Life With Mabel: Part Sixteen

This is the sixteenth part of a fiction serial, in 770 words.

Winifred Finch was the only child of doting parents. But they didn’t spoil her, and made sure she knew right from wrong and was never badly behaved. From her first day at school she decided she didn’t like boys. They were naughty, dirty, smelly, and annoying. So she made sure to sit next to Margaret, the girl with the wavy hair and dimples. If Shirley Temple had been English, she would have been Margaret. Confident, pretty, and as bright as a button too.

When they both went to the girl’s Grammar School, she stuck with Margaret. They became inseparable, and helped each other through the problems of puberty. By the age of thirteen, they had experimented during sleepovers, and Winnie was sure she had found her way in life. But Margaret’s dad was in the Air Force, based near Cambridge. They moved him during the war, and he was sent to Coastal Command, in Kent. Winnie cried for two whole days after she lost her best friend and sometime lover, and her parents had no idea how to comfort her.

Choosing a career in nursing was a lifesaver. They were crying out for nurses close to the end of the war, and she went away to train in Cambridge. Her world was full of women her age, and they shared dormitories, bathrooms, and secrets. Though she never saw Margaret again, she found others to crush on. But there was a real problem. They all talked about men. They wanted to get married to war heroes, and have lots of children. For some years, Winnie was desperately lonely.

Then she went to work at the County Hospital, and met the new matron, Miss Harrison. As soon as she saw her, she knew the older woman was looking at her in a particular way. A way that only women like her understood. It was surprisingly easy at that time. Two women friends were considered to be companions. They could spend holidays away together, see each other socially, go on day trips, and sleep at each other’s houses. Nobody seemed to think that was remotely unusual. They just assumed that the women would marry, when the right man came along. And there was a shortage of men, with so many killed in the war.

Those years with Barbara Harrison were the best years of her life. They kept up the pretence at work of course, but their free time was like paradise. Whenever Winnie became annoyed at their unspoken love, Barbara would calm her down, reassure her, make her feel so special. They could never take it to the next stage of course. Winnie’s mum had died, and there was no question that she would stay at home and look after her beloved father. But Barbara was welcome at her house, and if her dad suspected anything, he never once questioned her.

Then Barbara found a lump on her breast. The doctors investigated, but nothing could be done. The cancer had already spread to her liver and lungs, and the end came quickly. Winnie’s heart was so broken at the death of her one true love, she thought she would never recover. But soon after that her dad became ill, and she had to focus on caring for him, and living on memories.

That was her life until he died. Dedicated, caring, and selfless. By the time her next door neighbour died, and the house went up for sale, Winnie felt that she was due for some happiness.

Then when she met Mabel for the first time, she hoped she had found it again.

It was so easy to deal with Reg. He was obviously inexperienced, and had no idea about being married, or how to act with women. She had told Mabel she would work something out, and she did just that. Asking Reg to help her with a fuse box situation one evening, she discovered she was right. He was so easy to seduce, she didn’t even have to go all the way with him, which would have been her first time with a man.

He was breathing hard after that incident, and red in the face. “Please don’t tell Mabel, she would never forgive me”. Winnie assured him she would never tell Mabel. It would be their secret. But perhaps he could see his way clear to giving Mabel more freedom? She could stop over at her house more frequently, and they could go on trips together? Reg was nodding so fast, happy to accept any arrangement.

The next day, Winnie told Mabel, and they both laughed so hard, they couldn’t speak.

31 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Sixteen

  1. (1) Snowdon Aviary sweepstakes sign: “Win A Free Finch!”
    (2) Camels are naughty, dirty, smelly, and annoying. But women still ride them!
    (3) Everyone simply adored Shirley Temple’s dimples.
    (4) Overheard:
    Miss Finch: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
    Miss Harrison: “If only my name was Barbara Heron…”
    (5) Overheard: “That barber’s Harry’s son.”
    (6) They say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But Jim Morrison didn’t think so. He sang, “Come on baby, light my fuse!” (or something like that).
    (7) When Barbara visited Egypt, she thought the desert trek would be on horseback. But then she found a lump on her beast. “Oh, it’s a camel?” (She rode it anyway.)
    (8) Winnie recorded on tape all the sexcapades she’s lied about. (Sex, lies, and videotape)

    Liked by 1 person

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