‘How does it feel to be sixty-six today?’
‘Old.’ Said Phil.
‘You don’t look old,’ I said, wiping a soft cloth over the shelves in his lounge. ‘In fact, it’s my bet you can still attract the ladies if you try.’
‘Attracting the ladies is one thing, keeping them is different.’ He says.
I look at the few life mementos above the hearth and, the only framed photo is of an elderly woman.
‘It was different fifty years ago,’ he continued, ‘Lots of pretty girls would knock at Mam’s door. But me, I was only interested in football.’
‘Were you good at it?’ I said, noticing a small brass trophy.
‘No, not really, I spent more Sunday’s on the subs bench than I’ve had women in my bed. And that …’
He stops mid-sentence and gauges my expression.
‘Oh, sorry lass. I shouldn’t talk like that.’
‘Don’t worry Phil, I’ve heard worse. One of my clients was a retired sex therapist.’
Phil coughed. ‘A what, you mean like a marriage guidance counsellor?’
‘No, he helped people have a better sex-life.’
‘How did he do that?’
‘I didn’t ask.’ I replied ‘But he had a habit of telling me about prolonged orgasm, over and over again.’
‘The dirty Bugger!’ Phil said ‘Did you tell him to stop?’
‘Yes, but it wasn’t until much later, he was diagnosed with Dementia.’
‘Poor Bugger, but still…’ he said, rummaging in his pockets. ‘Have you seen my glasses? I want to catch the Footie results.’
Phil’s like that, always losing something. This time his spectacles are on top of his head.
He switches on the television and turns to look at the screen.
I continue cleaning. He is my last client of the day and from this angle, his profile reveals a younger, more handsome man.
‘Well, that’s the Borough up the Swannee this season. They’ve got no chance now.’
‘Nice little cup you got there Phil.’ I say, noting the inscription. ‘Who’s Dick?’
‘Ermm, there’s a story behind that. But I better not tell you. I don’t want to get the wrong idea about me.’
It’s not quite five o’clock and, if I leave now I might just get home before my husband . It seems odd Phil’s mantel piece is so empty, not one card on display.
‘Aw go on,’ I say ‘It’ll be our secret.’
‘Well if you’re sure. Tell you what, stick the kettle on, we’ll have a brew.’
The clock’s ticking and he begins.
‘The day I got that, we were one man down. The lads didn’t want me to play. They thought the other sub would do a better job of it. But my mate Tommy argued that because I had long legs I could run faster. So there I am, legs pumping and the ball drops at my feet. I keep going, so excited I was. The goal’s in sight and Oh, Oh, Oh….’
‘You scored the winning goal?’ I ask.
‘Nope! Well, kind of.’
‘I don’t understand.’ I said.
‘I was only sixteen and wearing baggy shorts. It was the first time I ever had an orgasm.’
‘Oh, I bet that was awkward for you.’ I say, trying not to laugh.
‘I’ll say,’ he said, ‘I was picking grass out of my teeth for a week.’
Happy Birthday to you, Mr H.