Sin… English Rose…

She was our very own English Rose, but the thorns could do you some nasty damage. I think it was the Scorpions who sang that Every Rose had its Thorn.

Well, that suited too, because she certainly had a sting in her tail.

She called herself Barb. I’d assume it was short for Barbara, but I’m not so sure. Barbara is more the name for an older woman. It’s not often you find someone sub-50 so called and ‘Barb’ was, I’d say, more mid-30s.

Though, saying that, I’ve always been poo at guessing ages. People either seem to look a lot older or years younger than they actually are, to me. I can’t help taking in to account their eyes. Windows to the soul and all that. If there’s a sparkle and a smile in their eyes, it can knock years off their apparent age, so smoothing out the wrinkles in my mind. Similarly, if their eyes have a shadow – the weight of woe or the lull of lethargy – it seems to wrap a cloak around them, one that has been screwed up and shoved down the back of the sofa for the past six months, forgotten about. Its creases have been so set in place they’ll neither drop out nor benefit from an industrial steam iron whacked down on them. Even though possibly new, it appears aged and sorrowful and tired.

And so the years are piled on.

So, Barb could have been sitting comfortably in the dead centre of her third decade, or she could have been twice that, carry the one, but have a spark that could burn away the years before they could even attempt to scrunch her up and drop her behind the sofa.

She had a spark that could burn, that was for sure. The wit slid down her tongue like a wrist off a razorblade, cutting deeply into those that were careless enough to venture too close. And it was the sort of wound that no bandage or suture could heal.

Barb. A bit like naming me Sin. It does what it says on the tin, except I couldn’t help it. I do believe she enjoyed herself.

Perhaps that was why she appeared younger than her name would suggest. She liked being spiteful. Her needles and nudges, digs and derisions were her version of fun and she splashed about in her pool of putdowns as if it were a summer’s day and she was paddling in the breakwaters of a beach.

I suffered her cruelties once. I was walking past her going nowhere other than somewhere different to where I was. She put her foot out and I had no choice but to trip over it. I wasn’t the first, or the last to do so and many have learned to just ignore her and carry on walking. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned that valuable lesson yet and so made the mistake of pointing out her deliberate trip, asking for an apology.

I don’t think I had the chance to utter another word until her tirade of insults and accusations had finished. Around an hour had passed and she hadn’t seemed to pause to draw breath. Once she was done, she didn’t speak to me again, not then nor since, and I was left reeling and picking the pieces of my Self up off the floor where she’d flung them.

I mentioned that she was an English Rose. She was. High, rosy cheeks, back so straight it seemed to be formed from one single piece and was unbendable. An air of haughtiness that sat on the shoulders of superiority and spat on all below. And her thorns, they were as sharp as a scorpion’s sting.

I’ve never been a gardener, but I do wish someone would come along and be brave enough to prune her.

1 Comment

  1. I love this, Shaun!

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