She was talking about old Jim. I say old Jim but he was my age; we went to school together so many years ago. Now he had found out where we lived.
“He’s always on the scrounge,” she continued, “He’s a parasite; I don’t know why you don’t send him packing.”
I could see she was getting explosive about him and I could see her point of view. Jim was a mate from my school years who had turned into a shifty, lying cheating ne'er do well and was not the friend you would want constantly pestering you for a handout.
“Give him a few dollars and tell him I don’t want him back here any more. I don’t want the kids to see him.” Even angry she was beautiful…but dangerous.
So I went out the front door and walked up to Jim as he approached the front gate intending to steer him down the nearby park so she wouldn't let fly at him if they came face to face.
He looked searchingly at the house to see if anyone was inside but luckily Sue was not at the window. The last time he came she had actually screamed at him.
I think he understood as I steered him across the road and sat him on a seat by the swings and the slide.
“She is still cross with me is she?” I nodded and chatted with him for a bit and slipped him a couple of twenty dollar notes.
“Is that adequate?” I asked while he stuffed them in pocket and nodded glumly. He then looked up and asked “Got any smokes?”
I shook my head, “Neither of us smokes any more Jim…because of the kids.” He nodded glumly, “Yeah, I knew that but I still ask don’t I?”
We chatted for a bit then he sadly went on his way. I slowly walked back to the house, let myself in and went back to my study.
I heard the door open and Sue sidled in and said “Well?” She was beautiful even when cross and she continued “How much did you give him this time?”
“Is that all?” She spoke with a small quiet voice.
“Why don’t you speak to him Sue, he is your brother for heaven’s sake.”
It was then she cried, quietly, sadly. She knew, as I did, that we had only met each other because Jim was my friend at school.
“You’re too soft on him” she whispered, "but I am glad you are", and she placed a loving hand on my cheek.