Hook, line and sinker

by Jenny

Hook, line and sinker

Rosa pinned up her wispy white hair and surveyed her reflection in the lopsided mirror. You’re not 21, she thought, but you’ll do.

Carol, her eldest, had suggested the online dating and she resisted at first. But, Rosa reasoned, it wasn’t fair to be such a burden on Carol and the grandkids. It wasn’t up to them to keep her company now that she found herself so suddenly alone. She smiled wistfully at their crayon scribbles pinned up around her dressing table and resolutely swiped right.

She was meeting Mike - or was it Nigel? Better check. Nigel: 68, no children. Rosa didn’t know what GSOH was, but she was surprised to find herself excited for the first time in what felt like forever.

She pulled on her smart coat at the front door. The coat hooks were working themselves loose again; she’d have to see to it. Gerald had always managed that side of things, she was useless at it, but she wouldn’t think of Gerald now. Nigel was waiting. She shut the front door with a determined bang and sashayed confidently down the street.

She’d stood in the drizzle for half an hour outside Cineworld when she realised that Nigel wasn’t coming, her smart coat leaking, pretty hairdo all spoiled and feeling a perfect idiot.

She walked slowly home, past the closed up clubs and the disused garage, under the creepy bridge that smelled of pee and pigeons and feeling dreadfully sorry for herself. She planned to get in, turn on the radio to drown out the awful silence and make some biscuits that nobody but she would eat.

Then the rain began in earnest. She hadn’t brought her brolly and, almost without thinking, Rosa ducked into the nearest shop to shelter from the deluge.

It was a hardware shop. She’d never been in one before, but there was something about the smell in there she liked. It felt solid. Real. She thought of her drooping coat hooks and sagging shelves and suddenly felt filled with determination. Why not learn to fix these things herself? She was a capable woman - if she could make a souffle she could mend a shelf!

“Young man?” she beckoned an assistant, blushing at how old-womanish she sounded. But she stood firm and asked what she’d need for some simple DIY.

He led her to shelves stacked with boxes of nails, packets of screws, cellophane-wrapped hammers and vicious-toothed saws. There was a gentleman there already, who tipped Rosa a wink. She blushed.

They browsed together silently for a while. Rosa thought she’d need screws, so she picked up a packet, but she was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the array of products. She was starting to panic when the gentleman turned to her with a leer:

“I’m pretty good at the old ‘screwing’, love” he told her “How about it?”

Excellent, thought Rosa, smiling and taking his proffered arm. This DIY crowd was very friendly - perhaps he’d help with her coat hooks!