by Andrew Foote
Cathy's father was in the best possible hands, and as all the indications pointed toward a full if rather slow recovery, she took the decision to get back to Tresgillith later that evening. The downside was, she insisted that Aruno came back with her to the house. He didn't want to go, but it did give me breathing space and a chance to sort things out in my head.
Being in the pub by myself after having company for well over a week was a hardship. I missed the pair of them, Aruno especially. Telly was rubbish – nothing too unusual there but then I couldn't settle into reading, so I found myself pacing around looking for jobs that needed doing but then, unable to find any, I helped myself to a very stiff whiskey and sat down at the piano and began to play Moonlight Sonata – definitely not a good idea.
I played blues, but that only served to lower my mood so I opted for Chopin which didn't help either, so slamming the lid shut making the strings crash together discordantly, I swallowed the whiskey in one mouthful making me cough then made my way upstairs to bed.
It was one of those nights. Hot and humid so I lay naked on top of the sheets and after what seemed like an age, I drifted off to sleep but my slumber was full of erotic dreams like the ones I'd had during puberty but one dream – the final one of the night, didn't end-before-the-end, it lasted to the point where I woke with a start believing it was going to be a wet one. I went to take hold of myself in an attempt to stem the flow but my hand collided with a head – Aruno's head. I was balls-deep in his mouth, and with no time to warn him, I came massively.
Groggy and flustered, not even wondering how or why Aruno was with me, I stammered an apology.
"Oh God…… I'm sorry about that. I couldn't have stopped it even if I'd tried.
Are you alright? What the hell are you even doing here?"
"I am fine Mimi-cu. The question is rather, are you alright, and anyway, why would you want to stop it? Is it that you don't want to give me the gift of your seed?"
"Just at this moment, I couldn't refuse you anything. It's just that you took me by surprise, and on that subject? How did you manage to get in? Didn't I lock the doors?"
"Your window is open? An easy climb? The pub is locked so please don't be concerned."
"Does Cathy know where you are?"
"No. She is asleep and um…… Mr Rob is with her."
"Good. It's past time they got together."
"Not jealous of him?"
"There are many things you don't understand. I love Cathy. She is very important to me but as a friend, a very close and special friend who's as close to me as any member of my family, but my only desire is that she finds happiness, and okay, Rob can act like an overgrown child sometimes, but deep down he's got a heart of gold.
They're right together Aruno. I'm pleased for both of them."
"I do understand this Mimi-cu. One day you will also understand how I know what I know."
"Tell me now?"
"Make coffee. Then I tell you."
"Our tribe elders and wise men keep a book. This book tells of the past and what is to come.
In this book, many things are spoken of and one of these was written about over two hundred summers ago.
A visitor to our tribe – a visitor gifted in the magic of healing would visit. This visitor was a woman from a far-off land, unable to speak our tongue, but eager to learn and in exchange, she would bring her magic and use it for the benefit of our people. She would be welcomed, not cast out and she, together with her baby son would learn the ways of the jungle and become full and honoured members of our tribe.
Mimi-cu? This visitor was my mother, and I, her baby son."
"All this was foretold?"
"Yes. I have seen the writing myself.
This writing also says that Boy Child and his mother have to leave. The village are very unhappy, but then, two summers later they return. Mother has bonded with a man, Boy Child has a Mimi-cu and also Boy Child has found his sister who also has bonded with a man and they come back to the village in strange boats and live out their lives in a productive and happy way."
"So what you're saying is…… your Mother and her man, you and I together with Cathy and…… whoever…… go and live in Brazil?"
"It is written my Mimi-cu. We cannot question it."
"Two hundred summers ago, all boats other than dug-outs would be strange.
I cannot answer your question.
There is one other thing I've not shared with you."
"I must go back Mimi-cu. My destiny is such that I become our tribal Chief. Not only that, but my mother attends to our sick people and you – my Mimi-cu? You educate our young so they are able to communicate and have an understanding of the world outside the village but not enough to change our way of life. My sister will have babies and together with her man, will raise them in the ways of our village but also educated here in England so when they grow, they too will be elders, wise in all things so the village can prosper."
"That's a big ask. No that's not right, it's an impossible ask. You speak of strange boats and I'm assuming you mean Conqueror and the Marion S? How on earth do we get them over to the other side of the equator? We can't just head out like we're on a fishing trip, it doesn't work like that Aruno?
We can't be sure that Cathy and…… whoever…… would even consider going, and then I have to think about the pub. What will my Mum do with me out of the way?"
"If these problems were no longer problems, would you come with me?"
"Yes I would, but these problems are problems!"
"It is written Mimi-cu. These problems will evaporate.
You must remember, I can only have one Mimi-cu. You are he and he comes with me."
"We could bounce this around all day and still not reach a satisfactory understanding, but you say two summers? We have time to think about things."
I looked at him but aside from that signature sideways glance, he showed no emotion.
"You're not upset about what I said?"
"No? Why should I be upset Mimi-cu?
I know what will happen. I know that everything I have told you will come to pass. I understand why you do not, but it is of no consequence. The Gods will find ways to make everything happen.
You are right though. There is much to think about. Mother has yet to bond, Catherine and Rob are new together – he might not even be her man, but I think he is. This place, your Mothers future, everything has yet to become clear."
"Only time will tell I suppose."
I looked out at the dawn and realised it was going to be hot and with nothing else better to occupy my mind other than Aruno's pronouncements and the need to stay focused, I decided to open up even though it was only Wednesday.
"Come on. You do the bottling up and I'll clean the pipes and tap the barrels. Let's open the pub shall we?"
We have a stupid tradition. We hoist flags to tell people when we're open – one being the Cornish flag of a white cross on a black background but also the Union flag, from which we fly both from a flagpole on the roof and at 10.30 they were flying.
Cathy and Rob turned up arm in arm at 10 looking happy, if slightly tired.
"Opening on a Wednesday Simeon? Is there something going on that I've missed?"
"Boredom more like. I reckon it's better to be occupied than just kicking my heels around here doing nothing. I don't think we'll get any takers but it brought you two out so why not?"
"Will you be doing food?"
"Wholesalers don't deliver 'til tomorrow so probably not. We had such a good week last week so there's not much to offer, even if we had any interest."
"What do you need, like desperately?"
"Salad stuff mainly. Oh and fish – we are almost out of everything, otherwise I can wait it out."
"Rob and I can drive to Helston and get the fish and salad stuff is easy enough. Make up a list and we're on our way."
"Well that would be very good of you if you could. I mean if we're slack, at least I could do some prepping up rather than leaving it til tomorrow."
"Fine. I'll go and get the car while you decide what you need." And with that, Cath left Rob and I to finish our coffee.
"Made it up then Rob?"
"Yeah and does it ever feel good!
Can I, like say something? Something private?"
"It was just something she said last night, something about you and her brother."
"Ah. So what did she say?"
"Look, I'm sorry for shoving my nose in where it isn't wanted but…… oh shit this is difficult."
"Just spit it out Rob!"
"Alright. She said that he has something of a soft spot for you. Is that true?"
"Yes. More than just a little. He calls me his Mimi-cu."
"Yes, and I suspect I know what your next question is going to be, so why don't you just go ahead and ask it?"
"Okay. What the fuck does that mean?"
Rob spluttered over his drink.
" Boy God!!"
"Yeah – Boy God, and by the way, you're meant to drink coffee, not inhale it."
"But that's absolutely priceless! "
"Not to him it isn't. He means it, so don't go taking the piss out of him."
"I've no intention of doing anything like that – honest, but how do you feel about it?"
"Mixed feelings I guess. At first I was shocked that he could feel that way, but there's something you should try and understand.
In his culture, up until three weeks ago, the only culture he's ever known, such things are seen as perfectly acceptable, normal even, and while we still have hang-ups when it comes to same sex relationships, where he's from there are no such misgivings. He's an adult back there in his village and is free to choose, but here? He is having not a little difficulty understanding that he's still a child and at his age, definitely not acceptable behaviour."
"So, you kind of slapped him down then?"
"No I didn't, and so now here's the frightening bit.
I have feelings towards him too. Feelings I've never before experienced, and it really bothers me."
"You…… love him?"
"I reckon so. I'm not proud of it either."
"We're all different Simeon. If you love him then you should feel proud, and especially of him."
"But he's only fourteen Rob! I'm seventeen and it just isn't right!"
"Does it feel right for you, like deep down?"
"Then as you both feel the same way towards each other, he's not about to go telling anyone, neither are you and you can be sure I'm not going to, just get on with your lives.
I had quite a chat with him last evening, he was animated, happy and laughing. Now does that sound like your archetypal abused child to you?"
"Stop with the sodding buts why don't you? From what you've told me, he has nothing to fear from you and everything to be happy about. You want each other then go for it!"
"Thanks Rob. You don't have any qualms about having a gay mate?"
"I often wondered if you might be what with you and Cathy being so damned close yet with no signs of romance? No, I'm totally cool with it, and one other thing? Your sexuality is your business and yours alone, so that's one other thing that stays with me.
Now what on earth is keeping her?"
We weren't busy, trade was steady, also we did do a few meals which made opening worthwhile, but then at one o'clock Cath took a phone call.
"Simeon? It's your Mum for you."
I left the bar to Aruno and went through to take it.
"Hello Mum? How are you feeling?"
"Much better thanks.
Why are you open on a Wednesday?"
"Bored! It was worth it though."
"Nice work son.
I plan on coming home tomorrow. Peter is going to drive me back in my car then I can do the short run to the station so he can get the train back."
"I don't want you driving just after your operation Mum. I'll get either Cathy or Rob to run him."
"Rob? Rob Adams?"
"Yes. He and Cathy are dating."
"Isn't he a bit wayward for her?"
"He's changed. You'll like the new version!"
"What about her brother?"
"Aruno? He's fine. He's been with me here and been working his bits off."
"Sounds as if I'm surplus to requirements."
"We've coped very well, so much so in fact, you can convalesce safe in the knowledge that the business isn't about to go under!
It'll be good to have you home Mum."
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