20. Of Peace and War

20. Of Peace and War

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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A SUMMER UNDER THE SUN Part 20

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The Crab and Winkle was a jolly ancient and rather small pub that was famous in the area for its steak pie with chips and gravy if not for its beer, which the locals praised to the heavens and holiday-making visitors found pretty flat and tasteless.

It wasn’t that either of the seventeen year-old Darren or Jennifer were willingly following the dictates of the law by having soft drinks rather than alcohol, but that neither of them particularly enjoyed stronger drinks than orangeade. It was the steak pie that they went to the Crab and Winkle for. By the end of that first day they were both hungry and ready for a good meal.

Jenny and Darby had saved them a couple of places at their table, and far from being the unpleasant and quarrelsome duo they had first seemed to be, to start with they were pleasantness itself. Darby had a keen sense of humour whilst Jenny was sweetness itself, and had they not been heard engaged in a bitter exchange earlier that day her sweetness might have been convincing. But neither Darren nor Jennifer could completely shake off the memory of the slanging match they had been privy to.

They swiftly learned about them as well, and the story they told wasn’t exactly typical of newly-weds.

This is our honeymoon,” Darby explained, “we once said, oh, aeons ago, that if we got married we would celebrate the fact in a tent at the seaside, and we got married a couple of weeks ago. We did actually have a proper hotel honeymoon in Spain, though, and that was fun. We went there for a week, lived like king and queen of creation, and then came here for a week in order to keep the promise we made to each other. This, we decided is real life whilst slobbing in hotels is make-believe.”

Good idea,” murmured Darren, doubtfully. Maybe, he thought, that was the root of their argument, the contrast between being mollycoddled in a Spanish hotel as newly-weds and then having to fend for themselves under canvas.

As for us, we’re on our first holiday together,” explained Jennifer, “and so far, so good. We came on our bikes from home, and it took just about all day! We met this old guy while we were having a break, and he almost made me cry, the way he told how his mind kept going to happy days when he was younger. His girlfriend back then had the same name as me, Jennifer.”

And I’m a Jenny! Isn’t that cool! A Jenny and two Jennifers!” cooed the recent bride.

Anyway, all these years later he remembered her as if it was only yesterday that she went off with another man and he spent the rest of his life not knowing much about what she was doing until he heard that she was dead and buried,” explained Jennifer. “I found it so sad.”

From the way he put it he didn’t know that he ,oved her until it was too late,” added Darren

I’ll bet you haven’t even had your first row yet!” grinned Darby changing the subject. “We have: a good row clears the air!”

Not that we both enjoy rows,” put in Jenny, the hint of a frown darkening the sweetness of her face. Darren got the impression that besides a good sense of humour Darby had a tendency to be strong-willed and unlikely to bend the direction of his days to accommodate others, not even his wife.

It’s making up afterwards,” said Darby confidentially. “Some call it family planning but we call it fun!”

You do, you mean,” murmured Jenny, “as for me, I’d prefer the making up without the rows before it.”

Bah,” grinned Darby, “take this afternoon, for example, you started a red hot row with me when you tried to make me do our lunch as if I knew how to. I mean, it was only salad stuff but I’ve no idea how to do it.”

See how pathetic men are,” sighed Jenny, “can’t even chop tomatoes!”

Because it’s woman’s work. Always has been and always will be.”

Any further debate was cut short by the arrival of their steak pies, and in all honesty, thought Darren, they were quite special. But the best part of them was the way they cut short what promised to be a heated disagreement between the other two. Even the waitress, who had been privy to Darby’s last comment, gave him the sort of look that said she’d have nothing to do with his sort of bloke.

When she’d finished her pie Jennifer drained her drink and stood up.

I hope you don’t mind,” she said, “but we had a long ride today and it’s that time of the month. You know,” and she nodded at Jenny. “You can come too, Darren. I don’t know where I put my pads.”

I do,” he leapt up, seeing what her ruse was. “I’ll find them for you. You don’t mind, do you?” he added the last few words to the other two.

But you’ll be back?” asked Jenny.

I dunno,” he replied, “as Jennifer said, it’s been a long and arduous day and we’ve got stuff to sort out yet.”

They hopped off quickly, but not so fast that Darren managed to hear Jenny’s hissed “she’s the boss there, she is, like I should be!” before they were out of range of anything else that might have been said.

I didn’t know that you…” began Darren.

I’m not!” she hissed, “but I just wanted to get away from them! I got the idea they’re quite happy rowing about just about anything and there’s no fun in that. The last thing I want is for us to get involved in one of their domestics!

What about the bit about making up afterwards?”

Sex, he meant. And I don’t think it’s at all necessary for a couple to fall out in order for them to cuddle up, so to speak.”

He took her by one hand. It was dark, really pitch dark, and he felt the need to guide her along a short stretch of the road and to the Dunes camp site. Even on its newly mowed grass it was almost impossible to see where they were going. Fortunately there was a dim light burning inside the toilet block, and he knew if they made for that their tent wasn’t so far off.

You’re right there,” he assured her. “I don’t see how they’ve got anything like real love between them if they’re relationship’s as up and down as it seems to be.”

I wouldn’t like it,” she shivered, not because it was cold but because the idea of a life in battle caused her to, “a life of peace and war alternating is no life at all, I should imagine.”

Amen,” he replied as they reached their tent and gingerly climbed in.

© Peter Rogerson 18.05.21

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© 2021 Peter Rogerson


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Added on May 18, 2021
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Tags: meal, pubic house, amke-up, rows, arguments


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

Writing