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More Beautiful Than You
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More Beautiful Than You
A couple waiting on their daughter at a train station.
More Beautiful Than You
The peculiar old couple stood on the platform of the Nottingham-bound train. Their daughter was late. She worried for her husband. In this excited place his tantrums were brought on by noise, too many people and their hurried pace.
"Clive, Clive, "she gently tried to reassure, "Carol will be here soon. Just stay calm, wait and see."
A shambling figure looked back at her face, vague recognition in a despair-written gaze. Fragmented words had replaced the speeches that audiences used to embrace. Scrambled thoughts conjured sentences that only she could translate.
"Mouth, kiss, nice" He mumbled, pointing to his lips."
"Yes my love, something to eat very soon. Carol has made something nice."
"Mouth, kiss, nice," he repeated, desperate to be understood."
"Yes my darling, very soon." She softly stroked his forehead, " Very soon." He appeared to be soothed.
Hideous school children boarded the next train, shouting and staring. Tact had not been their lesson at school today.
"Excuse me, is your daddy alright?" asked a concerned little schoolgirl. This brought a smile of pain to Sarah Linwood's face. Her husband, mistaken for her father.Oh how the mighty had fallen from grace.
"Yes, darling, he's just tired. He's had long day." No need to explain to, or correct, this tiny innocent face, " You'd better hurry sweetheart, or you’ll miss your train."
"House, wheels, sand," he now gestured towards the train anxiously, startling the girl.
"Your daddy speaks in a very funny way," she replied, scuttling away and eyeing the husband with suspicion.
"House, river, sand," he called after her as she boarded her train, pained at seeing it pull away.
"No, not a caravan Clive. That's a train. We came here today on the train, remember?"
She would never give up trying to explain. Some days were good and he'd respond, but most days were black. She knew the darkest were yet to come. The caravan at St. Leonards- by-the- sea was the last time he'd smiled.
Carol appeared and the two women waved, walking quickly towards each other and clinging, holding in a long, loving embrace. One was a mother, the other the daughter but, for a moment, something in Clive triggered and both women were the same.
"Woman, mine, do," he snarled, clenching his fists." Woman, mine," he shouted accusingly. Onlooker's attention parked at this madman's tirade.
"Is Dad alright, Mum?" Carol reached and held his hand.
" I'm not sure. I've never seen him this upset. Sssh darling, we're going home in the car with Carol, for tea," she grabbed his arm, smiling maternally.
Two voices, two women, but identical. It confused him again. The two together brought back the time where he was provider and she was a slave.
"Game, win," he cried.
" That's how he speaks now Carol. Scattered words that mean nothing by themselves. I've got to be a code breaker sometimes."
" Dad, are you ok?" hands cupping his face, she looked caringly into his eyes but, angered by something, he pulled away.
"Game, win...I, "he groaned.
Mother and daughter, faces Etched with concern. Daughter looking for an answer in her mother's face.
"Don't ask me, love, your guess is as good as mine. I'm tired. Maybe it will come to me later. It sometimes takes a while."
"Yes, perhaps we better get going," they began to lead him away.
"How are the kids, Carol?" They walked, each holding an arm but, again not appeased, he broke away. He had to find a way to convey his message.
In the residue of a once- proud and chauvinist mind, his memory searched for words, the best he could find, like grasping for tiny jewels in sifting silts of black sand. The few that he found, he hoped his wife would understand. Gripping her shoulders, pulling her face to his, he screamed the whole truth in frustrated, white rage.
"I WAS... ONCE MORE... BEAUTIFUL.... THAN.......... YOU!" Then, broken, he stumbled (fallen), crying, into her chest. Both women were stunned and amazed, stricken, alone, in a desolate place. After a moment, a hopeful daughter asked.
"Mother, did Dad just say he loved you?"
Sarah pondered this, but a dreadful notion dominated her thoughts, while she caressed the neck of a husband who was now her eldest child.
"Darling, I'm not sure, I'm just not sure." Was this a jealous ire for her, or defiance at the disease that had ravaged his mind?
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