I was having a beer or two with three of my mates in a pub when my eye was caught by a girl sitting alone at a table, her head in her hands. I didn’t take too much notice at the time but I couldn’t help noticing that she seemed to be shuddering. I glanced over again a few minutes later and realised that she was crying.
Now, these days we males have to be very careful when approaching members of the fairer sex. For instance I recently I offered my seat on a train to a heavily pregnant lady and received a torrent of verbal abuse in return. But this was something I didn’t feel I could ignore. She was clearly young enough to be my daughter, but she was extremely distressed so I thought I’d risk going in. I excused myself from my friends, and to a barrage of cat-calls, yells of ‘go for it’ and ‘jailbait’ I made my way over to her.
I nervously hovered around for a moment not entirely sure how to go about it. One knee seemed the easiest way to get to her level, which led to yet more ribald comments from across the room. One of my so-called buddies even threw me a ring-pull from a beer can! I sort of cleared my throat to get her attention but it came out somewhere between a belch and a grunt. But it did the trick and suddenly two glassy tear-filled eyes peered straight into mine just inches away.
And that was the first time I met my friend Rosey.
Before I had a chance to say anything she spluttered ‘My grandad died’. Suddenly I wished I hadn’t got involved. This could be heavy. I expected her to say she’d had a row with her boyfriend or something, not that she was suffering from a family bereavement. She picked up her glass, somewhat unsteadily, and muttered something I can’t repeat here when she noticed it was empty. Come to that, so was the bottle on her table. All I could think to say was ‘I am SO sorry. When did this happen? ’‘Before I was born’ she cried ‘It’s not fair. I want a grandad. I’ve never had grandad’
Well, I was somewhat unusually lost for words. I thought about mentioning that most of us have two grandmothers but I decided against that route for fear of worsening the situation. So instead I pulled a hankie from my pocket so she could dry her eyes and suggested she join us.
She started nodding – frantically in fact, then tottered to her feet somewhat unsteadily, and after a couple of steps in reverse started to zig-zag across the pub to our table. As there was not a spare chair she grabbed an empty one from the next table. Unfortunately, some poor soul was about to sit on it and as a result found himself sprawled on the floor!
Before long Rosey seemed to forget about her grandaddy-less state and bit by bit she cheered up.
And in no time at all, she became one of us! And as you know dear reader she has remained so to this day.
Accident-prone, eccentric, naive, self-deprecating and utterly charming.
That’s my friend Rosey.