Poor Little Rich Girl

… never been good enough for you, has it? Everything I gave up, everything I did…. Oh that voice. It just goes on and on. I can try to tune it out, sure. But it’s at a pitch that penetrates, like a mosquito lodged in your ear. Bzzzzzzz…

I can’t believe I married her, really. I look at her back, broad – well, broad is an understatement, let’s be honest, here – and white in the hot sun, shoulders bobbing in time with her words as she keeps on talking. Doesn’t matter that she’s not facing me. Doesn’t matter that she’s head first in the rhododendrons, she just keeps on talking, shoulders keep on bobbing. Yabber yabber yabber. What’s left of dark red hair, now all frizzed up in that ridiculous style and under that equally ridiculous hat she wears. She looks like a toadstool.

Where did she go, the slim-hipped, white-skinned girl that I first saw in the bank window all those years ago? Daddy’s little girl, for sure, a family of high stature. It didn’t matter then that I was the lowly son of a farmer. That my riches were earth, soil and sun. She loved me, she said, and of course, I lusted in return. Who could not be smitten by the dark hair, the fine cut of clothes showing that slender body, luscious breasts, ready for picking…

Her father was against us from the start. He did what he could to stop the marriage. Right down to removing her dowry. Completely. “You’ll not get a penny from me, son”, he said. Who needed his pennies when we had love? We knew he would come around eventually. Until then, well, my family made us a home in the loft on our family farm. It was only temporary, we knew that. It wasn’t long before she started complaining. The bed was too lumpy. The cows smelled. There were tics in the straw. Her hands were dry. Her clothes were old. Those cows and tics and clothes were good enough for my daddy and ma, they were good enough for then, surely? Love would get us through.

But now, forty years later…. I wonder what it will take, to get peace. Without that incessant yapping, the garden would be so peaceful. Yabber yabber yabber.

Never mind. I push the shovel into the soft earth, turning over new, fresh soil, the heady smell warm, welcoming, ready for new plants to nurture and grow in the soil.

This is my land now, or what I have of it. She made me sell the farm, once my parents died. All that work, generations of land living, gone. She had to have better things, she said. She was used to better things, she said. She complained all the time – living off the land, the house, old as it was, was always too hot, too cold, too drafty. She was used to servants, not cooking. She was used to housekeepers, not dusting. After 10 years, and the death of my parents, she made sure that she did not have to spend one more day on the farm.

The shoulders continue to bob. Yabber yabber yabber.

How easy would it be, I wonder, to just keep digging until the hole is wide enough – say – for a body? My mind wanders to a life of quiet, no voice nagging, no relentless yapping, just me, the garden… the earth, the soil… I make the hole just a little wider.

Bob, bob, bob… yabber, yabber, yabber

How funny, now that her family was gone, just as my retirement looms. Daddy’s little girl, remembered in the will. We stand to receive thousands of pounds – well she does. I am sure she will make short work of most of it, with her frippery and dreams, but some of that is going to go to buy my farm back. I am certain of that – you’ll see. I am the man. I am the head of the house – and I want my land back. Besides, I can work the fields again, somewhere to hide from that never ending whiney wheeze, and she can flap about ordering staff around until the cows come home. Literally!

God, she’s still going. Bloody woman. She thinks she gave up her life. Her! Gave up! She gave up nothing other than a spoiled little rich girl’s life. She gave nothing to me, of that you can be sure. Even that luscious body, with its secrets and promises of things to come was a letdown. Barren, too. Although how something so stiff and unyielding would even manage to think about producing a child is ridiculous. Not like the earth… the earth so rich and sweet and fertile, asks nothing more than love and a tender touch… now there is a promise I should have stayed with.

Yabber, yabber, yabber. I make the hole just a little longer. It looks like a gravesite. Big enough for a new rhododendron bush. Or maybe… maybe…

All of a sudden, my head feels like it is exploding. Hundreds, millions of stars swim before my eyes. I can’t grab my breath, what the hell… ?

As I fall into the hole, I can smell the sweet scent of that mother earth, welcoming me. Light fades to dark; I put together the snatches of words behind those bobbing shoulders. I strain to look up through fading light and feel the soft splatter of warm dirt begin to fall on my face. “You never listen to me, do you, Harold?” She said.

By Penny Dreadful


silfert said...

Argh! I wanted to kill her myself! Nice twist at the end, there. :)

Pen N. Hand said...

The contrast was beautifully drawn, it kept you eye traveling to the next metaphor. Good story.

Ollie said...

That was a fine tale, drawing us on and in. One really felt the man's love of the soil and his sense of a life despoiled.