Sally Kidman was a delight. She was the sort of girl that you could take home to meet the parents. Sally was a good sport, always friendly, always willing to help and she made the rest of our group look good when she was around.
She had a pleasant straight forward face that was good to look at. But it was her personality and sense of fun, which seemed to sparkle in her eyes, that everyone loved. I also liked her nice, long, curvy legs, but that was just me. Most of us had been around together since we were in High School. We had dated each other, played sport together and usually sought each others company at the weekends. As we grew up, went to college got jobs, our early friendship seemed to stick.
Sally was a kidder. She was always happy and loved to play the fool. Yet whenever anything serious happened she was always the one that seemed to know the right thing to do. There was the time that Dave smashed his up leg coming off his motorcycle. She was first to visit him in hospital, and instead of taking him flowers or chocolates took him a 'Playboy' instead. That was Sally, very considerate.
Even when we were in our twenties, she never changed much. We had a thing about going to Roger's place on Friday nights to play cards and listen to music. He had this enormous house that he rented for a song. Something to do with an 'As found lease'. If anything went wrong, Roger had to fix it. He was lucky though, apart from a few small plumbing bills, he never seemed to have many expenses. Anyway back to this Friday night. I had got engaged by this time. Rose wasn't one of the original mob but she certainly fitted in. She loved the mateship of our group. We had all had a few drinks and Roger suggested a card game with a difference. He gave all the girls an even numbered card and all the blokes an odd one. Then one of the girls had to go out of the room and call out an odd number at random. The holder of that card went to pay a call on her for thirty seconds then she came back while he picked out an even number, and so on. It was something like Spin the bottle in effect. Except that while the thirty seconds was on, everyone had to swap their cards with another player of the same sex. When this was explained, nobody demurred, but I glanced anxiously over to Rose to see how she had reacted. She just raised her eyebrows and opened her arms a with palms upwards indicating 'What the hell', so we all played.
Well everyone seemed to get a go, except Sally and me. Rose thought it was great laugh. In fact most of the group thought it was scream. Eventually Sally gets called out and in much less that the allotted time Paul Deveraux came back with a deadpan face. They had broken up a few months previous so things must have still been a bit cool.
As luck had it, she selected my number next. Out I go, and in the darkness of the Hall, I reached for her, found her face, touched it lightly and said, "I really like you Sal." She pulled my hand down placed it on her left breast and said quickly, "No time to talk. Kiss!" She enveloped me, we devoured each other. For the first time I found out how passionate she could be under her usual controlled exterior. I loved it. We were broken up by a knocking on the door. "Time's up you two." Then she reached for my cheek, touched it lightly and said, "I really like you too." Sally then returned to the Lounge Room, and announced, "This is a silly game. Let's do something else."
They all must have agreed because next thing I was called back in, and they were setting up to play 'Newmarket'. As I sat with Rose and she whispered in my ear, "Doesn't she like you?" That was Sally, very diplomatic.
By the time Rose and I had got married, Sally was going steady with Tony. Although he hadn't gone to school with us, we had both done a Business Management course together and he had been co-opted into the group. They had been living together in a house at Plympton for some months, and one Sunday afternoon coming back from seeing Rose's Mum at Kingswood, we dropped in to ask them to dinner the following week. Rose was a bit tired and said that we could probably get a cup of tea there too. We tried the front door but there was no answer, so I went round the back, only to find her on her own weeding in the garden.
She grinned up at me, glowing with exertion. She brushed a flick of hair from her face.
"Thank God you came, I was looking for an excuse to stop." We went in by the back door and I let Rose in at the front. She collapsed on the settee in the Lounge, slipped her shoes off and put her feet up. Sally shed some of her gardening gear and went in to say hello to Rose.
I went into the Kitchen and sang out that I was going to put the kettle on. As I was clattering about in the Kitchen, looking for cups and things I heard Sally go into the Bathroom to tidy up. She came out moments later with a tank top and jeans on. "You look good enough to eat." I said. She offered up a bare arm. "Bon appetit." As I pursed my lips and bent to kiss her arm, she put her other arm around me and hugged me tight. "Who's going to be a Daddy then?"
"What me?" I said stupidly. Rose, could hear us from the Lounge. "Oh Sal, you've told him have you? He wouldn't have guessed. Not until the baby popped out in front of him." We all laughed. That was Sally, intuitive.
Eventually Sally got married too. Tony was the lucky guy. We saw quite a lot of them in those days. It was the card evenings that were the most fun though. Sally had this silly way of saying, when she won the kitty, "Its mine, all mine." When anyone else won it, she would exclaim, "Cheating rogues." She too got pregnant after a couple of years marriage. She really seemed to bloom. The card games continued and when her bump was most noticeable she would put her stake money on the bulge and instead of her 'its mine all mine' routine, she would say, "Its ours, all ours, Baby."
It was in her eighth month that things started to go wrong, it was Toxaemia or something like that. She was rushed to hospital one morning before Tony had gone to work. She aborted; her baby was dead inside her. Before long she was fighting for her own life. They couldn't save her.
Rose's brother is an ambulance officer, and he heard that after she died, the mortuary attendant said how heart rending it was, to prepare the body of both the mother and child together. They placed the baby in Sally's arms in her coffin. The attendant, who Rose's brother said, is usually quite hard bitten, said there were tears in Sally's eyes when he did so. There is probably some quite reasonable explanation for this. But Sally was always straight up and would always show you how she felt.
That was Sally.