Judith, he goes to me, don’t be gettin’ up on that stepladder for you’ll fall and crack your skull. That’s Victor, my husband. Victor was married before. First wife died in 1986 and Victor never left their house for two years after. He’s with me this long time, and he likes our road. He can easy walk to the club from here. You know, the social club, for the men?
I took a tumble off a kitchen chair the other week trying to fix the top of the blinds and Victor thought I was done for. Battered a rib, but I was alright. I’m tormented with arthritis and them doctors haven’t a clue. That’s a fact. Some days I hardly can walk from here to that door.
Victor does all the driving now. I can’t manage no more. I rang the Council and I says to the woman, I need a disabled parking space outside my house. Is that right, she says. Aye. (Did she think I was ringing her with lies?) She sent a fella out and he says, Sure there’s loads of spots here. I was ragin’. That’s you seeing it on a week day, I told him, and he’s looking at me. They’re all away to work now! Sometimes Victor has to link me from way up the street, I add. For effect, I point up to the main road: see? He saw, but he didn’t approve the application. Victor says I’ll just have to thole it.
I haven’t any children. Victor has a son, Keith, in Canada. Rings every other Sunday and sends socks birthday after birthday. All still in their wrapping. Socks in our loft for more feet than a football team. Victor, would you not wear them lovely socks Keith sent? I’m saving them, Judith. There’s wiser chewin’ grass, I tell him, but he knows I’m only coddin’.
Victor’s at the chemist for my prescription. I’ve to take that many pills it’s a wonder I can string two words together. Sure nothin’d stop you talkin’, Victor goes. There’s Mr Ferguson away on the bus to the town. Goes every day same time. Flat cap in all weathers. If he sees me here at the window, he’ll nod. Keeps himself to himself, Mr Ferguson. Sure that’s alright. And here’s Big Luke, Phyllis along with him. She’s wild contrary, that one. Say hello today, ignore you tomorrow. Hasn’t smiled since 1970. It’s Luke I’m sorry for.
There’s only a few kids on our road now. Number 12 across the way sold last year when the Hamiltons moved to Omagh. This girl from Dundalk bought it, and I like her. She’s lovely, so she is. Waves every time she sees me. Hiya, Mrs Greer, she goes. Call me Judith, I always say. She’s a wee boy, Max, would buy and sell you. The boyfriend lives in Finaghy. Nice fella. He’s not the daddy.
I know all the neighbours bar the few renters. Everyone knows me. Judith.