I only need a
But my head's
muddle. I can't think straight.
be here soon. I'll ask her.
Mrs Benjee is
what I call a really nice person.
Don't get me
wrong. I don't mean that unkindly.
I mean she
really is nice - truly nice, from the heart, nice.
it awful how I apologise for saying somebody's nice? How does a good
word like "nice" get turned inside out and come to mean the opposite?
should I say except nice? How about "Mrs
Benjee is a kind, good, thoughtful, person"? Doesn't sound the same,
Anyway. How do I know she's good?
She may be
very, very bad.
She could have
murdered her entire family, but that wouldn't stop her from being one
of the nicest people I know.
She's good in
I don't know
what I would have done without Mrs Benjee the day I found George.
I was quite
useless. I went to pieces.
It was the
As soon as I
went into the kitchen I knew something was wrong, because there was no
list on the table.
Such a little
But it never
happened before. George always left his
shopping list on the table for me on a Friday.
that's our brother - he blames himself for not calling round more often.
That's a laugh!
I told him it
wouldn't have made any difference.
It would have
made it worse actually, but I didn't say that.
understood George. Well, he wouldn't, would he?
born efficient. You know the type. Doesn't need a list. Zooms around a shop in
two minutes flat. Then leaves with exactly
what he wants - no more, no less. Totally
single-minded. I swear he has some sort of
laser vision. He sees his destination and
only his destination and nothing but his destination - so help the rest
different. He was gentle and always in a
His head was
full of notions. His mind scattered in all directions.
He wrote lists
to try to control his life.
don't see anything wrong with that.
I do lists
I was clearing out his clothes and things that I realised how much
lists had ruled his life. I found them all
over the house.
helped me with the funeral and the sorting out.
here. He was away on some trip.
He never did
let other people's lives intrude upon his.
Or deaths for
why he's so successful.
It was bad
for George to have him as a brother.
he was doing George a favour whenever he dropped in.
had no idea how disruptive he was, casually turning up and rushing off
again as it suited him - or how close to the edge George was.
I've gone over
and over that Friday in my mind.
I knew George
was a bit down. I wonder if I could I have done anything if I'd been
Or was it
to happen anyway?
I miss George. He was true. He
was real. There was more imagination in
George's little finger than in the whole of what passes for Freddie's
George's list for that Friday in his jacket pocket.
Just a small
folded piece of paper with the words "bottle of aspirin" and a doodle. There's a little drawing of a ship and all the
rounded letters have been filled in.
I still have
it. It keeps appearing in my mind as I'm dropping off to sleep. It reminds me so much of George.
I'm sure it's affecting me because now I can't write my
own shopping list. Every time I try my mind goes blank.
I will ask Mrs
Benjee. She always makes me feel better.
half-an-hour with her the world looks a sweeter place.
I don't know
doesn't do anything much.
in her garden when I go round. It's quite
a big garden, rather untidy, but it's very private. When you're in it,
you can't see anywhere else.
thought of Mrs Benjee when I heard some people being witty on
television the other night. They were making rude remarks about "nice"
people as if they were inferior.
that's not Mrs Benjee. She said to me once "what's life for, if we're
not trying to be better and helping people to feel better". That's because Mrs Benjee is nice.
other word for it.
© Yvonne Jerrold 1993
Reproduction in any form without express
permission of the author is not allowed.
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