Wednesday, 9 October 2019
A Portrait of the Victor as a Young Man
For some reason, that small creature reminded me of my first girl-friend all those years ago. Her name was Melba. I can't imagine what possessed her parents to give her that name; especially since her surname was Pye.
Anyway, Melba came to mind and I remember our first date when I took her to a French restaurant. She had frogs' legs; but the rest of her body was OK I suppose. Albeit a bit plump. She had more flesh than bones on her.
I had an open topped car at the time. A sporty looking little number. And I recalled how her hair used to blow in the wind as I sped up the highway. Then I had to stop and collect it for her.
She had a pleasant personality, rather quiet, and a little shy. I suppose it's because she was a little rotund and she considered herself overweight - a bit like her mother. I remember well the first day I met Melba's mom. There was a solar eclipse that day.
I recall once when out driving in my car with her mom I discovered a flat tyre in the back of the car; behind the driver's seat. I had no spare tyre that day. So I sat her mom in the opposite corner of the car to counter-weigh the whole vehicle until we got to a garage to fix it.
They say if you want to know how your wife will turn out in years to come, just look at her mother. Well, Melba and her mom were very large, to say the truth; but I wondered whether Melba will have a moustache too when she gets older. I guess I hoped beyond hope, I was so much in love. A bit like asking the tide not to come in.
In fact I remember one day I asked Melba's father to marry her. He was not the brightest person in town. I tried to be poetic and asked him for his daughter's hand. He said, what do you want her hand for? I continued to be subtle and said I want her to have my name. He said, "to be honest I prefer to call her Melba rather than Victor!"
So I tried the direct approach. I said, "I want to marry your daughter".
He answered, "Have you seen her mother?"
I said, "Yes, but I still prefer to marry your daughter!"
He replied, "Are you rich? Can you keep me in the manner I am accustomed to?"
I said, "I want to marry your daughter, not you!"
He retorted, "Her mom and I come as a package. Marry one get two free!"
Melba's father was often unemployed; although some would say he was unemployable. He sat at home watching TV and expected his wife to do all the work and feed him. He was so lazy that if he ever fainted he'd need someone to help him fall to the ground.
He once worked digging trenches on the road as part of a team so that engineers could lay in pipes, cables and so on. One day the team arrived and realised they had no tools with them. Melba's father phoned the depot and said they had forgotten to bring their shovels with them. The manager replied, "Never mind. Lean on each other in the meantime!"
Melba's parents lived in a small house on the poor side of town. I recall the house was so small that the mice were hunch-backed. And it was a cold and damp house too. So damp there was a permanent rainbow in the kitchen.
Melba's brother, Ivor was a right eighteen years old ruffian who hung out with the wrong crowd. He was always up to trouble and to be fair to him, until his late teens, he never knew what it felt like to be wanted. Until one day he saw his picture on the Police Notice Board.
He was arrested with another hooligan friend and taken to Court for riding a bicycle without any lights on at night. In his defence, he said the bicycle had no lights on when he stole it.
When the two lads appeared in Court the Judge looked at them knowingly, almost recognising them. He asked: "Have you two ever been up before me?"
"I don't know," answered Ivor, "what time do you get up?"
The Judge banged his gavel and asked Ivor's friend, "What's your address?"
The lad answered, "I've no fixed abode."
He then asked Ivor, "And what's your address?"
Ivor responded, "In the apartment above him!"
The Judge asked the boys whether they wanted to be tried by him; or by a jury. They did not know the difference. So the Judge explained: "A jury is a group of twelve people made up of your own peers. They are people like you!"
"No way mate," cried Ivor, "we don't want to be tried by a dozen thieves!"
The two boys had a good solicitor who managed to convince the Court, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they had not stolen the bicycle.
As they were leaving Court Ivor asked the Judge, "Does this mean we can keep the bicycle we stole?"
As I sat there reminiscing about the past I wondered whatever happened to Melba. Our relationship did not last long; especially when she decided to become a wrestler and changed her name to Ten Ton Pye.
My last memory of her was seeing her wrestle at the local Arena wearing a green leotard suit which clung tightly to her every contour. She hopped from one end of the ring to another like a demented acrobat.
At that point, the frog jumped forward into the fish pond and awoke me from my reverie.