A Scottish Romance
I spent three weeks at the farm recuperating. Mum wouldn’t let me do anything even though I tried. The aches and pains battled each other to see which would rein supreme. I gave up the first afternoon and gladly accepted my mum’s help. I acknowledge the situation as a learning moment. Maybe God had it planned all along.
I stayed in the upstairs guestroom since when I moved out I took my bed with me. When my grandfather built the house it was unusual to find a two-story farm house. They were all one-story because most of the farmers were poor. My grandfather moved to ampbelltown ten years after he married grandma. His father owned a successful department store called Caldwell’s in London. When his father died granddad sold his share of the company to his sister Clare and moved his wife and five year old child- my ther- to Campbelltown. He bought what is now our land starting the farm. My Uncle Jack left the farm at the age of 20, leaving behind my father to take care of the farm, for London to learn under Great-Aunt Clare to take over the store someday. Great unt Clare spent her whole life running Caldwell’s, never marrying although there are plenty of stories about her lovers. Uncle Jack and Great-Aunt Clare have made the store into a immense success almost as big as Harrod’s.
My family and I quickly fell into a routine. Each morning my mother saw Shelly off to school and my brother and father out into the fields letting me sleep in. Then she would come up get me fed, washed up and clothed. In the afternoons my father or b ther would carry me downstairs to spend the rest of the day on the couch. Later when my ankle was better and the pain wasn’t as prominent I walked around on crutches sitting outside or helping my mother in the kitchen with her chores. I learned allot out my mother in those weeks. I never knew how much she did to keep the household running smooth. I grew exhausted just watching her. Could all this hard work be worth it, I would think. Then I would see the smile on her face as one of the family me ers would thank her and praise her for her work and it clicked in my head. That’s what it means to be a mother, to work hard and keep the family together and to be rewarded by the small moments in life; a smile of happiness, a kiss from the husband and thank you from the child. Being a mother isn’t the easiest job in the world, but it definatly is the most rewarding.
In between the times mum was busy and the time Shelly would come home from school, I worked on my novel. Planning out the ending and revising the pervious chapters. My main two characters were now falling in love and I was joyously celebrating their h piness and my own budding love life.
Shell came home close to 3:30 each day. She kept me entertained with stories of her day and news from town. Mary hired a new girl to help out while I was away along with Carrie the schoolage girl that helped out afterschool sometimes. On Mondays when um went into town for groceries she would come home with cards and well wishes from the regulars at Mary’s shop. Mr. Parson even came out to see how I was doing one afternoon.
One particular night - it must have been on a weekend because Jeff was out with Maggie- I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t from pain or my still stiff muscles, images kept coming to my brain overcrowding it. The images were of a man coming into my bedroom la at night and slipping into my bed. He would wrap both his arms around me and softly speak. The room seemed very familiar to me, but I couldn’t figure out when I had been in it. The man’s face was a total blur. The images weren’t coming to me as if a dream, they felt more real to me than that as if I had experienced them. It was all very confusing to me. When I had enough of tossing and turning without sleep I decided to switch my minds focus onto something else. With the lamp on I sat up in b writing another chapter for my novel.
Jeff stuck his head in the room. “Kathy, are you OK, luv?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I just can’t sleep.” I gathered my papers setting them off to the side. Taking the extra pillow that was laying on my lap I propped it up next to me.
“You’re a little old for that, I reckon, Kathy.” He said sitting beside me leaning back against the pillow.
“I know. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I leaned my head up against his shoulder. “You’re getting in a bit late aren’t you?”
“I was out with Maggie. Did you know she’s making her own wedding dress?”
“Wow! Have you two set a date?”
“We’re thinking of about the end of October. What are you working on?”
“A book I’ve been writing.”
“Can I read it?”
“Yeah, if you like. I have a couple of chapters to go yet. The first few are on the dresser there.”
Jeff took the first chapters to bed with him. He bent over my body saying goodnight and pinching the end of my nose like he did when I was a girl. The next morning he came downstairs for breakfast raving about my book. So of course everyone else had o read it to. I was a little embarrrassed to have mum and da read it since it had a few sexual encounters. They seemed not to mind giving their approval with mum saying, “Don’t wait to long to write the ending, Kathy. I have to know what happens.”
At the end of the three weeks I went back to my flat and work. At first Mary only allowed me in the afternoons and then she would only let me sit behind the counter. I didn’t mind. I was focusing on my writing and waiting for James to come back.
When my parents drove me back to town at the end of my stay I remember looking out the side window of the Land Rover at the entrance to High Park. I could see myself outside the cottage playing with my dark haired daughter. She chaseing the family dog hile I carried my three month old son in my arms. I saw the vegetable garden and flowers I would plant. Adding more flowers each year until the whole cottage was surrounded. My fantasy happy family. I had dreamt about that family since I was fourteen Always the same children and always at High Park. The husband I would have always a blur. I could never actually see him. I told myself it was because I hadn’t met him yet and when I did it would all be clear. Back then I beleved it would be a loca man. He might even be a farmer like my father.
The future is never absolutely like we fore see it. At least mine wasn’t.
Sean and I found our way to each other and made plans to have a bite out. He arrived at my flat promptly at six on a Friday night. We had a delightful dinner at the one and only posh restaurant in Campbelltown. We talked about his work and mine. He old me about some of his less gory patients and I told him about the familiar faces that came into Mary’s each morning. We each had a couple of glasses of wine and let’s just say I was feeling mighty good. At one point in the evening I went to the l . Looking at my face in the mirror I noticed the rosy cheek effect from the wine. I warned myself to go easy for the rest of the night or I would end up doing something I might regret later. A throe of guilt rushed inside my stomach. “How can yo even think of any kind of sexual relationship with this man. You don’t know how you feel about him or even if you do have feelings for him. Get ahold of yourself, Kathleen. Your just a little starved for attention. That’s it, you just want attenti and he’s giving it to you. Right, get your bum out there and be polite without getting yourself in too much trouble. Remember you have a serious crush on James and you can’t be messing up your chances with him.” My rational self told me.
“Don’t you mean if I have any chances with him?” I asked myself. The voice didn’t answer back. She must have been feeling the same uncertainty I had.
I was impressed that Sean would spend so much money on a first date, usually the guys I went out with took me to the pictures, to a dance or just a cheap dinner. Then at the end of the evening expected kissing and groping. Most of the time I would sa a polite goodnight and went inside shutting the door in their faces. Sometimes they would call for a second date and others wouldn’t even bother and go onto the next lass. On occasion I did let a special few kiss me, mostly it was because I wanted tha feeling of being wanted.
Sean was a perfect gentleman that evening. He intently listened to me as I talked making me feel totally at ease. After we finished our dinner and decided it was best we didn’t have anymore wine (or at least I did), we took a walk along the beach. We atched the end of the sunset play out. The sky highlighted by pinks and oranges, the puffy clouds catching the last of the sunlight. A gentle breeze tugged at my hair playing with it and teasing my skin with a slight chill. We sat down on the seawall ot saying a word with the silence of the earth folding in and around us. I tried to think of something to say, but all I wanted was to watch as nature shut down for the day and feel the peace of having someone to share the experience with. Oh and it f t great to have a man at my side, just to feel the energy from his body when his arm would barely rub against mine and to hear his breathing. I wanted to stay in that moment of suspended space, but my mind kept showing me the image of James staring out ver the ocean with his hands deep into his pockets and a worn, saddened look on his face. I wondered why a man like him could ever be sad. I didn’t know much about him, but he appeared to have so much. He hadn’t been back since my accident. A part me said to stop praying and hoping he’d come back, to move on. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that voice.
“Could I ask you a question, Sean?”
“What ever you like, luv.”
“Do you know why your partner kept looking at Mr. McGregor when you came to take me to hospital? The shorter man without glasses, remember?”
Seasn threw back his head laughing. “Never believe this, you won’t. He told me that Mr. McGregor looked like one of those Beatles.”
“The Rock n’ Roll group?” I starred ahead trying to get a picture of the beatles in my head.
“ Yes, he told me which one, I forgot now. Can you believe it, Kathy? A rock star buying a worn down old farm in Mull Of Kintyre of all places. I told him he was daft, I did.”
“Rock stars would want mansions, I guess.” I turned my head to look at Sean. “And I don’t think High Park Farm is a worn down old farm, it’s just needs a little love and care.”
“I’m sorry Kathleen, it’s just not what I picture a rock star to be living in.”
“I commend James on what he has already done with the cottage. Mind you it needs more furniture.”
“More of a woman’s touch, wouldn’t you say?” Sean turned his torso to look me in the eye.
“Yes, I quite agree. Some woman to brighten the place up and make it more into a home. There is allot I could do with that cottage.”
Sean turned back to look at the sea crossing his arms against his chest. “I thought you would agree.”
The sun was just about gone then, only the tip hung around to light our way as Sean walked me home. Even though he was walking next to me he seemed further away. I invited him in to have tea, but politely he replied no.