# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

We Need To Talk About Cerys - Part 4

  by Owen Peters

published: 16 / 6 / 2016

We Need To Talk About Cerys - Part 4


When he started running it wasn’t very far. So, Sunday was run, shower, listen to “her”, out of the house by midday and Sunday lunch here we come. With time “she” has, however, become a splintered co

When he started running it wasn’t very far. So, Sunday was run, shower, listen to “her”, out of the house by midday and Sunday lunch here we come. With time “she” has, however, become a splintered cork in the Chablis. His running distances became longer, namely more time-consuming and he started to become insistent on listening to “her” whole programme, live. Not good, or acceptable. I’m in need of a solution: I start with a logical easy idea taking him into his comfort zone of work speak. “If you listen to Cerys (lovely Cerys) on the 6 Music podcast, it’s a win, win for both of us. You can listen anytime you want, in the car, out running, walking Smokey.” Yes, I know the wording is gutwrenchingly sweet, but needs must. Bless and double bless! He tries it. Fuck him and “her”. He says it’s not the same. It doesn't have the same excitement. When did Hubby start to rekindle the art of excitement? If he’s has found a spark it’s with another woman. “You see, when Cerys (he never says “her”, always Cerys as if he’s licking a lollipop or a summer's ice cream cone) says …'And here is a new band from Bristol with their new release 'Never Loved Before' it’s the anticipation, that moment, what could it be. I could be hearing a future anthem for the very first time. It could be a Manics, or Floyd moment." That’s another thing. Bands names are always shortened as though they send him a birthday card each year. The Stones, the Roses sending out signals he knows about music. “A moment when I can say to people (George and Dragon) that I heard its first play,” he continues “So to hear it on say, Sunday evening is so much different?" I snide. No hesitation from Hubby. “Well, yes, it’s not live, that moment of anticipation.” Do I understand his point. Do I get his rationale. Do I empathize? No, I fucking don’t. We’ve tried going out when “she” (another name for her) has finished with him after 1.00 p.m. Released him from self imposed detention. By the time we are out and have walked the dog, we seem to be meeting people coming out of pubs rather than going in. We end up being the “Sorry we’ve run out of the chicken” type customers. It’s not the same. The Sunday pub lunch window has been missed. After some heavy lobbying (from me) and a few crocodile tears (from me) we’ve hit on a part, nearly, almost, possibly, could be solution. Hubby gets up early on a Sunday morning. Goes out for a run, is back home, showered ready for for the Cerys Matthews show at 10.00 a.m. He listens until noon, we go out, he catches the final hour at a later stage. Compromise equals solution. Nearly but not quite. In order to hit all the timelines he needs to be up, stretched, kitted out, running the roads by 07.30a.m. We have a couple of issues here. Firstly he can’t get up on time. Workdays are fine, but Sundays his biological clock switches off. Secondly the alarms, one a radio wake up call, the other bagpipes from his mobile phone, and then his tossing and turning -"Shall I get up? No, just ten more minutes" - is driving me crazy. This has resulted in his Saturday run - "Just in case I don’t get up on time, at least I’ve had a run at the weekend" - but last weekend matters, however, came to a head. Hubby sleeps through both alarms. We both get up as a grumpy as hell. He’s still going for a run. I bang around the kitchen, angry with the toaster, kettle and any other appliance which gets in my way. It’s 10.15. He has his running kit on, he’s in the lounge, stretching, twisting, turning, bending lunging, listening to Cerys Matthews. Although we haven’t spoken a word, much is being said in our own heads. It’s 10.45. He has his running kit on and is in the lounge, stretching, twisting, turning, bending, lunging, listening to Cerys Matthews. I break communications silence “What are you doing? Are you going for a run or not?” Still in mid-calf stretch, he informs me, “When the news comes on.” By that I gauge he means 11.00 a.m. I leave him with “her” and the lounge retreating to the kitchen. Ten minutes after I hear the door close I’m back in the lounge. In the garden is a man stretching, twisting, turning, bending, lunging. “What the fuck in god's name are you doing? This being a favourite phrase on my mother's (excluding the F word), but needs and anger dictate. “I’m listening to Cerys Matthews”. Sure enough, through an open window he is indeed listening to “her”. Hubby is a sick man. A man I’m sick of. I switch off the radio, and he goes for his run. I’m on my way to see Mr Singh. I’ve walked Smokey, cleared my head and calmed down. We went out by the local reservoir, Water always seems to douse my inner flames. I let Smokey run free. He’s wet, smelly and extremely happy, his tail wagging at the speed of a propeller with wide bright eyes, demanding I throw his ball into the water, his playfulness bringing smiles to other Sunday walkers. Oh to be a dog. Mr Singh owns a convenience store some miles away from our local village which I visit each Thursday, late morning away from prying eyes. My Sunday unexpected appearance has taken him by surprise. Mrs Singh never serves me. I don’t think she approves. “My dear…,” he says coming from behind the serving counter, placing both of his hands in a capping motion over my right hand. His hands are warm, soft and comforting. I have a huge desire to simply fall into his arms and weep. Somehow I don’t think this gentle, elderly gent would know what the hell to do with me. “Do you want….I haven’t made up your order. I didn’t expect to see you on a Sunday. Do you want your order?" He asks tentatively. My order which I collect each second Thursday are 12 bottles of Pinot Grigio. He puts them in a plain white, sturdy box, takes it to the car, shuts the boot and takes a cash payment of £80.00. We never discuss discounts, differing or additional wines. It has been the same transaction each and every week for the past year. Before this arrangement I would go to different outlets most days buying a couple of bottles here and there, a bit like spread betting. Mr Singh came up with the idea of a fortnightly collection. Besides a comment on the weather, or how are you that’s the breadth of our interaction. It’s seems to have worked well. Today is different. He’s a small man, with a slight bow to his back and shuffle to his stride. He looks at me. In fact he stares directly into my eyes until I turn away uncomfortable, uneasy and embarrassed. His constant reassuring smile has disappeared. I’m left looking down at his opened toed sandals and bare feet. “Come, please, come,” he says pointing in which direction to go. I don’t resist. He takes me into a store room towards the back of his shop furnished with a side table alongside a bamboo structured armchair on which he requests I sit. He calls for his wife, and they have a brief discussion. She nods to him and leaves. Mr Singh looks at me again with renewed intensity. His smile hasn’t returned. Mrs Singh returns with a hot drink, places it on the table saying, “Please drink”. They both leave. The tea is sweet with a taste of cinnamon beans. I’m left looking around amongst the tins, bags, boxes oozing smells of curry and lentils, a place of tranquility. The air is still, the silence complete. Somehow the outside world has been blocked out. I close my eyes for a second or two. Mr. Singh is kneeling in front of me. He takes both my hands in his. His smile has returned. “My dear, on your journey you have lost your music. If you want it can return.” He squeezes my hands, cites a couple of words I don’t catch or understand. With fuss or effort, he rises to his feet putting his left hand flat against the top of my head. In the background I hear the sitar strings of Ravi Shankar. Mr Singh is pointing to my tea. He says, “Please finish your tea,” which I understand is time for one last sip. Our time together is at a close. I do as requested. That’s strange. The tea is cold. As usual he takes my car keys, deposits the white box in the boot, and I hand over the money, the transaction complete. Smokey has made his way onto the passenger seat, greeting me as if I’ve been away for a fortnight. I check the time. I check the time again. I’ve been in Mr Singh’s shop for over an hour. How did that happen? Was I drugged? Did I fall asleep? My head hurts, as if a heavy weight has been lifted replaced with...I’m not sure...emptiness. I look back at the shop. Mr and Mrs Singh are side by side, smiling waving me off. They look as if they are waving goodbye. When I return home, Hubby is showered and dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans. “I wasn’t sure if we would be going out. Wasn’t sure what to wear.” The atmosphere is tense but he’s still concerned about my welfare. “Are you okay? You’ve been gone a while?” Unsure how to deal with my afternoon I whimper, “I’ve just been driving around”. Do you want to...are we...going out?" asks Hubby. “No, I am not feeling too great. I’m going to bed. What about you?” “Strange run, I’ll tell you tomorrow, you go to bed,” he says. “Strange as in how?” I try again. “I’ll explain tomorrow”. I look at him with a sternness which says, so I can be bothered to ask you a question but you can’t be arsed to answer it. “I don’t remember where I went. I recall leaving the garden and coming back, but nothing in between. Also my running kit is dry, no sign of sweat, but I feel absolutely shattered. Plus I have the line of a song or something buzzing around in my head.” We don’t try and expand on our laboured conversations any further. I go to bed. Hubby takes to the spare room and does the same. The following week is a strange one. There seems a big discussion to be had but neither one of us wants it to begin. Meals, drinks, dog walks, all the daily routine stuff goes ahead as normal. Physically and mentally there is a Berlin Wall between us and we don’t know how to take it down. I can’t seem to shake off this lethargy. Everything is a struggle. I also need to tell Mr Singh I think the last batch of wine was “off”. I had a glass (make that two sips) on Monday evening. It had a very strange taste, like vinegar mixed with lemon. I haven’t tried a drink since. No desire, a teetotal week. Hubby is sleeping through his morning alarms calls. A couple of times I’ve heard in him call into the office, offering fictitious reasons for his late arrival. He doesn’t go to the pub, or run midweek or Saturday. “Just a bit tired, that’s all” He looks unhappy, in a private world of his own. Come Sunday morning, he isn’t running, I don’t ask why. By late morning we have completed breakfast, taken a couple of calls allowed Smokey a bark and wee in the garden. A dog walk isn’t mentioned. Neither of us want to deal with the outside world. By 11.30 a.m. I tentatively ask him if we should listen to Cerys Matthews? He shrugs with a complete air of indifference. I switch on the radio and our awful silence is broken. Ten minutes in Cerys hits chatty mode…”So remember at the start of the show or for those of you who are late Sunday risers I said I had a lovely request (She laughs). Stay tuned, we are trying to work out if it's from a Welsh Wizard (More Cerys laughter) Coupled with an artist and song I absolutely love. That will be coming along after the midday news, but for now here is Belle and Sebastian." "Okay, I’ve been teasing you with this one, so here we go. I’ll read it out in full. I wonder, besides the people it’s aimed at, will it strike a chord with others? It’s written with the most wonderful calligraphy and the paper feels like parchment. Also no one knows how it arrived. It’s just ended up on the requests pile. Dear Cerys, Sometimes the love held dear towards a family member, partner, spouse gets lost amongst the adult world. What was once the most precious item in a life becomes incidental, replaced with work, friends, sports, cars, houses, family, all other activities. I recently came across such a couple. Each day took them further away from each other. Both were unsure what to do. I told them, 'You’ve lost your music.'" Hubby’s on his feet pointing to the radio, “That’s it, that’s it. The line from a song in my head since last Sunday- 'You’ve lost your music'. My heart is racing, I want to be sick. This is Mr Singh. Hubby turns up the radio, like you would with the announcement of a major event. "For some who have lost their music, there is no return. But for others there is a way back if they want to. The couple I spoke with last week, there is a way back. Their music can return." Hubby and I look at each other. Yet again we can’t find the words. “Those were the words said to me last week,” he says, looking at the radio, “You’ve lost your music. If you want, it can return.” “I know he spoke with me too,” I say. We are locked in each other's gaze, feeling as if a huge hangover is gently lifting. "So, Cerys, please play the following track. I know for this particular couple it will define if they want their music to return, or not. For others different tracks, some unfortunately the music is lost forever.” Cerys didn’t provide an introduction. There seemed to be a three to four second delay as if there had been a power failure. Then the opening bars began…The first song we danced too...A song which connected us all those years ago...”How, how did they know?” Hubby says, fighting back his tears. I stand, and we embrace as if this is the last thing we ever do on this earth. My tears and sniffles are loud, uncontrollable, making a severe damp patch on the shoulder of his sweatshirt. “It doesn’t matter,” I sob as Joni Mitchell conveys ,“Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine/You taste so bitter and so sweet/Oh, I could drink a case of you darling. And I would still be on my feet.” The track ends. Cerys continues “That was 'Case of You' by Joni Mitchell. The messages by text, email, social media into the studio have gone absolutely crazy, I mean crazy. Who wrote the request?...Who are the couple?...Lots and lots of people are telling us they had the same message whilst out running, biking, at the hairdressers, at work, in the cinema, shopping, washing the dishes, feeding the kids. (Cerys laughing) What’s going on here?” “Yes, I will (Cerys giggling) I will play it again, promise. We will close the show with 'Case of You'. Never in all my years of being on radio have I witnessed a reaction like this…" Hubby turns off the radio. “Let’s go to bed, it is where we belong, remember?” he says with a glint, turning him once again into my new husband of 25 years old. We agreed not to talk about our individual experiences on how we received “our messages.” We did agree to find our music again.

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Part 3 (2016)
We Need To Talk About Cerys - Part 3
In the third and fourth part of a four part story by Owen Peters, the first two parts which we published last month, 'We Need To Talk About Cerys' tells of a marriage gently disintegrating, and the effect on it of Cerys Matthews' radio show
Part 1 (2016)
Part 2 (2016)

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