I’ve always been keen. Keen on school, on Marjory Turnpike’s dimples, chess, Marjory Turnpike’s increasing bust… you perhaps get the picture. We married and I became keen on my shed and my bicycle.
Keenness comes with a consequence. You volunteered a lot. It was inevitable that when Bolton-on-Sleeze decided it needed a greater provision for cyclists I would be involved. That morphed into a ‘reclaim the streets’ campaign led by Crichton ‘call me Rich’ D’Arbney.
There are 12 of us ready to go when Rich announces ‘We ride in the buff.’
I look around. No one protests, beyond the odd twang of disgruntled Lycra. Rich isn’t the sort to be contradicted.
As Bolton has a micro-climate twinned with Stavanger it is unlikely there will be spectators. We strip off, careful to face outwards, avoiding what lies beneath. Skin is weird, and we epitomise that variety from Jonjo’s taught cotton to Albert’s recycled polythene. Our flesh tones range across the Dulux ‘with a hint of’ spectrum.
It’s then I notice this person on the other pavement… just watching. Smiling. Laughing. Marjory.
Our marriage has been underpinned by minimal exposure (apart from the Great Southend Embarrassment of 2001). Marjory has never seen one buttock let alone both. So much exposure renders her blind to identity. We are just so much flesh. Keeping my gaze high and my bladder taut, I watch her take a flyer and go. I’m all a tizz. But in an interesting way.
She turns up every Friday, once with the South Crumblewold Knitting Circle, then her Darn and Yarn book group. I am one of several bottoms, the subject of her ribaldry.
We both enjoy Friday nights. Occasionally I make cocoa with a chocolate digestive dunker while she loosens her corsets. Life is good.