Saturday 10 December 2016

Day 10: Blips and Bleeps by Cathy Leonard

The middle aged audience filter slowly into the local town hall. I know that the pre seventies heating system will not keep out the January cold so I keep on my woollen coat and scarf. The amateur players’ production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal begins. The hall is mostly empty so it’s easy to determine the age profile.

Bald, greying or highlighted heads, thick layers of jackets, friends, spouses, room-mates of the cast. This is a seasoned audience apart from one leggy blonde who sits at the edge of a row just ahead of us. She swivels her head in our direction a few times and I catch a whiff of her perfume. It is my personal favourite, Marc Jacobs Amber, the one Joe always buys for me on his duty free transits. The tights are sheer and the heels skyscraper. Did she wander into the wrong venue? She turns again to glance in our direction.

Like most of the audience I’m here to support one of the players. My friend Janet who has graduated from stage management to a walk-on part – or so she said. Her minor role places her centre stage for most of the first act. Just before the interval I slide out from my hard back chair, past my husband and head towards the loo. Small audience or not there’ll be a queue for the one toilet when the lights go on.

When I walk back into the foyer to grab a cup of tea she’s standing up close and personal to Joe, her hand clasping his forearm. I stop momentarily and gasp. She’s actually older than I had thought. Maybe even my age. But well preserved. I think again about the advantages that could accrue to nip, tuck and Botox. I order two teas.

It could be an overplayed joke between us for months. The only blonde broad at the show and he manages to pick her up. She turns away from him, not even aware that I am on route to claim the bespectacled fifty something man that stands somewhat bemused in the middle of a throng of tea drinkers.

“A penny for them?” I ask handing him a cuppa.

“She recognised me from school.”

“You went to an all-boys”

“Primary school.”

“You’re kidding!”


“She said you hadn’t changed a bit?”

“Something like that.”

“I believe it. What do you think of our Janet’s walk-on role?”


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