Sunday, 23 October 2016

I was supposed to meet

someone yesterday. Let it be said that I wasn't very keen to do so and, in that sense, I was not sorry when she did not appear.
I am however annoyed that she did not bother to send a message to say she was not coming as she was the one who asked to meet. Yes, it was rude. Did she just forget, or did she have a good excuse.
I don't think I have ever "just forgotten" and failed to turn up somewhere when someone was expecting me. I don't think I have failed to tell someone if I couldn't be somewhere I was expected to be. If I have been late then it has been unavoidable and outside my control. 
I know people who are chronically late. In my teens, in order to earn enough "pocket money" for my fares to and from teacher training college I used to baby sit one night a week for a family with four children. (The other six nights were spent working as a "junior housemistress" in a boarding school.) The father of this family had a lecture to attend at university. The mother of the family went to orchestra practice. We knew them well. If you wanted the mother to be somewhere on time then you had to try telling her that an event that started at 8pm was starting at 7:30pm. Her husband would do this. Sometimes that would work, more often than not they would still be late.
"What did she do to be so late?" the Senior Cat has asked me more than once. I couldn't work it out then and I still can't work that out. She was always busy but I would arrive at just after 4pm and, for the next three hours, there would be a frantic rush for her to be ready to leave. I'd have the children bathed, fed and ready for bed by then. Her husband would have the washing up from the evening meal done and several other things as well...and he would have been home for about an hour.
She was, and still is, a lovely person. I am very fond of her but I know she won't be early.
Back then, when the car went off down the road, the eldest two would look at me and give huge sighs and there would be a plaintive demand for "Please can we have a story now?"
They came with their eldest daughter to an event recently - and yes, they were late.
But their daughter reminded me of those nights and said, "You know the thing I remember most about that time is you reading to us. It was always so good to snuggle in and just be quiet and listen."
I am glad I never forgot to go and read a story to them.

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