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Today's quote:

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It was a bright and moonlit night ...




We have no photo of Mavis,
however, we don't need one
as her image will be forever
in our heads and our hearts.





And I was just finishing off my evening meal with a bit of runny camembert on a piece of toasted bread, when the phone rang and a man's voice said, "Peter, I have bad news for you: Mavis passed away this morning."

I felt like saying, "you must be joking" but, of course, no-one, least of all her son Jeff, jokes about such a thing. Still, I thought it can not be, simply because it can not be! The last time I felt this speechless and thunderstruck was when another late-night caller in 1995 informed me that my best friend for almost thirty years, Noel, had passed away.

Not that we had known Mavis for quite that long; in fact, we may never have met, had it not been for our four-legged friends Malty and Rover befriending Mavis' four-legged friend Suki. That was almost twenty years ago, and an easily-going friendship developed, with Mavis phoning us and us phoning Mavis, or meeting along the lane during our doggy-walks.

The meetings along the lane became less frequent as Mavis found it more difficult to walk, and stopped altogether when Suki passed away. Mavis had loved Suki, and Suki had loved Mavis, and something inside Mavis changed after Suki's passing, and while we still met at her flat, we never mentioned the word "Suki" again, knowing how it would upset her.

Mavis and I continued our telephone conversations which were often and long. We never wasted time talking about the weather but launched right into verbal attacks on corrupt politicians, tax-avoiding fatcats, juvenile and other miscreants, and all the other of the world's woes. To us, bad news was good news which allowed us to wind each other up, topping one piece of bad news with an even worse one. "Are you trying to wind me up, Mavis?" "Well, you started it, Peter!"

Somehow, COVID-19 disrupted all this, our occasional visits and our regular phone chats, and I am already feeling guilty for not having called her more recently than perhaps a couple of weeks ago. We last saw Mavis from a distance on Wednesday the 22nd of July. We had just come back from a COVID-19 test. Mavis was standing outside her door in a white dressing gown which was unusual as she was a fastidious dresser. We waved as we drove by, not wanting to stop in case we hadn't been tested negative, and I tried to phone her when we got home but there was no reply, possibly because she had mislaid her mobile phone.

How we wished she had taken it with her so that we could phone her one last time to say, "Good-bye, Mavis! It was a privilege having been your friends and our lives have been richer for having known you!"

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