The Odd One Out
Copyright © 2015
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
Violet Bastion had a small home unit on the far side of Mt. Oakey. It was down a short tree covered lane and one of a dozen, built by her church for its elderly parishioners. Fortunately the entrance was at ground level, so Meg's wheel chair glided in without effort.
Violet was somewhere between ninety and death but quite spritely and still able to attend to most of her own needs, with the help of a cleaner once a week. She was a weed of a woman, long skinny arms and legs with little between. Her white hair was bobtailed at the back and held in place, with what appeared to be two knitting needles. She was toothless, refusing to wear her false teeth unless eating, saying they were so expensive, she didn't wish to wear them out but her eyes were as bright as two new pins and she could still read news print without the need for eye glasses.
"Come in deer," her voice cracked as Meg wheeled herself into the unit. "I've made afternoon tea, I hope you like sesame seed cake." The old lady paused to get her breath. "I didn't make it, Moll Butler brought it over, you know Moll don't you love?" She asked of Meg, as a woman some years younger than Violet poked her head around from the kitchen doorway. "Good afternoon Moll." Meg greeted the poking head in the doorway, which nodded and once again disappeared into the kitchen.
"It's you Charlie." Violet said recognising Meg's son as he and Colt filed in behind Meg's chair. "And who's your handsome friend?" She asked giving Colt the once over.
"That's Charlie's friend Russell, Violet." Meg introduced.
"He's a fine handsome specimen; I hope he's good to you." Violet asked of Charlie and attempted to find room for everyone in the small kitchen. It was a squeeze. Colt noted the old lady's comment but didn't register it to be anything more than an old person's way of expression.
"Russell you sit next to me and tell me all about yourself." Violet demanded and patted the chair beside her. Colt accepted the offer.
Charlie, seated on the other side of Colt whispered close to his ear, "Oh there was something I forgot to tell you." Colt listened but Charlie said he'd tell him later.
Violet Bastion may have been old and wrinkled but her mind remained clear and her memory sound. She held the floor from the beginning, relating memories of Mt. Oakey from almost its conception. She could also be quite bawdy. At one time when Moll was out of the room she turned to Colt. "How long have you been young Charlie's boy friend?" Violet's enquiry was incidentally delivered as if common place to ask such questions and neither Meg nor Charlie appeared to be concern. Colt refrained from answering as he felt his cheeks prickle red with embarrassment. Meg perceiving Colts indisposition changed the subject and Violet obliged.
"I noticed your roses are out early this year." Meg commented.
"Yes the gardener uses horse manure. He gets it from Bert Cummins farm. You know I can't get down weeding any more, my old knees they just don't want to bend."
Meg concurred. "I'm afraid I have let the garden go since the accident and Charlie wouldn't know a rose from a dandelion."
"Come on dear, let's go to the other room for girl talk and leave the boys to their own device." Violet suggested and with Moll filing in behind Meg's chair they were gone.
"Violet's somewhat outspoken, I didn't know what to say." Colt declared once the ladies had left the room.
"That is what I was going to warn you about."
"What do you mean warn?"
"About a hundred years ago Violet was a lesbian and mum must have discussed us with her - sorry."
Since Colt's liaison with Charlie an entire new world had opened for him. Firstly he couldn't admit boy friend even to himself and their relationship was something he had no wish to tag. If gay was taboo in his vocabulary, lesbian was frightening uncharted waters and at Violet's advancing years incredulous. How was it possible for a woman to penetrate another woman? That was one question he didn't want answered. He gave Charlie a supercilious smile and simply said, "I suppose it takes all types." What he meant by his statement Colt couldn't say, only he felt the need to say something to conclude the thought.
"Do you want to go for a walk; I can show you around the town."
"I think that may be a good idea before Violet has more to say. Is there a pub close by?"
"Sorry they are the other end of town." Charlie apologised. "We could drive over if you wish."
"No matter, come on and let's see the highlights of Mt. Oakey."
Once back home it was Meg who became apologetic, she had know Violet since even before Charlie's birth, as Violet was once in a relationship with Liz Bishop a distant cousin of Meg and throughout Charlie's childhood it was Violet who suggested he would turn out to be gay.
Meg had never mentioned Colt's name to Violet but seeing them together the old lady place two with two and it did amount to four.
"Still you noticed she was discrete and didn't mention anything until Moll was out of hearing." Meg added.
"Colt doesn't admit to boyfriend status." Charlie laughed. Colt flashed his disapproval but remained silent.
"If we are all going to live in the same house, he better get use to it." Meg declared bringing life back into Colt's expression.
"When did you decide?" He asked.
"Almost right away,"
"So you have no problem leaving Mt. Oakey?" Colt asked.
"Yes and no but if it's the only way to get you two together it's worth it."
"I promise you Mrs. Wyse, you won't regret it." Colt assured, "and I can do wonders with the back rooms, they will make a perfect unit."
"Now Colt I don't want you going to any expense over me."
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