Norman Allan
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Short Stories







The Lady with the Boots.

The lady with the boots should be a private story. Roselyn was an enigma, to herself. We met,
we touched, but we danced to different rumbas. I was bewitched by her stance. She was lost in the confusion of her body, and that's the story, and that's private, but I'm going to kiss and tell.

I met Roselyn in the Brighton's Lanes, the Upper Lanes, near the market. Rob and I were talking about his "Art Night" when Ros entered the shop. My jaw dropped. Her knee-high boots accented her long legs and she became for me, forever, "the lady with the boots".
   The shop where we met had art and object d'art, some tasteful secondhand cloths, and tables - a coffee shop. Small, yet somehow spacious. Rob and I had been speaking of his "Art Space Evening". He planned to hold this event in the crypt above Rached's café down by the Arcades. Down at the beach Rached, Birghton's Sufi guru, sold sausage and chips in his fast café to the hordes from London. Fries Fries Fries in the bustle of the weekend. These arcades, fronting on the beach, had crypt-like rooms above them (under the sidewalk, the "boardwalk") and here Rob planned to hold his Art Space event. We would drum and jam, recite and perform in the quietus, the fall and failure of the "Counter Culture". This was the mid-nineteen seventies and I was quite lost in my life… but I got up and went over to try and charm the lady with the boots and I invited her to Rob's Performance "Be in" Space.
   The lady with the boots did drop by at Rob's art thing, but very late, when we were closing up. "I had another appointment and was held up," she said.
   I saw her in the town after that, pushing David Spender round. David was a crip. A CP spastic. Couldn't speak, but Ros could read where he spastically pointed his nose. David was doing a masters degree in Social Science, or Chemical Engineering, or Hawkin's Physics, and the lady with the boots was typing his thesis and his nurse maid, or maybe just nurse maid. Maybe he had other means of writing.

The lady with the boots was chaste with me, for the most part. Eventually she went off to Australia. Meanwhile, I courted her. We became friends. For a while we were quite close. She told me about her sexuality. She could only really "get off" in slightly S and M contexts - could only climax with spanking (she had friends in London), or, or, actually other bizarre or perverse situations (fucking in a boyfriends sports car, her ass in the gearshift knob, then, too, she'd climaxed, or once or twice when she'd let David spastically lick her bosom), and she thought she might be a bit of psych case. Sexually at least. Though she wasn't unduly alarmed, nor did she find being a nursemaid in any way demeaning. She came from that part of Provincial England (the upper lower middle class) where such a position was quietly quite professional.

I met her parents once. We drove to visit them in Bedfordshire. They ran a guest house… a small hotel. A quaint white building on a fork in a minor road on the edge of a minor village.

The lady with the boot was rather tall, slim, athletic. Ponies and polo. A perfect lady and a natural blond. She was a lovely, kind person. A little defensive: shy almost, or reserved, reticent. I was drawn. She was most definitely a sexual challenge. She told me that the reason she had been late at our first date, Rob's Art thing, was that she'd visited some young man who offered a massage and she got laid (though not ignited).
   She came down to Wales with me for a few days to visit my kids, taking them off with us to stay at the Carmarthan Farm and sleeping upstairs - this our second night together: we had spent a chaste night the night before in someone country cottage - sleeping upstairs at the Carmarthan Farm, with the kids softly tucked in a tumble of mattresses and eiderdowns, sleeping bags, dark room beneath the eaves above the house and cuddled up to her I made love to the lady with the boots whom I had so admired (she who took my breath away). And that was it. Though we were friends, we never gelled.

A while later she went to visit Marrakech. I don't remember the circumstances, but I suggested she look you up, Serge, for you are the gate to Marrakech; its finest host.
   I also sent a message to a Hassan. Hassan was an honest merchant, a young man who, with his younger brother, Mohammed, ran a "souk", a store that sold kaftans and jellabas and rugs and drums and brass and silver - Moroccan ware. Hassan and Mohammed's shop was the first you'd come upon walking from the main square - the Ja Mal Fna - to the Casbah, the "Medina", and when I'd been there, in Morocco, a year or two before, I had spent time in their souk. Smoked kif and drank mint tea with Hassan, with Mohammed, his brother: Mohammed, with his curly afro and bright eyes, cool kif kid in kaftan - a smart quick mother with an ego as bushy as his hair - "I am a friend of Cat Stevens. When he's in town he hangs out with me," said Mohammed.
   I had brought trinkets: Mylar "prism" (diffraction grating). Rainbow prismatic Mylar was treasure in those days - rare and mind blowing. I brought these trinkets as offerings and Mohammed bagged my last. Hassan, quiet and sincere, but not good looking, had commented how Mohammed bagged everything. I told Hassan I'd send him one, and I did, with a note. It said, "Hassan, Mohammed bags all the stuff, but you've got all the heart," and I sent a Mylar (rainbow) sheriff's star to Marrakech for Hassan with the lady with the boots.
   Meanwhile, Serge, she met you and you fell in love, totally infatuated, bewitched by this English rose. The lady with the boots, so beautiful at the villa in Agadir where you drove for the day and an evening. So demure and chaste and fascinating. I witnessed the depth of your adoration in the besotted letter you sent to our friend, Tee, which she translated for me from your poetic French. And the lady with the boots spoke to me also, telling me how wonderful you were and how in love with her, and how chaste she was with you. Meanwhile she delivered my message - "Hassan, Mohammed bags all the stuff…"
   "Ah," said sun-faced Mohammed. "This is for me," and pocketed my gift to Hassan's, and bagged her too, the lady with the boots; fucked her bum, most evenings. After she'd leave you, she'd go round to his place, to his rude embrace.
   Poor Hassan too. No trinket, and no word from the stranger.

What happened to her, the lady with the boots? In the house she had moved into in Brighton there was a pleasant postgraduate student, Kevin, awake and attractive, and just a friend, and eventually, oh, after a couple of years, they went off to Australia together. I believe they married. A happy ending, I think. He seemed the happiest, most straight forward and natural of fellows. For me, though, the story ends with a realisation many years later. Through those years I had thought this story was a testament to my quality as a lover, for she had told me that when we'd made love softly in Wales, she had come… "What a rooster I was," I crowed to myself. But later, recently, I realised that it was probably rather that that attic in Wales, with the children quietly sleeping over there further under the eaves… that balling there with the children asleep in the room may have felt perverse to her (though to me we felt so gentle together).
   So here is the story for Serge, who doesn't speak English, who just speaks French, to tell you in a language you cannot read of ports and harbours and ships that pass. A braggart's story.

And what is the point of this story? You tell me. For me it is just a story: a kiss and tell.