The Spinster’s Tower.
She watched from above, alone and aloof. Watched restless groups converge on their once verdant lawn. It was looking a little patchy after the prolonged dry spell. The herd wouldn’t notice. They poured in each year, trampling beds, snapping stalks and secreting cuttings into common little bags. Noses pressed on windows. Dirty little fingers getting into places they shouldn’t.
It was an annual event, something she supposed she would have to do when her mother died. The church demanded it. Oh yes it did. Not verbally. It was expected.
‘Expected!’ she spat the word out.
That’s what one did in ones position. Garden parties. Those snivelling little gobs would eat all the fancies if she didn’t have Peters on the summerhouse door. It was all such a bore. But Mummy loved it and there wouldn’t be many more.
She sighed and rubbed her back. She would prefer it if she could stay put in her sun-beamed room with its mullioned windows and far reaching views. On a good day you could see Wales. Not today though. She looked to the window ledge, to the faded black and white photograph showing a man in uniform. Decorated and proud standing stiffly. She looked without seeing and put it face down. So long ago and not here to deal with the village hoards.
Patricia watched ginghamed girls spin Dervish-like, watched them fall, presenting bloomers to sniggering boys. She wished they wouldn’t shriek so. She watched them become swallowed, sucked into the rhododendrons, still dizzy and shredding leaves, spoiling buds. Probably kissing cake thieves. She hoped they’d catch something.
Lifting a watch from her pocket she sighed and patted her hair. Splashed on 4711 and steeled herself. She could do it. The vicar would be waiting. She would have to throw the first coconut. At least the donkey poo could go on the roses. She told herself it would be over soon enough and slipped into the musty passage-way. Down the dark, wooden staircase she tugged open a cupboard and dragged a wheelchair into the light.
A quivering voice called, ‘Patricia! We’ll be late! Do hurry along!’