It started today when he arrived with wet hair and his shirt stuck to his body. He had nothing to change into, not a dry stitch on him. The white fabric was transparent when pulled away from his skin. Tiny waterfalls of rain ran down to the triangle at his throat, which was red from cold burn. He shuddered as fingers stroked hair from forehead to nape. Shoes kicked away and then socks peeled to lie in a heap ‘to dry’ he murmured, still breathy from his run. ‘You need a hot drink’ I said. ‘No no, but I’d like to take my clothes off, have a hot bath.’ I daydream for a moment; this reminds me of a film, something DH Lawrencey, starring some long gone actor.
You thought this was going to be rude didn’t you? Come on fess up!
Sorry, this is what really happened!
There’s a cute hobbit at the desk next to me and I’m his Auntiegee, the crazy Polish woman is his sis and for the last year we have been trying to educate him. Nothing too demanding, no nuclear physics, God particle or even how to tell a debit from a credit. No, just the simple things like eating three meals a day, not just one at nine pm, and how to not get lost on a five minute walk to Heavitree. And then there’s wearing a coat when it’s cold or a monsoon like this morning. He did have a coat, but he left it behind when he left his last flat, in a hurry because the bailiffs said he should. I’m glad he left it, quite frankly if I put it my dog’s bed they would wonder why I was punishing them. And anyway that was five months ago, before autumn and winter. Crazy PW, a couple other colleagues and I have tried to direct him towards a shop – even the charity shop across the car park to buy a coat but he pleads poverty. We know he’s not poor; his Christmas gift was money that’s been swept away by his current obsession, he’s dabbling in the stock market. When asked what shares he is buying he says ‘can’t tell you, it’s classified, if I did I’d have to kill you.’ He always tells me because he knows I’ll kill him if he doesn’t.
He has said before that there’s’ probably a waxed jacket somewhere at home – but that it would probably smell of dog. Like his car. That causes me to have an asthma attack whenever I’m within three feet of it.
We were actually really concerned for him today because he’s had a cold virus thing for ten days, so sitting around in wet clothes has got to be bad news. Our nagging was reinforced through the morning by relentless rain and so at lunch he went shopping. He doesn’t like shopping alone, and the day before he had a Christmas party, I went with him and successfully chose his clothes in ten minutes. I was too busy to go this time and anyway we have to let them go sometimes don’t we?
He went, and returned hugely proud, with a rain jacket-fleecy thing, at twenty quid a huge investment in his own well being. Now if we can just get him to invest in some shoes so that he doesn’t take them off, glue them and press them under the table leg behind me we could be making progress!
That’s my hobbit.