Thursday 3 October 2013

Lapsus Linguae - Marriage

Over at The Queen Creative this week's prompt speaks for itself. We are told:

Lapsus Linguae: A noun that refers to a 'slip of the tongue'. 

Here is a short story. Sometimes slips of the tongue are not unintentional.


Bernard and Cath sit on the park bench. Cath knits. It's still warm enough to do so. She thinks maybe in a couple of weeks she'll have to get Bernard to find their gloves and scarves, but for now her hands are warm and happy to be busy and in the fresh air. Bernard watches the ducks. Or, he pretends to be watching the ducks because he's really following an aerobics class on the other side of the pond: eighteen (he's counted) miniature ladies bouncing up and down. They are far enough away for him to not see their (probably disappointing, he thinks) faces while he can still appreciate the way their bodies move as they jump in all directions.

A jogger runs past and nods at Bernard. They see him most weeks. Well, Bernard does. Cath is usually with her head down, knitting and talking. Bernard is glad she has never driven a car. He thinks the amount of people she would have killed would be quite high.

"But if they are going to charge two pounds a raffle ticket, what do they expect? Jean's grandson ended up with a box of soap. You can imagine. Did you see Mohammed painted his gate? Yellow of all colours."

Bernard hears the colour yellow and thinks about their honeymoon in the south of France. He can't remember how the hell they afforded that back then, but he can remember the yellow of the sand, the blue of the sea and the wispy white clouds stretching to Africa above. He is reminded of the pedalo and how Cath nearly ran over a swimmer while she was imagining the back story of their breakfast waiter.

"If you need a tin of peas, you need one tin. Not three. Three tins make a bag heavy. Julie can't carry things like three tins now. And that son of hers isn't going to help out. She won't say of course, but since he ran off with his secretary I think he must come and visit under the cover of darkness. Have you seen him? Well, I wouldn't show my face again."

The aerobics class has finished. A couple of the women have parked their cars on this side of the pond and Bernard sees they are older than he thought. It surprises him than women with wrinkles can jump about for so long. They look good though. He would like to see them in fine dresses, like the one Cath wore to his mother's funeral a month after they met. She looked mighty fine that day. He could hardly think of his mother, cold and grey under that heavy wooden top.

"It's not just the children. They are good children, I know that, and Pete and Sarah do their best. But they don't help out either. We have to do everything. I mean, I don't mind, but it's the extra work they don't think about. They just assume. And we can't say no, can we? Would they come and pick us up and take us to London? It's all so time consuming for everyone."

A dog comes over to sniff around Bernard's feet. It isn't a fan of the crumbs from his two morning digestives. It licks his trousers quickly and then toddles off, its big flat paws clipping the concrete path, its tail hovering just above the puddles. Bernard wonders why there are always puddles on the path, even though it hasn't rained for over a week.

"Now if we get Jessica that cooking game, Nicky isn't going to need something better than a football. Remember the havoc last year with the trampoline? We're not going through that again. Polly had the same trouble with those twins, and they are even younger. I don't know when children got so needy and possessive of things. If we take the bus one Wednesday there's those coupons to use in that big store and it sells some toys."

Bernard's stomach growls. He searches the park for distraction but it has nothing left to give him. He wants to go home and have leftover pork chop for lunch with some green beans from the garden. But this is his part of the day and he also doesn't want it to end.

"And cramming herself into those cream jeans. Well talk about mutton dressed as lamb. She's nearly sixty for crying out loud -"

"Yes, I'd like green beans."

"And ... What? What did you just say? Bernard, she was wearing something so silly for her age, and she's not a small lady as we know."

"Shut up."

"I mean, I'm not one to talk, we could all lose a few pounds. What? What did you say again Bernard?"

"Nothing. Slip of the tongue. Lapsus Linguae."

"Sometimes I think you talk Chinese, I really do. You get it from that crossword I suppose. We'll have to pick up my magazine on the way back. Julie said there's a lovely story in there this week. About a couple who fall in love during the war. Except he speaks French and she speaks German and they don't understand each other. Can you imagine? This jumper is coming along very nicely indeed."

Bernard finally looks back to his paper. Fourteen down. I am in rage after a singular Mars wedding. 


To read more Lapsus Linguae inspired writes, click and watch:

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