Friday, 5 March 2010
Just a bit of nonsense – or Love’s Young Dream
It was the worst moment of the worst day of the worst week of the year. Effie stretched and yawned and grumbled to herself. January 2nd in any year was the pits. She wished she wasn't a miner's daughter and hadn't agreed to the annual meeting at his workplace. 'Maybe,' she dreamed, 'I will meet a handsome, strong young man.'
Effie's snoring woke her and she struggled out of bed, heaving a sigh, which fell dully at her feet. She cast her eyes heavenwards and caught them as they descended, then threw back her head and laughed. It bounced off the wall behind her. She really must take more care of herself. She was so tired these days – it came of burning the candle at both ends and she was having difficulty keeping both points alight. She had had her fingers burnt more than once but ignored the pain each night (or was it morning?) as she lit the twin flames.
Though she was a miner's daughter she had been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her aristocratic mother had taken one look at her new-born child and expired at the sight. Doctors were able to remove it and she had kept it as a memento knowing that it was extremely valuable and, should the occasion ever arise when she could no longer keep the wolf from the door, she would be able to sell it. Anxiously she glanced out of the window and was relieved to see that the doorstep was free of Canis lupus.
As she dressed she wondered why she never managed to meet the right man. She sang softly to herself, 'Why am I always the bridesmaid, never the blushing bride?' Certainly she was tired of wearing the unflattering pink frock with the big puffed sleeves and the huge satin bow but supposed that was her fate, for now.
At the mine Effie walked towards the pit shaft looking for her father. After 45 minutes she was ready to call it a day – Wednesday perhaps or Saturday – when her father appeared at her elbow. She looked down at him. Miners were reputed to be short and stocky but really! He was only 3'6". Still, he couldn't help his lack of inches.
'Where have you been?' she asked sharply.
'The bus was late,' he explained.
'You could have walked or hitched a lift,' she spat.
Her father wiped her spit off his face and said, 'There's no need to jump down my throat' as he spluttered and removed her head from his mouth.
Effie rolled her eyes and her father stopped them with his foot as they neared the shaft and handed them back to her. She thanked him and started to speak again, but realised he was giving her the cold shoulder. She shivered and rubbed her back.
'You know, you drive me up the wall, Dad,' she complained as she clambered back down to the ground.
'Effie, I do my best for you. I introduce you to nice young fellows and you just throw yourself at them. Most of the time they're so surprised they forget to try and catch you. You don't know which side your bread's buttered.'
She gasped and said, 'So that's why my sandwiches are so dusty.'
'You fool,' said her father gently and the bells on her jester's hat jingled as she nodded.
At that moment a tall, dark, good-looking man approached them and Effie's father introduced her. His name was Patrick O'Mahoney. Effie's heart melted, which made living difficult as her blood started turning to black pudding, but she pulled herself together, tying up the laces that kept her from falling apart, and sighed.
Patrick spoke, 'Would ye be after joining me for a drink?' he asked.
Effie giggled. 'Why, are you broken?'
'Begorrah, it's the luck of the Irish I have, to be meeting a lovely girl like yourself with the brains and all. Aren't you just the girl of me dreams, so?'
Effie sighed, entranced by his looks, his voice. All her chickens had come home to roost and she must go and lock them up for the night.
Hand in hand, the two young lovers stole quietly away (quietly was made of gold and diamonds and quite a treasure!)
Effie's father watched them go, a song in his heart. He joined in with the chorus and prepared for his day's work.