WATCHING AND WAITING by Sally Stackhouse
Would you just look at that car? Who did her neighbours think they were? Lording it over everyone in the cul-de-sac, she didn’t need x-ray vision to see how pretentious Mr. and Mrs. Snobby-Trumped-Up, new residents in their quiet and leafy lane were.
After all he was only a gardener. She’d looked him up on Facebook, John Smith, Landscape Gardener. He didn’t even come home grubby and muddy, obviously he had minions to do that for him. Where was his work vehicle? He surely to goodness didn’t go to work in that beautiful blue car sitting outside his freshly painted front porch.
Maureen knew she had a trait of jealousy; she’d been like it all her life. Her darling Reg always tried to see the other side of everything she said, so that the envy she felt when people had more than she did wasn’t always rearing its ugly head and making her say nasty things. Reg did his best, bless him, and Maureen had put in her fair share of hard work with their finances by working two jobs when the kids were little. For several years they were ships in the night that passed each other by, never stopping to say hello.
Now the kids were grown up and had flown the nest, making their own way in life. Maureen and Reg loved nothing more than when the teenage grandchildren came for a visit, it wasn’t very often these days.
Josh had shown her how to use her laptop and Facebook and once she’d got to grips with it, she ‘friended’ everybody she knew, even the grandchildren, wishing they would write their posts without the swear words and use proper grammar. What was the use of a good education if they were only going to flunk out?
Maureen moved away from the window, dusted the shelves with her precious ornaments on them and settled down to look at Facebook again. Her husband hardly went on it anymore, he thought it was rather banal but Maureen thought it was better than watching all the soaps on the telly.
Oh, look, Ben had put up a post. What? No, no, no. He can’t say that, he really can’t. His profile information gave him as a nationalist and a proud one at that but really and truly he cannot post such inflammatory things.
Maureen got on the phone to her son. Spluttering, incandescent with mortification she made sure her son would have a word with Ben. Although, much to her surprise, Tom wasn’t all that keen on talking to his own son. Apparently, they hadn’t spoken properly in several years. Now what was that all about? She’d had no idea.
Reg chose that moment to come in to the living room, seeing his wife red in the face and so upset, he gathered her in to his arms. He patted her back, making soothing noises until she’d calmed down enough to tell him what had got her dander up so badly.
Reg reasoned with Maureen, as she knew he would, saying she could not interfere, whatever she did she must not make a comment – she would need to use all her willpower but it wouldn’t serve any purpose to make matters worse.
Nodding in agreement, Maureen tearfully agreed with Reg. She wouldn’t comment on his post. While her head was agreeing with Reg, she was also thinking: just wait until I see the little toe-rag, I’ll have it out with him.
Poor Ben, thought Reg, he was going to get a real ear-bashing the next time he came to visit. He probably wouldn’t come though. It was such a shame when the youngsters forgot their grandparents. It was the way of the world now though. If Maureen didn’t use Facebook, she wouldn’t know what anybody was up to. She was the modern version of the ‘nosy neighbour’ instead of tweaking back the net curtains and peering out of the window, she was trolling through that awful laptop. Reg went to put the kettle on. A nice cup of tea and a ginger biscuit would soon settle their nerves down.
Word count: 691