Chronicles of a Changed Man 01

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Paddy Gets a Wake-Up Call

I am a pensioner in my late sixties living in a modest three bedroom house in a small private estate on the Southern outskirts of Dublin, but at the time of the events I am about to relate I was living in a studio apartment on the second floor of a retirement home on the north side of the city.

I am a solitary person by nature and could only take the other residents of the home in small doses, so I tended to avoid going down to the communal room to mix with them. They in their turn, never sought me out for inclusion in their company, so it was a mutually accepted antisocial standoff.

My insular disposition could be attributed to the fact that I was reared in a very dysfunctional family. Both my parents were alcohol abusers and fought alternately, depending on circumstances, over the fact that they had drank all their money or that there wasn’t enough money to go drinking. My siblings and I suffered no physical abuse, but the nonexistence of affection and compassion or ordered discipline in our formative years scarred each of us in his or her own different way. I have not seen or heard from my sister or three brothers since we buried our father more than twenty years ago! He died, as did my mother two years before him, from alcohol related illnesses!

This neglectful upbringing impacted on me such that, by the time I reached my late teens, I was drinking heavily myself and my psychological and perhaps, genetic make-up, was such that, from the very day I started to drink I was on a slippery downward slope into alcohol dependence. I was considered by all who came to know me, even in those early years, to be a brooding introvert, best left to his own devices and by the time I reached my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed by one professional in the field of substance addiction, as a ‘functioning alcoholic’.

I was able to function enough to leave Ireland in nineteen sixty nine and go to London where I found work as a labourer on the building sites. It was a lonely existence, an endless round of working, drinking, sleeping and back to work the following day to perpetuate the miserable cycle. I consider myself to have been saved from this wretched existence and cured of the imprecation of alcohol abuse by a woman I met when I was thirty one, named Martha, whom I later married and who bore me two children. I intend to go into my life with my now deceased wife and my two children, from whom we had become estranged long before her death, in much more detail in other chapters where it will have more relevance.

Suffice it to say for now that it was Martha’s strength of character and her faith in her Catholic religion that rescued me and kept me on the straight and narrow for the following thirty years. She introduced me to God, instilled in me the importance of church attendance and prayer on a daily basis to keep the Devil’s influence out of my life. I trod the path she’d hewn for me through the tangled undergrowth of alcohol temptation and sexual desire relentlessly, even after she died of cancer twelve years ago.

When I returned to Ireland a few years after her death in a London hospital, I continued to attend daily morning mass at my local chapel and never lay my head down to sleep at night without reciting the Lord’s prayer and a few Hail Marys. That was until the following events changed my life forever and I realized how much of a misguided soul, my dearly departed Martha was, and how much I had contributed, by my passive acceptance of her dogmatic rule over our household, to the creation of another dysfunctional family and the estrangement of my own two children. I have formed the opinion that blind devotion to a supernal cause can be just as harmful as addiction to an earthly vice, and more odious given that devotion is a choice, addiction is not.

Prior to the events which follow, I had my daily routine of morning mass, walks in the Phoenix Park not far away and my daily newspaper and books to read. I was physically comfortable and secure, with adequate stimulation for my modest intellect, but I was immensely bored. I say I was bored and not lonely because that wasn’t, in effect, my emotional state, but I sometimes found it difficult to fill the empty hours of the evening if there was nothing good on the television, which was mostly always.

There you have it, all the pertinent circumstances, for this part of the story, of my past life up to that point, a few weeks after my sixtieth birthday, which had fallen on the eighteenth of July two thousand and eight.

It was an unseasonably chilly July afternoon, if chilly July afternoons can be considered unseasonable in Ireland, when I received the visit that would ultimately drive me from my previously pious path and onto a more, ethically questionable but heterogeneously enlightened highway. The devil’s highway, my Martha would have called it, no doubt, but one which would lead me back into the embrace of my bahis firmaları beloved children. A highway to that end could be, for me, nothing other than a righteous path to redemption and forgiveness, acceptance and tolerance and one I was happy to take and remain steadfastly on.

At first I thought the young lady was an official of some sort from the housing association or other such institution, perhaps a health inspector, as we used to get them occasionally. I estimated her to be in her mid twenties, she was attractive, with long black hair, about my own height of five nine in a pair of shiny black high-heeled shoes, the sort my Martha would have described as nonsensical and inappropriate. She was dressed businesslike in a dark, pinstriped knee-length skirt suit over an open necked blouse and her legs were clad in dark, sheer-nylon tights. I surmised they were tights, assuming that a lady of her obviously important position would not demean herself by wearing ‘nonsensical and inappropriate’ stockings.

My appraisal of her attire and general appearance at the time was merely an attempt to discern her purpose for being at my door and not a superfluous inspection of her qualities as a member of the opposite sex.

“You are Mr Murphy, aren’t you, Patrick Murphy?” she asked rhetorically when I queried if she was at the right address, obviously she was already privy to the identity of the resident living in the apartment to which she had been dispatched, for whatever investigative purpose she had to perform.

“Yes, I am.” I confirmed, a little brusquely, not being naturally disposed to open sociability, as previously outlined.

“May I come in,” she asked with a broad, full toothed smile which dimpled her cheeks in a somewhat, alluring manner.

“Yes of course.” I replied, my antisociality not descending to the depths of being impolite or rude. I stepped back and opened the door fully for her to enter.

“So! How are you Mr. Murphy?” she asked pleasantly, briefly taking in the interior of my studio apartment while turning a graceful, half pirouette to face me as I closed the door.

“I’m fine, thank you,” I answered, a little surprised at her cheerfulness and buoyancy, health inspectors normally being more staid and decorous. “I have no complaints, everything is as it should be.”

“Good.” came her response followed by a brief pause as she appeared to struggle for a suitable way to continue.

“Well, this is nice.” she said eventually, again glancing around my small but tidy apartment. “It’s nice and comfortable.” she concluded.

“Yes, yes it is.” I agreed, “Thank you.”

Another brief pause ensued and persisted until I was eventually compelled to force the issue of her presence in my home.

“What can I do for you?” I queried, as politely as I could.

“Oh!” she responded, momentarily discomposed, obviously taken aback by the question despite my adequately civilized delivery of it.

“You haven’t been expecting me, then? Nobody told you I was coming?” she asked.

“No!” I replied.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Murphy, but I thought you would have been informed. I’m from the visitors group…” she paused for a moment before continuing. “…with ‘Friends of the Elderly’.”

“Ah.” I acknowledged, with a little more annoyance than I had intended to impart, understanding then that this was to be an unrequested visit designed to alleviate me of the tedium of my enforced solitude, if only for a little while.

‘Friends of the Elderly’ is a voluntary organization in Ireland providing support and company to the elderly and isolated people living alone throughout the country. I knew of their existence through the day trips and outings they organized for the residents of the building where I lived, but had never experienced their brand of hospitality, giving my propensity for avoiding such excesses of sociability.

I was on the verge of politely releasing this poor young lady of what would undoubtedly be an irksome obligation for her, when, for some reason I still don’t know to this day, I had a change of heart and invited her to sit down. A momentous change of heart it would prove to be and one I am enormously happy to have had.

She accepted my offer of a seat, taking one of the two leather armchairs in the apartment while I reclined, a little stiffly, in the other one. The armchairs were arranged perpendicularly to each other around a coffee table with a three seater settee on the opposite side of the table, all close to the wide screen television fixed to the wall.

After a laborious, perfunctory start with the usual topics that typify the opening conversation of the newly acquainted, we began to relax and our discourse became more interesting. Precisely why it became so was lost on me at the time as, during the earlier part of our discussion, I merely learned her name was Tina, that she was South African and in Dublin on a working holiday. All information kaçak iddaa that would normally have struck me as mundane and of little interest, just as I would have expected the details of my life and existence would have been to a woman of such a vastly different generation to mine.

But soon, the conversation flowed increasingly more freely and I learned that she was in her final year of training to be an advertising executive in her home town of Johannesburg and had secured an unpaid, two month work experience position with a company in Dublin, a city she had always wanted to visit. She confirmed to me that she was twenty six, was engaged to Eric, her childhood sweetheart, whom she was due to marry shortly after her return to Johannesburg. In the latter part of our discourse during that first visit, we touched on various topics intrinsically relevant to our respective countries and Tina spoke with an intelligence that was engaging and gratifying.

The allocated time of one hour for her visit passed surprisingly quickly and I found myself unexpectedly downhearted when she announced it was time for her to leave. Normally I would have been only too glad to see the back of someone in whose company I had passed, what was for me, such an extended period of time. She left with an offer to return at the same time the following week, should I wish to receive her for another call. Before I realised, I had replied that I would be glad to see her and furthermore informed her that I would look forward to it. As she left, it occurred to me that, far from it being a polite formality to a departing guest, it was true, and I was indeed looking forward to her next visit. Closing the door, I looked at the time on my watch and made a mental note of the day and hour that she had arrived so as to know when to expect her back. Thursday, two o’clock!

The following week seemed to pass slower than normal with the things that irritated me about trying to fill the empty hours chafing me more than usual. I realized that, for the first time in many years, I was looking forward to something and even began to worry that Tina wouldn’t show up. I decided to make an effort at being a respectable host and by one o’clock of the appointed day, I was showered, shaved and in my Sunday best suit, shirt and tie.

At half past two on the Thursday, she still hadn’t arrived and, somewhat crestfallen, I had begun to unravel the knot in my tie when there was a soft knock at the door and I had to quickly redo it as I hurried across the apartment to answer. Tina was standing in the hallway when I opened the door and smiled broadly at me as she looked me up and down and raised her eyebrows in approval of my attire.

While I had gone to considerable lengths to be presentable to her, she, on the other hand, appeared to have ‘dressed down’ for this visit and was wearing denim jeans with calf high, black leather boots while sporting a casual jacket over another open necked blouse. We both smiled at each other in tacit amusement at this unexpected reversal in dress code.

With an apology for being a bit late, Tina stepped into the apartment as I held the door open for her and then asked me how I was as she made her way towards the same armchair that she had sat in on her previous visit.

“I’ve been very well, thank you Tina, and you?” I answered and followed up without waiting for an answer by asking her if she would like something to drink. Tea? Coffee? Or maybe a soft drink? I had, at some point during the week while reminiscing about her first visit, been hit with the sudden realization that I hadn’t offered her any refreshment at the time and was probably a bit overzealous in attempting not to repeat such an unsociable misdemeanour second time round.

She answered that she would like a cup of coffee with milk but no sugar and I headed towards the kitchenette as she removed her jacket and sat down in the armchair. As you would expect in a studio apartment, the kitchenette was visible from the seating area and we could clearly see each other while I got the coffees ready.

Once I had prepared and served the beverages, I sat in the armchair adjacent to hers and we commenced another period of the most pleasant small talk I have ever engaged in. We spoke of her studies in Johannesburg and hopes of finding employment there when she finished. She told me she had been to Croke Park to watch a Gaelic football match but just couldn’t get to grips with the rules of the game, something that I empathized with her about having abhorred it since childhood. On the other hand, she enjoyed soccer, was a Manchester United fan and harboured ambitions of one day going to see a home game at Old Trafford.

I had been a ‘red devils’ supporter all my life and had always wanted to attend a match at the hallowed ‘Theatre of Dreams’ but despite living all my adult life in England, only a few hundred miles from the venue, I never did. My Martha had no time for the sport and kaçak bahis considered it a disgraceful waste of money that could have been put to better use doing the Lord’s work through the church. I had been loathe to antagonize my dear wife by openly declaring my love of the game or divulging my perfidious desire to visit such an incongruous establishment as Old Trafford. However, I did manage to follow the team through newspaper reports and surreptitious viewings of ‘Match of the Day’ on Saturday nights, with the television on mute, when Martha retired early to bed in preparation for the Sabbath.

I realized as I let Tina out of my apartment at the end of that second visit that I had found a soul-mate in this girl nearly forty years my junior and I was becoming increasingly intrigued by her. I remained standing at the open door and watched her walk away down the corridor towards the stairs, or lift, I couldn’t tell as both were out of view from my door.

She hadn’t replaced her jacket, so carried it in the crook of her arm and I couldn’t help but notice, superfluously, that she was a fine specimen of womanhood. Underneath her blouse there was the faint outline of bra straps over her femininely broad shoulders and across her back where, between her shoulder blades, her silky black hair bounced and swung in time with her steps. Her back tapered down to her waist, the narrowness of which was emphasized by the leather belt looped through her jeans. Her bottom was taut and firm and swayed handsomely as she sashayed confidently away on legs that were long and slender with strong athletic thighs and well defined calves encased in her soft leather boots. Suddenly realizing that I had been inappropriately observing her, I said a quick act of contrition and banished the vision from my mind, just as she physically disappeared around the corner and towards the stairs, or lift.

During the course of our chat earlier, she’d revealed to me that she had been late that afternoon because of the trouble she’d had booking her flight home to South Africa for two weeks later. She had eventually managed to find a seat on a plane at a suitable day and time to coincide with the termination date of her work experience and was really excited about seeing her family and friends again and especially her fiance, Eric.

We had arranged a third visit for the same time the following week and, such was my enthusiasm for the appointment, the days dragged even more slowly than the previous week. But, as it relentlessly does, time did pass and Tina once again arrived at my apartment at the appointed hour. When she did, she was wearing the same style of tight fitting denim jeans and boots but this time wore a short leather jacket to compliment them. She was carrying a small plastic shopping bag and when I let her into my apartment this time, she went directly to the kitchenette and placed the bag on the counter before slipping off the jacket. Beneath it she was wearing a close-fitting white T-shirt tucked into her jeans, under which a lace patterned bra was clearly visible through the thin fabric.

She insisted I sit down and let her make the coffee this time and, ignoring my protests, set about the preparations with her back to me. From my position in the armchair, I was able to admire her wonderful, pear-shaped bottom in the tight fitting jeans as she moved about in my kitchenette. The jeans had no back pockets and there was no telltale knicker line beneath so the material clung like a second skin to her buttocks separated up the middle by the heavily stitched denim seam.

I felt the first stirrings of an erection in my penis for many a year and felt acutely embarrassed that this young lady was awakening desires in me that not even my poor departed wife of thirty plus years had ever elicited. I forced myself to look away and invoked the Lord to deliver me from evil and let me not be led into temptation.

Tina finished making the coffee, placed some cakes from the plastic shopping bag on a plate and brought them back to the coffee table between the armchairs, her jeans moulded itself perfectly to her shapely thighs as she crossed one knee over the other after sitting down opposite me. Then, as she leaned forward to take a cake from the plate on the table, her ample chest pushed out the front of her T-shirt, revealing the swell of her upper breasts spilling over the cups of her bra underneath. All much more clearly visible beneath the taut fabric of the garment, at close proximity. The lace of the bra was of such delicate constitution, it failed to completely suppress her nipples which were denoted by a discernible bump on each T-shirt clad breast. My invocations were being sorely challenged!

“Help yourself, Mr Murphy” she said pleasantly and my penis began a slow ascent to full erection for what must have been the first time in ten years. I had to shift myself in my seat and adjust the wide end of my tie strategically in my lap to conceal the extent of my sexual arousal as I leaned forward to take a cake and my cup of coffee. I was once again in my Sunday best suit trousers, shirt and, thankfully, wide tie, but I had left my suit coat hanging in the wardrobe.

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