Rose Lane (The end, at last)
Posted: 15 March 2004
Word Count: 1267
Chapter Thirty One
Exactly six months and 15 days before his death, Brian Trinder, (Trindy to those who knew him well) saw a familiar face from his past.
"Brian! Brian is that you?" Richard Pugh , former tenor with the Rose Lane Musical Society and resident old woman thrust his great ruddy nose straight into Brian's face.
"It's Richard Pugh, how are you?"
"Oh , my God, Richard, of course haven't seen you in years."
"No, been living in New Zealand, and Adelaide before that but I'm back now, so lets grab a beer and catch up."
The two men each gave information useless to the other.
Brian told Richard how he'd resigned from his job at the passport office and embarked on a career as Cinema Manager in one of the big complexes, no, he didn't pursue a life in the theatre, lost interest really, besides he needed a proper job , something with security.
Richard told him his news how he'd met and fallen for a younger man, moved back to New Zealand with him, and they'd opened a restaurant and been very happy for many years, until that is, the young man met someone his own age and made Richard redundant.
"So ," said Richard over a drink and cigarette. "What ever became of Miranda Allerton?"
"Still alive, runs an alternative therapies clinic in Katoomba, loaded apparently."
Richard raised his eyebrows, "Still singing?"
"What about the husband?"
"Left her for his dental nurse. ."
"Some Thai woman who was working for him, they were very happy apparently, had a child I believe, a little girl, then he died and she went off with someone else, poor old Geoff, eh, silly sod."
"Oh dear, how very Anna and the King of Siam."
They ordered another round.
"What ever happened to that boy you were seeing, what was his name, the blonde, looked like thingimy, you know, the monster from The Rocky Horror Show, bloody gorgeous, Philip, that's it, how's Philip, you still together?"
Brian shook his head, "He went on the turn didn't he, ran off with a woman years back, never heard from him."
"Philip? A woman but he was as camp as sheets, no."
Richard cupped his face in both hands and formed an elongated O with his mouth.
"Who? Not that bird from the Jesus army you said he was supposed to be engaged to?"
"No , " said Brian, "I think it was Tara, remember, the girl with the Anais Nin obsession , very pretty, little black bob sometimes blonde, tiny thing."
Richard thought back, he usually only remembered people he liked or those he loathed, suddenly his eyes widened and he sat forward in his chair.
"Oh yes, Tara Medway - Browne, tut, tut, you do know that wasn't her real name don't you?"
"No, who told you that?"
Richard shrugged, a knowing smile balancing on his fat lips.
"She did of course."
As the waves butter-curled along the beach, Melanie scrunched the wet sand between her toes and took a deep salty breath.
"I often stand here and think about you, I say to myself, poor old Melanie missing all of this, stuck in that damp, miserable London, poor thing." Jean spoke while cleaning the grit off her sunglasses.
"It's gorgeous, you're right, sometimes you forget."
"Why don't you come home Melanie, just come back, you could have an exhibition in the gallery at Avoca, I'm sure you'd do well out here, everyone's sick of all those Koalas and Harbour Bridges Australian artists keep on doing, teatowel Art I call it, they want something a bit more cosmopolitan these days."
Jean looked down now, absentmindedly drawing a turtle in the sand with a stick.
"It's not that easy Jean, the boys need their father and they've lived their whole lives over there." Melanie tried to find excuses that Jean might just buy.
"Oh so what, they can adapt they're young and so are you, but...but what about me....
Jean hadn't meant to break down. She'd always been strong for Melanie, for her sister Pattie and her mean old mother, all of them, her married lover, his wife, all her little dogs, good old Jean. Now where were they when she needed them.
"Oh don't cry Jean, I'm so sorry."
But Jean brushed her away.
"No, no I'm fine, I'm sorry Melanie, I'm just tired that's all it is, tired and emotional. Those bloody tests and all that chemo took it out of me darling. I can't go through that again, I won't."
"But you won't have to, you're alright, you came through it."
"Yeah, I'm alright for now. That's why I want to move on, start again. I passed my computer studies course did I tell you, with distinction." Jean pulled her white linen trousers up to her knees and sat down on the sand.
"Really, fantastic, I didn't even know you were doing anything like that."
"I don't remember you ever mentioning that Cheryl girl, that Tara or whoever she said she was, she couldn't have made that much impact on you."
"I just didn't talk about her to anyone, she was my little secret I suppose."
"Mmm, pretty girl, bit tarty though I reckon. I bet your mother didn't approve of her, ooh she'd have hated her alright."
"She thought she was too old for me."
"So do you reckon the boyfriend did it or that Brian, he was a bit peculiar and I don't mean just gay." Jean continued her doodling as she sat, but now the turtle had wings and beginning to resemble a Pterodactyl.
"I don't know, I really don't, maybe someone else all together, maybe we'll never know."
"Yeah," Jean used her drawing stick to pull herself up off the sand. "You're not going to keep that silly handbag are you?"
Melanie's old teenage, white, shoulder bag swung on her arm. She shrugged.
"It's too small for a grown woman, looks ridiculous, got no room for anything in it, why don't you give it to that little girl next door to me, Marilee, she'd love it, it's all retro these days, go on, take it over."
"Right," clucked Jean, "let's go home, we'll have lunch on the back veranda, there's a chicken in the fridge or we can have sandwiches or salad."
"Have you got any avocado?" asked Melanie.
"Yes I have, Beryl gave me one, said she had too many, funny that, what's too many?"
They ambled back home, passing a sign for a lost cat, a white diagonal stripe was pasted across the notice bearing the black letters, FOUND. Off they went, Bobby straining on his lead and criss crossing through his mistresses legs as though she were a human May pole - what a sight. They walked on, Jean trying to balance and Melanie smacking her lips in anticipation of avocado on toast with pepper and lemon. Melanie and her aunt Jean could enjoy several hours alone together sorting out the spare room before Matthew and the boys arrived from England and then perhaps she'd know whether or not they could ever really be...... a proper family. Ping!
Brian left the society today. I can't believe it, I mean I know he's gay but I felt so close to him, not a crush, well sort of, if that's possible. . I really liked him, he was so different , frightening but so special. I don't think I'll do any more musicals. I just can't imagine the place without him.
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