This is the latest of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. I thought ‘romance’ this week
Montgomery Small was, depending who was speaking: plump, well-covered, big-boned, fat and obese. All these labels acted on his confidence, draining him of hope. He was 25 and had accepted his fate. He retained only 2 ambitions: to be able to walk unaided and to meet someone who appreciated a rippled rather than ripped torso.
As his weight grew his mobility shrank, more from embarrassment than any physical limitation. He was virtually a recluse when a young smiley woman moved in next door. Glorious Ntoke had a good heart and a never say no attitude. She attempted to cajole Monty to join her on one of her many outings. Finally, she told him she would stop nagging if he came to see the famous stepping stones at Castle Drool.
‘It will be fun. You wait and see.’
When Monty still resisted, she said, ‘No one else will come with me. I’m frightened of the ghost. They say you can hear her humming when you walk over the stepping stones.’
She looked genuinely anxious and Monty’s heart shifted a little; he agreed.
By the time they arrived Monty knew it was a huge mistake. He was covered in sweat, his knees ached and a group of teenagers had begun to tease him.
Somehow Glorious manoeuvred him to the water’s edge but nothing would persuade him to jump onto the first stone. She pulled a face. ‘I’ll do it myself,’ she said, as she leapt; but her foot caught and she began to fall.
‘Monty,’ she cried in desperation.
Never had Monty’s body moved so fast. With what passed for a single bound, Monty jumped and enveloped dainty Glorious in his capacious arms. For a brief, ecstatic moment Monty felt the elation of the unexpected hero. Then inertia took hold. Stopping quickly was beyond Monty. He jumped again, and again. Monty’s ears throbbed with the humiliating laughter of the watchers at this ludicrous sight. Forlornly he looked at Glorious’ face, expecting ridicule. Instead he saw joy and, incredibly, admiration.
‘Listen Monty. Listen to your feet.’
Monty listened. What he heard wasn’t laughter but music, a music the like of which had not been heard in a thousand years. Each step of Monty’s elephantine dance released a sonorous rumbling, a deep intense note the like of which caused the listeners to weep with exhilaration.
The watching crowd, who indeed expected disaster cheered. Glorious hugged such of her man as she could hold while he continued his thunderous jig.
‘You’re playing the stones, Monty. It’s the Giant’s Piano.’ And she kissed him, ignoring the dripping sweat, the glowing skin. ‘My hero.’