“Doing Relationships” by David Mathews

‘I’ll leave your eggs by the gate, love, a’right?’ 

She was passing anyway, on her way home, so no need for me to traipse back to the shop. I had taken the sugar, flour, butter and tea, but left the eggs by the till, a dozen. 

A half-hour later Annie had found a spot on the hedge for the egg boxes, and, on the gatepost, left a pot of jam. She cycled off as I came to the door, but waved. 

Home-made raspberry, Peter’s favourite. With it, a letter. 

I have become wary of letters, and this morning’s post had brought a batch of the usual expressions from people who did not know what to say, who tried so hard to say the expected thing, but in the end said nothing that they truly thought or felt. I waited to read Annie’s until I had made the Victoria sponge. I almost cut two slices, but stopped myself in time. I had the PG tips in one of Peter’s Minton cups.

Dear Gareth. When you forgot the eggs this morning I cried and Dewi asked me what was the matter and I said that Peter always forgot something and now youve gone and done that and it made me cry. And he said nothing wrong with that and had I told you how I felt and I said no and he said I should. So Im doing that. Villages are funny places God knows and when you and Peter came here 20 years ago like they said at the funeral though I cant believe its that long –  anyway back then you used to get nasty comments and mothers would pull their children away and some blokes in the pub would turn their backs. But half them buggers are divorced now and one woman killed her husband and good riddance if you ask me the vicious sod. And everyone knows the Vicar’s marriage is a car crash but it took a real car crash to separate you and Peter. I was taking our Anwen to school yesterday when we ran into that Mrs Griffiths who thinks she runs everything and she patted Anwen on the head and asked what they were doing at school and Anwen said they were doing relationships. And you know how Mrs Griffiths interrogates people and thinks thats conversation. Well she asked Anwen to say what she thought was a good relationship and Anwen said like Mr Powell and Mr Smith and how sad it was that Mr Smith had been killed. Mrs Griffiths looked like she was sucking a lemon and I was so proud of Anwen. And I thought you should know and have some raspberry jam for your cake like you always made for Peter.

Anwen is doing you these kisses

X X X X X 

and they are from me too and Dewi 


PS We got an offer on those frozen Yorkshire puddings you like tomorrow

David Mathews was once a work psychologist, delving in other people’s trades, putting into words what it means to be a forensic psychotherapist, a receptionist, an archaeologist – anything you like. Now he writes short stories about human foolishness and heroics. On his blog (https://www.davidmathewsstories.com/) he occasionally passes on the political wisdom of his good friends Sidney and distinguished psychiatrist Sir Arthur Whatnot. Born in Wales, David lives in Bath.

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