In Laws

My in laws had come up to town and we were going to a show and then out to dinner.  I had arranged it on my return to the UK and before the Pikey job had come up.  I had rung Cynthia and Bill to say that because of work I would be unable to go, but they should pop in and have tea and a chat and to get the tickets.

I haven’t seen them for awhile and they looked very well.  They are good people, a bit serious sometimes and they didn’t always approve of my flippant attitude to life and line of work.  They had been teachers and had met whilst working as missionaries in Zambia years ago.  We have always got on very way.  I am not saying we have not had our differences, but nothing that we could not sort out.

I introduced L to them and explained she was my housekeeper. Almost immediately MIL saw was the arrangement of the photos.

“Who did that?” asked MIL in a slightly stern tone.
“I did” Said L, looking a little ill at ease and I suspect she remembered my little outburst on Friday.

“Thank you” said MIL “It was very thoughtful,  I always felt they looked a little ….separated, just stuck up on the wall.  No offence Norman”

“None taken”

FIL looked at me and slightly rolled his eyes to heaven

“Dont make that face please Bill” said MIL without turning to look at him.

He and I exchanged glances.

“Who is this little fellow” continued MIL.
“Frederick, my son” said L

“He’s a handsome lad, how old is he?”

“He was 15 months, …that photo ..was taken …just a week or so before…..”  Her words caught in her throat.
Without saying a word, MIL turned and looked at L and put her arms around her and pulled her to her, gently but firmly and kissed the side of her head.   L put her head into MILs shoulder.

Two mothers bound by the same experience.
“I know darling, I know”  whispered MIL  “Norman, put the kettle on please”

I made the tea whilst MIL and L sat on the settee and chatted away to each other. I thought I better get the tickets for the show and dinner out before I forgot and gave them to the in Laws.

“And what are you doing this evening L?” asked MIL

“I am going to watch television” said L a little quietly.
“Well that seems a bit silly, we have three tickets here for the theatre and dinner and there doesn’t seem much point in letting one go to waste does there, why dont you come with us?”


“Yes dear you, we would be delighted to spend the evening with you”

“But I don’t have anything to wear”  said L.  As she said it I remembered the little carry on case that constituted her worldly goods.

MIL looked at her watch and said there was still time to get her sorted before the shops shut, and they were gone.

About two hours later they were back with some bags.

L went into her room to change and MIL looked at me and then rounded on me.

“Norman, you should be ashamed of yourself”

“She is my housekeeper” I said defensively
“And that gives you the excuse not to look after the poor girl?”


“I haven’t finished yet.  She is a lovely girl and deserves better than to be just shut up in this flat looking after you”


“She doesn’t have anything, she has lost the most valuable thing in her life, you of all people should know that she is vulnerable.  If I get the slightest whiff that you are not looking after her properly and giving her the affection and love that she needs I will be down on you like a ton of hot bricks”

“Love, affection?”

“Yes Norman,  Love and affection, look them up in the dictionary if you have forgotten the meaning of the words”

“But there is nothing going on” I protested.

“I think that’s the point that Cynthia is making” said Bill gently

At this point L came out of her room in her new clothes.  Fuck me show looked lovely.  I smiled and L beamed back at me and looked radiant.
MIL patted me on the cheek.

“You know Norman you have a lovely smile, you  should wear it more often, it suites you”

2 Responses to “In Laws”

  1. dl says:

    There you go, twanging at the heart strings again. When I first stumbled across your writing, you seemed hard as nails. Perhaps that was just the bloggerinfrance who caused the red mist to descend. But there seems to be a big soft centre in there.

    I guess the pikeys won’t be seeing any of that side of you, though?

  2. Oh, big lump in throat…

    This is so beautiful.
    I love it

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