Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Entry #3: Keywords - Time for a Change

Time for a Change
by Debbie Roome

Grandmother had always been quirky, but her after-death instructions really took the cake. Mr Tomkins, her portly little lawyer, called me into his office. “Ah, Miss Jarvis.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve summoned you to discuss your grandmother’s will. There are some unusual stipulations that we need to discuss.” I leaned forward in my seat as he proceeded to read them out. “I leave my house to my granddaughter, Jenny Jarvis, on the condition that she lives in it for the next twelve months. I also leave her my cat and all the furnishings.” The bit I really wanted to hear came last. “Jenny is to be paid a monthly allowance until the year is up. If she does this, the house, along with my investments are to be transferred in to her name.”

“And then?” I pushed. “If I want to sell the house after a year, can I?”

Mr Tomkins peered over half-moon spectacles. “Yes. That would be in order.”

So there it was; the choice between bowing to Granny’s controlling wishes or continuing my humdrum existence in the city. I did what any self-respecting young woman would do. Resigned, gave notice on my apartment and hopped on a bus to the coast.

Did I mention that Grandmother’s house was in a village by the sea? And that it was more of a cottage than a house? It was actually one of the original dwellings in the area; a delightful structure of stone and dark wood. I had no intentions of staying longer than a year, but there was a certain charm about it.

Mr Tomkins had given me instructions on where to find Grandmother’s cat. She hadn’t owned a cat last time I visited but that was a few years ago. “Come through.” the attendant at the kitty hotel invited me. The cat was a large ginger by the name of Squat and greeted me by raking her claws down my arm. The young girl pulled a face. “I think she’s pregnant. Must be having a bad hormone day.”

I left with Squat in a cage and the details of the local vet in my purse. “He’s a dream.” the attendant told me. “His name’s Lyndon Clark and he looks like a cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law.” I was more worried about the fat ferocious beast I would be sharing my home with.

Days passed and I settled into Grandmother’s cottage. To begin with it was like being on vacation. I lazed on the beach and took long walks in the silvery sand. Occasionally I would see a dolphin arching gracefully through the waves and would sit for hours, searching for more.

It was on the beach that I first met Lyndon. I was actually dozing on my towel when a hurricane of fur and sand launched itself at me. “Down, Mack! Get off the lady!” The deep-toned voice belonged to a gorgeous man who looked like a cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law.

Half asleep, the words just fell out of my mouth. “Are you Lyndon Clark?” To cut a long story short, he said he was and I don’t know who was more embarrassed; him or me. Eventually he agreed to come and examine Squat in exchange for a mug of coffee. “The dog will have to stay outside.” I instructed. “Squat hates me as it is.” So Mack was tied up in disgrace while we idled an hour away, sipping coffee and chatting. We sat in the living room which had an expansive view across the ocean and watched ripples of peach, apricot and burgundy as the sun began to slide lower and lower.

Eventually Lyndon rose and said he needed to go; that he had an evening clinic. I coaxed Squat out of the spare room and he ran tapered fingers across her belly. “She’s definitely pregnant - probably has a week to go.” He smiled at my worried expression. “She shouldn’t have any problems. Cats do this all the time. Just give me a call if you have any concerns.”

After the excitement of his visit, life gradually took on a pattern and the novelty of a permanent vacation wore off. Being unemployed wasn’t as great as I thought it would be so I started watching the situations vacant column. Sadly, there was nothing that caught my eye. Hairdressing assistant, waitress, accounts clerk…nothing appealed.

To keep busy, I took to spending more time on the beach. I told myself I was looking for dolphins but deep down I knew I wasn’t. I was looking for a handsome vet who looked like a cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law. He was a no-show and after a while, I knew I would have to make another plan.

For the first time, I was grateful for being lumbered with Squat. Ten days had passed since Lyndon’s visit and still no kittens ; a perfect excuse to book an appointment with him. I maneuvered the cat into her cage and off we went. “So no kittens yet?” Lyndon was even more gorgeous than I remembered and we ended up talking for twenty minutes before Squat got another mention. It was as I was leaving that he asked if I would be on the beach the next day.

“I’m there most days although I’m looking for a job at the moment.”

He paused. “My receptionist is leaving at month end.” he said. “Would you be interested in taking over?”

Would I ever! I danced home on a cloud and even when Squat produced seven kittens on my bed that night, it didn’t upset me at all.

Well, as they, the rest is history. Lyndon and I got married today and I won’t be selling Grandmother’s cottage after all. It’s the perfect home for newly weds with a cantankerous ginger cat and a rambunctious mongrel. I think Grandmother would smile if she could see us; maybe even say we were a little quirky.

Submitted by
Debbie Roome

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