pack!

Fanny Pack! (Photo credit: jrambow)

There are a few things I flat out refuse to say and vow I will never convert to. I will NEVER call crisps… ‘chips’ (thankfully I don’t eat them often enough to ever warrant me having to ask for them in public) I will NEVER call my bum my ‘fanny’ (eurgh) and I will NEVER call jam ‘jelly’…he feels the same about saying some of ‘his words’ my way…and neither of us call cigarettes ‘fags’ so I think that’s a fair compromise.

I do often forget that he’s American and I’m not…or that I’m British and he’s not… because hearing it everyday becomes the norm. Its only when we confuse each other with alien vocabulary or one of his American friends asks me to say a certain word in ‘my accent’ *rolls eyes* that I’m reminded of the difference…I’m sure one day my accent will fuse into the British/American slur that I have managed to avoid so far and those friends will stop asking…so for now I’m embracing our differences and MY British words in MY British accent…

More tea me-lord?

xBx

 

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Writing Challenge: Mind the gap: The blame game

Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world?

comfortably numb

comfortably numb (Photo credit: Will Lion)

If you’re going to blame violence in films or on TV then we may as well jump in and point the finger at the parents while we are at it… I mean these kids are obviously being allowed to watch it by these irresponsible parents so lets blame them… Right? Wrong! Kids will get hold of things if they want them badly enough, I also believe that sheltering them from violence is just as damaging as exposing them to it (on screen) because – as much as we don’t like to admit it- this shit happens in the real world; just watch the news! – or are we blaming reports of world events for messing us up too? Sometimes it’s best to have an idea of what really goes on in the world – even if only to prepare or protect yourself,

I recently read a book about the cases of Fred and Rose West -My husband read it first and I followed suit. He was more disturbed by it than I was and was surprised that I could read it to the end. Why is that? Is it because I’m a monster whom has some sick need to read all the gruesome details for myself? No. Is it because I’ve been subjected to too many horror films or violent films and am now desensitised to this kind of thing? No. Or is it because I’ve got the mindset to be able to differentiate between right and wrong? Because I’ve seen this kind of stuff in films and read about it in newspapers; because I vaguely remember it being shown on the news when it all happened so I kind of had forewarning of what I was about to read whilst my husband went into it without any idea of what to expect.

Blame

Blame (Photo credit: !anaughty!)

Fred and Rose West were both sexually abused as kids, in fact for them it was so “normal” that even in adult life Fred would often have threesomes with his wife and her own father. In turn they sexually abused their children too – along with numerous women whom were then tortured and killed – usually simultaneously. So in this case – if we are playing the blame game- isn’t it their parents fault for starting the “trend”? For making something as horrific as sexual abuse seem “ok” ? Their parents fault, their grandparents… Their great grandparents… ? Someone must have started It… Someone has to be to blame… Right? Why?

How did that pattern start? Was it thanks to someone higher in their family tree watching too many abusive films and thinking it looked like a great idea…probably not. What about the murders? Their parents (obviously) didn’t do that to them so where does that come from? Maybe these abusive parents let them watch murder films… Just like the parents of Jack the Ripper or Lizzie Borden did…Yeah I bet that’s it(!)

Like most children in the 80s I grew up surrounded by cartoons, I watched the coyote repeatedly plant acme bombs and hoist pianos to catch – and ultimately obliterate- the roadrunner to end some long standing vendetta…(or just so he could eat him…maybe I missed the point) but regardless I never considered doing the same (attempted murder) when someone screwed me over…In fact it taught quite the opposite, revenge is draining, it’s more effort than its worth and it doesn’t always make things better. If the coyote had been successful once I think the world would have been disgusted but even then… It’s a cartoon… it was entertaining… It wasn’t real and it isn’t morally right.

express delivery(07-05-15)

express delivery(07-05-15) (Photo credit: jijis)

I watched numerous characters wolf their dinner down in one gulp … Yet I take my time with my meals and I’m not overweight; I watched Tom and Jerry Hit each other with over sized frying pans… Yet I’ve  only ever used one used to cook with. I witnessed happy ending after happy ending in every Disney film out there… We read about Romeo and Juliet at school- and then watched it repeatedly but I didn’t go out and drink poison when my boyfriend left. Yes I could relate to the feeling of sheer desperation and heartbreak but ultimately that film taught me that Leonardo Dicaprio looks like even more of a girl when he cries, arranged marriages aren’t that great and that their version of the royal mail express delivery service is just as unreliable as the one we have today… Shoot the messenger if you will.

I think my childhood viewing/reading/exposure was pretty standard to be honest and I turned out alright…despite the sex, violence, drug abuse and sickly sweet happy endings i witnessed time after time (in films etc) One of my Favourite films growing up was Leon… (a very adult film for a pre teen) But I’m not a hit man OR hanging out with a man 4 times my age… (to be fair he would be dead by now if he were that old.) I played Mario kart and GTA Yet I don’t drive around like a mad woman -ok maybe I do but I’m certainly not picking up hookers, shagging them and then killing them to get my money back despite doing it every time I played…and why not? Because we grow up, the majority of us differentiate between reality and fiction or fantasy. Our parents, our friends, the characters we see on screen tell us right and wrong, they teach us morals…amongst other things. We grow, we learn and we live well rounded lives.

But there are those who don’t.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty (Photo credit: FireFish45)

Did that wife watch one too many horror films before stabbing her physically abusive husband to death? Did that kid play too much Call of Duty before shooting a classmate who bullied him relentlessly day after day? Did that girl watch Romeo and Juliet repeatedly before taking her life after a bad break up? Possibly, but its more likely that other things forced them to snap.

Humans have varying degrees of imagination, we interpret things differently and we make what we will of things; We also have different degrees of sanity, logic…morals or basic common sense…yes I suppose it is plausible for someone to take inspiration from a horror movie; just like its possible to be inspired by a love story… but I also feel that placing blame on someone or something is societies way of living in denial; of finding a reason behind bad things that happen…because it makes us feel better to ‘understand’ it.

Like it or not, many violent films are the result of real life happenings -or at least ‘inspired’ by them…perhaps thats the way we should be looking at it…does real life violence inspire violent movies? Of course it does! Its possible for it to work both ways but for someone to take that negative ‘inspiration’ from a violent film and put it into practice…to hurt another human… the chances are that there is a lot more going on with that person in the first place, a lot more to their story that we dont and probably wont ever fully understand…crazy people will always find something to ‘inspire’ them.

xBx

*Its been a long first half of the week so apologies if this is all over the place*

 
 

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Person, Place, Thing

 

Café

Café (Photo credit: leandro_marco)

Parking outside the dilapidated building  in the middle of nowhere I was a little apprehensive; but the thought of anything warm to eat and a well needed toilet break managed to override my worries. A tacky red and white sign shrieked as the wind aggressively battered it against the wall. Once inside the combination of heavy, dated curtains; mismatched seats and 70s kaleidoscopic carpet instantly told me what kind of experience I was about to have. On my table, bunches of sticky menus were stuffed into their wooden holders; threatening to topple over from the excess weight. A metal cutlery pot held an odd number of utensils -and half an old crayon- and the staff, well they looked like the combined spawn of the entire cast of the League of Gentlemen.

From the surprised expressions and the sudden buzz of activity, I could tell they didn’t get many new customers, in fact, considering the location I assumed they didn’t have much regular custom at all. But the sight of an elderly woman seated alone by the window proved me wrong. Her hair was white and wispy, like a delicate puff of smoke; the delicate frame of her glasses rested on the tip of her tiny nose and her clouded green eyes seemed to hold cherished memories of the years that had had passed. With her crêpe hands planted firmly on the table she slowly eased herself up, trembling as she rose. Once steadied she huffed to herself in relief before curving her thin lips into a triumphant smile. She edged out awkwardly from her seat revealing her brown pleated skirt, secured just under her bust and a pair of thick tan tights which were beginning to bunch at the ankles. As she passed me she gave a nod to a member of staff who rushed to open the door for her, they loudly wished her well and with that she was gone.

Mildly refreshed I tucked a crisp note under my saucer, grabbed the strap of my bag and gulped down the last dregs of coffee; I was about to leave when something caught my eye. Bunched on the floor beneath the elderly woman’s seat was her thick knitted cardigan. I picked it up, releasing a cloud of grandma-esque perfume and the oversized plastic buttons clacked against each other as I fumbled to hold it the right way up. It was heavier than I had expected and I wondered how her frail frame didn’t crack under the weight. Noting the lack of staff I draped it over the back of her chair and headed for the door.

 
 

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