tagMatureRetired at Christmas

Retired at Christmas

byoggbashan©

Retired at Christmas

Copyright Oggbashan November 2017

The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.


*************************************************

I had spent last Christmas with my younger son's family in their home. The Christmas before had been with my elder son in New Zealand.

This Christmas I would be alone. I couldn't afford another trip to New Zealand and my younger son and family would be with his wife's parents in Scotland.

About eighteen months ago I had sold the family home. As a single widower I couldn't see the point of running a four bed roomed detached house. I moved into a retirement flat. I had split the remaining proceeds of downsizing between my two sons so that they could reduce their mortgages. The retirement apartment block wasn't for the really elderly but for the retired. There was no warden nor staff nor any communal facilities except a common room for "entertaining guests" and a hospitality flat that could be rented by the night for visitors from a distance.

Every flat was small with one or two bedrooms. As a widower I had bought a one-bedroom flat. My younger son lives less than ten miles away. If my elder son and family were to come from New Zealand they would stay with my younger son.

I didn't feel lonely. I still had many connections in the town and I was active in several clubs and societies. Except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day I would have a hectic calendar for late December. I would probably attend at least six formal Christmas Dinners.

I was slightly concerned about those two blank days. I knew that other people in the block would have blanks on those two days. Why shouldn't I do something about those blanks?

The more I thought about Christmas Day, the more I convinced myself that I should organise something for the residents left alone over Christmas. I'd need some help. Who could I ask?

The obvious person was my immediate next-door neighbour Patricia. She, like me, was heavily involved in the community. She and her husband had been friends of my wife and me for decades. Now Patricia was widowed, and had been nearly as long as I had been a widower. Anything Patricia became associated with was run well. Next time I saw her I'd discuss my ideas with her. I had plenty of time. It was still September.

About two weeks later Patricia and I were on the same table for an early evening charity Wine and Wisdom event. When the quiz was over I asked if I could have a word with her. She looked at me carefully.

"I suspect you're going to ask me to do something I might regret," she said.

I nodded.

"If so, we need some quiet time. Help me clear up here and we can go to the flats' common room."

I agreed. I should have known better. It took us over an hour to clear the mess in the church hall. We walked the short distance back to our building and turned into the ground floor common room. As usual it was occupied by the same group of elderly ladies watching repeats of a soap opera. Pat and I started to talk but were obviously disturbing the dedicated TV addicts.

"This won't do," I whispered. "How about a drink across the road?"

We went to the local public house. It still resisted music and noisy activities, relying on well-kept beer and basic food. We found a corner. I bought the drinks.

"OK, Brian, what do want to talk to me about?" Patricia asked.

"Christmas, particularly Christmas Day," I replied.

"I'm up to my neck in it in the weeks leading up to Christmas," she protested.

"So am I. But what about Christmas Day itself, or Boxing Day? Are you doing anything? Visiting relations or friends?"

"Well, no..."

"Neither am I. Nor will be many of the flats' residents. I thought..."

"Won't you be visiting Chris and Helen?"

"Not this year. They're going to Helen's parents for Christmas. I'll see them before and after Christmas but I'll be alone on Christmas Day. Will you be?"

"Probably. I don't like travelling at Christmas and Martin and family will still be in Germany until next Spring. So what's the catch?"

"I thought that we could organise something for the residents on Christmas Day. Nothing much. A meal, perhaps some carol singing, maybe a few party games..."

"I can see what you mean, Brian, but you haven't lived in the flats very long. Many of those who will be alone are alone because they want to be or are just plain awkward cusses who can't stand their families, or their families can't stand them. I tried to organise some events and outings a couple of years ago but I gave up. I just couldn't motivate them enough."

I should have listened more carefully to Patricia. If she had tried and failed, was I more likely to succeed? I persuaded her, against her better judgement, to try to organise a Christmas Day event.

The next few weeks were frustrating. The first obstacle was the TV-watching mafia. There was no way they would give up the common room on Christmas Day even though all of them had televisions in their rooms. They sat there almost all day, everyday, and they weren't going to move for a party. They certainly wouldn't join in with a party. They just wanted to sit in silence watching the TV. They couldn't possibly miss -- whatever was on whenever I suggested the party could happen.

We could have hired a room in the pub across the road. The landlord was willing especially for Patricia and me. He knew that whatever either of us organised would run well and cause no problems for him.

We found out who would be alone at Christmas. It was at least one third of the residents, about eighty people. But we couldn't even get a dozen of them to commit to coming to a Christmas Dinner and Party. As for paying for it? Forget it! They all repeated that as if they had agreed the message.

About a month before Christmas Patricia and I were in our usual corner in the pub. We had spent many hours there over the last couple of months, planning, plotting, working on tactics to involve people -- but everything had failed. It must have showed on my face.

Patricia put her hand out to rest on mine.

"Never mind, Brian. You tried. You tried hard. But they're too set in their ways. Some of them behave as if they're in their nineties when they're actually younger than us. They've come to the flats to vegetate until they're carried out in their coffins. You and I, and a few others, who'll be away at Christmas, have more life in our bodies than the rest of them added together."

I nodded. It was true.

"But what am I going to do on Christmas Day?" I asked.

"That's simply answered," said Patricia. "You and I go out for a walk and then have Christmas Dinner together. Your place or mine?"

I hadn't considered that. I looked at her. She was smiling at me. I had spent many hours with an intelligent delightful woman trying to help others and hadn't thought about us.

"I'm not much of a cook..."

"Then it's my place. You can be cook's helper. Want another drink?"

"Yes please."

The evening seemed suddenly brighter. We could have a great day together at Christmas.

When Patricia returned with the drinks I asked her out for a meal. She accepted. By the middle of December we had been to several local restaurants as a couple. We had to fit our outings around our other activities for the community but we could usually manage to be alone for a meal at least once a week.

I started to worry about whether I should buy a Christmas present for Patricia. What would she like? Eventually I asked her.

"Nothing," she replied, "and I'm not going to get anything for you either. We have everything we need. I'd rather spend the money on another meal out together. Wouldn't you?"

"Yes."

A week before Christmas we went to an expensive restaurant in the City instead of buying Christmas presents. I had booked it a week in advance. Unfortunately that was disappointing. The meal didn't match our expectations. We had had better meals for half the price. The venue was great, the service was impeccable but the food? Just ordinarily good, not exceptional. We could have had a better meal in many of our local restaurants.

In the taxi travelling back to the retirement block Patricia snuggled against me. She was wearing a long evening gown with a fake fur jacket. I was in my tuxedo with white tie. As we walked back into the foyer we felt overdressed. Most of the residents lived in sloppy casual clothes. The regulars watching TV glared at us, daring us to disturb them.

We walked upstairs. Neither of us used the lift unless we had a large amount of shopping. I followed Patricia, admiring the wiggle of her backside in her gown. As we turned a corner in the stairs she noticed where I was looking.

"Down boy!" she said. "It's nice that you still like my body, Brian, but must you make it so obvious that you love my backside?"

"But..."

Patricia turned around. She pressed a finger against my lips.

"It's my butt, not yours. But you are coming into my place for a nightcap."

"If that's what you want, Patricia?"

"It is. We need to compensate for that pathetic meal."

We hadn't had any wine at the restaurant. We had looked at the wine list, winced at the prices for mediocre wine, and stayed with plain water. Patricia made up for it. We shared a bottle of a good French red wine with French cheese and biscuits. We started sitting side by side on her small settee. We ended with Patricia's butt firmly on my lap, her arms around my neck, mine around her waist, and kissing like young lovers.

Patricia had pushed me out of her front door just after midnight with a goodnight kiss. I dreamed of Patricia that night. Her nicely rounded butt featured significantly in my dreams.

+++

We were busy with community activities for the next few days. There are so many events just before Christmas that we are involved in. For some of them we were both present but too frantic to do much more than acknowledge each other's presence. Patricia kissed me on the cheek a couple of times as she passed. Several other women of her age also kissed me when we met. Patricia's public greeting wasn't more than theirs.

We had arranged that I would come to her apartment at ten in the morning on Christmas Day. We would prepare the meal, put it in the oven, and if the weather was suitable go for a walk. Patricia told me to be dressed for the walk, not the meal. We would eat informally unlike the meals in restaurants when we both dressed for the occasion.

As she opened the door I thought she hadn't followed her own dress advice. She was wearing a floor length red skirt. She plucked at it.

"I'll change before we go out, Brian. This just pulls off and I have my jeans underneath. Think of it as an apron. It's old and easily washed."

It might be old and easily washed. It emphasised the wiggle as she walked with its folds swaying. I would have liked to pat Patricia's butt. I didn't want to upset her.

The meal preparation didn't take long. Half an hour later everything was in the oven. Patricia went into her bedroom. Seconds later she was out again and her long skirt had gone.

We walked down the stairs. Patricia followed me down. Once we were out of sight of the retirement black Patricia took my hand. We walked through the deserted streets of our town. The only people we saw were a few dog walkers. We went down to the riverside, normally thronged with walkers and cyclists. No one was there. We walked along the river watching the ducks, swans and other birds swimming lazily around. No one was causing a flurry of birds by feeding them unsuitable bread.

We had walked half a mile in silence not caring where or how far we walked. Patricia's hand pulled me to a stop.

"You like me, don't you, Brian?" She said suddenly.

"You know I do," I replied. "It's more than like, Patricia. I love you."

I'd said it. Out loud. I should have said it weeks or months ago. I loved Patricia.

"I don't want to marry again, Brian. It would complicate things with my family."

"As it would for mine, Patricia. Our children and grandchildren expect to inherit what we have left."

"If it wasn't for our families... Oh, sod it, Brian! I want you. As my lover! In my bed! You love me. I love you. We're single, retired. Who cares if we live together?"

I would have answered but Patricia had grabbed my head to pull me into a passionate kiss. We kissed and kissed, giggled, laughed and even cried as we realised we could have each other. We didn't care what our families would think. We certainly didn't care what the TV-watching mafia would think. Two retired people were in love and happy in that love.

After that Christmas lunch we went to bed together in the middle of the afternoon. We hadn't even washed up. We got up to make a light evening meal and washed up after that. We went back to bed to spend the night between Christmas Day and Boxing Day wrapped around each other.

We were wrong about some things. Our families supported us and thought we should have got together long ago. The TV-watching mafia were so pleased when we left the retirement block to move into a shared small bungalow that they even gave us a 'Best Wishes in your New Home' card.

We may not have many years together but we'll enjoy ourselves in and out of bed. We won't try to organise any more Christmas parties. Christmas is for us -- in bed together.

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by Anonymous

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by JudyLee11/21/17

A sweet story.

They deserve to spend their lives together. I'm glad they found each other.

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by Spencerfiction11/21/17

Lovely Christmas story

Loved it, perfect for this time of year. Definite 5* for me.

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by Anonymous11/20/17

Retired At Christmas

Single Widower? Are there married widowers? I know there are merry widows, but please, the redundancy is overwhelming.
My wife and me...Come on, mate, you know better.
I'm on this road myself. I've a numbermore...

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by oldbob6811/20/17

Loved it

As a 60yo who hangs out in a bar with others my age I understand and appreciate the story.

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by rightbank11/20/17

Good for them

They tried to include others, but it worked out as it should.

Thanks

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