rude words

I was on a home decorating kick that summer. It was a weekday, and Paul and I had just walked home from school together. I liked this time of day, when there were just the two of us. Paul’s sister was at Secondary school, eight miles away, and returned home long after Paul. He took off his coat and we went into the living room. It had taken me almost a fortnight to strip the skirting board back to the wood, peel the horrible woodchip paper off the walls, fill the dips and cracks, and re-plaster in places. I’d re-pointed the stone fireplace, and washed it with a subtly shaded matt varnish, to tone down the brash colour of the stones. I’d custom-made shelves to fit into the recess under the window, and a unit to house the TV, video and such. I’d sewn new curtains and hand-beaded the hems. I was looking forward to finishing the job.

Paul glanced at the walls with a thoughtful expression.

“So, you’re going to paint it tomorrow?” he said.

“Yup. I’ll start as soon as I come back from taking you to school,” I replied.

“You should sign your name across the wall, then it will always be there, like a hidden secret,” he said.

He fumbled through his bag, pulled out a felt pen, and handed it to me. I smiled, and wrote my name across the bare plaster.

“Nice idea. Thanks for that,” I said.

He gave me a wicked look. “Can I write something?” he asked.

“Go for it.”

With that he wrote ‘BUM’ in large letters, beside the fireplace.

I took the pen and wrote ‘LADY BITS.”

He wrote ‘WANG.’

Not to be outdone, I wrote ‘BOOBIES.’

He wrote ‘BUTT CHEEKS.’

I wrote ‘WEE WEE.’

By this time we were laughing so much our writing was coming out wobbly.

When his dad and his sister turned up we were running out of words, and still giggling shamelessly. Mike sobered us up. He was furious.

“What are you doing? You can’t write words like that all over the walls! Get rid of it, NOW,” he raged.

“But I’m going to paint over it tomorrow,” I replied, reasonably.

“But people may see it!”

“What does it matter if they do? We’re just having fun, and the words aren’t actually obscene. And anyway, no-one’s coming to see us this evening, are they? ” I asked.

“No, but, but” he blustered, “someone may look through our window!”

I looked out of the window, at the quiet country road beyond our front garden. Nobody would be able to see the writing on the wall from outside, and he knew it.

Mike walked out of the room. I took the pen from Paul’s hand, and wrote “NIPPLES” beneath the window in tiny letters.

Three days later I finished the painting, and fixed the shelves to the wall beneath the window. I put the new TV unit in the corner of the room and hung the curtains. The colour scheme was a triumph, with swathes of deep red and navy blue, a background of natural wood and cinnamon, and spots of soft gold in the beadwork and the cushions to add highlights.

Every so often when Paul and I were alone in the room, Paul would point at the wall, and as if he was reading the word through the paint, he’d say “boobies,” and smile, making me chuckle. My chuckle would start him laughing, and in no time at all we we’d both be grasping our sides, guffawing like fools.

©Jane Paterson Basil

17 thoughts on “Boobies

    1. I’ll do anything except plumbing and electrical instalation, apart from really simple stuff. I lived with a man who hated building, carpentry and home decorateing, and we were broke, so I did it all. Then I lived with Mike. Whenever he did anyhing in the house, he was bad tempered, he cut corners, and he made a terrible mess for me to clean up. He was unbelievable. so I ended up doing it all. I admit I’m a perfectionist, which didn’t make things any easier for him…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This ia so gorgeous – one of those lovely memories you tuck away and take back out when you need cheering up. My son would so love to do this too. Such a sweet, spontaneous thing to do. I’m sure Paul remembers it clearly too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It was – although, as it was lamb, and I’m supposed to be vegetarian, yesterday I was emberassingly aware of the distinct odoutr of cooked sheep following me around – and I was working in Oxfam, so every time I left the back of the shop to put out stock I had to keep my distance from the customers. Karen (the Manager) said I was imagining it, but I’m sure I wasn’t – I have a very good nose. After two showers I still don’t feel clean…

          Liked by 2 people

          1. It’s the spices too, isn’t it? Every time my husband cooks a curry, the whole house smells of it for a couple of days. He loves it, but I run around removing the laundry from the airer and squirrelling it away. I don’t want pants that smell of curry!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shannon, and I like your smile – it cheers me up. You look like someone who has never had a care in the world, although I know that’s not so.
      I hope you don’t change your mind about my writing when you notice how manic I can be…


  2. This reminds me of the time we did exactly the same thing to one of our walls before painting it 🙂 For years we had a poster sized cardboard sheet in our toilet for people to graffiti on. They did.

    Liked by 1 person

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