Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Small Hands

Small hands, big thighs. That’s what he liked.

‘He’ being Stuart.

The lovable rogue, but only in his mother’s eyes and father’s pub-talk. Hated by most others. An imbecile, according to the graffiti scrawled crazily across the bus shelter up by Maud’s card shop. The gents’ toilets in the Hay & Scythe tell of other names that are not repeatable. Not out loud, in public. I have that on good authority, not having frequented them.

Stuart. A simple man with simple tastes. He likes to strike out, to hit; to offer a beating or two. Especially after a pint of Hamerton’s Ale. Definitely after several pints. Mostly to women. Almost exclusively, as it happens.
Certain types, though. Just those with small hands and big thighs.
Not that it’s an excuse I would offer up.

I only knew Stuart from afar. Like dentists with bad teeth, he was always best avoided. Mind you, I wasn’t really his type. I was a straight up-and-down kinda girl, which made my hands look larger than they actually were. Athletic, when being nice to my face; boyish behind my back. And probably worse.

He only wore black jackets and blue jeans. The two colours he shared with the skin of the women he picked up, out over Waldsley or Shetly way, once he'd finished with them. Places where his reputation wasn’t as tarnished as the brass on the handle in the back room of St. Mary’s church. News didn’t seem to spread fast, though; the girls, embarrassed, perhaps, didn’t talk. They hid and the bruises and blemishes faded even as their memories of Stuart personal brand of love remained strong and vibrant. Maybe the odd tattle here and there, but nothing that seemed to stop Stuart. Until that warm June Sunday evening. Then it all began to unravel for him.
And for the rest of us, implicated as complicit.

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