Me-Time Tales: tea breaks for mature women and curious men

By Rosalind Minett

Short stories, Comedy & satire, Literary fiction

Paperback, eBook

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UNDERWHELMED Marian took stock of her fifty-year-old self when she was only forty-five. It meant wearing support knickers and a suggestive smile. It meant thinking positive, just as she advised her sales colleagues every day. Cerise was her positive colour and she let collars or scarves of it peep out from behind her grey coat, navy mac or black fleecy. She kept her eyes wide open, wide enough, she thought. She met Pete in the park, walking his dog. It was a tattered specimen with a square head and pus-rimmed eyes. She’d never been into dogs, really, but it was a way of meeting people.

‘Hello, boy!’ She bent and patted him gingerly. She had wet-wipes in her bag. Its owner stood up straighter, and he was quite tall, quite amenable with no sign of a beer gut or sustainable reading matter.

He tweaked the lead. ‘I think he likes you. He’s smiling.’

‘That’s nice. Nice boy.’ She left it at that, no kissy noises.

‘I’m Pete.’ He took the lead off and the dog minced a few paces.

‘Oh. Hi.’ She smoothed her hair. ‘I’m Marian. I’ll throw his ball if you like.’

She managed to lob it as far as the trees where she hoped he’d find other doggie friends to keep him occupied. The dog ran to it, but not very fast so she had time to look at the man and smile. He wore a North Face sweat shirt with no stains down the front, and the gingery colour matched his eyes.

Perhaps he’d had ginger hair once, like she’d had this really fair hair herself when she was little. People would say, ‘What a little angel’. But that was a long time ago, further off than the dog in the woodland patch. ‘He’s run a long way, bless him.’

‘He’ll come back.’ He smiled and showed all his teeth, definitely real. ‘I see you like dogs.’ She nodded and opened her coat a touch.



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