Sons and Mothers
Fri, 23 Oct 2015
‘We are what we eat’, some might say, whilst others argue, ‘We are what we wear’.
Take young Tom, for example – an affable kind of guy; a draughtsman, with a bunch of engineers who designed, manufactured and installed safety shutdown systems. Their marketplace was worldwide and then of course there were the North Sea oil platforms, their main bread and butter.
By the very nature of the business, most of the employees travelled extensively, Not our Tom, though – content, instead to stay put ensconced in his cosy office. It was safe, warm and mostly, predictable, just like him. Unsurprisingly, it hadn’t gone unnoticed by his colleagues that every workday, for the last three years, he’d worn the self-same cardigan.
‘Boring-Beige’ – the shade...twin breast pockets, rubber buttons, and lovingly hand-knitted by his mum, with whom he still lived, having never found his Ms. Right. As you can imagine, poor Tom bore the brunt of much Micky-taking. Water off a duck’s back, though. They were mates, the only ones he had, and they seemed harmless enough; always a card at Christmas and on his birthday.
Until his cardigan went AWOL. Devastated was our Tom at Cardy’s mysterious disappearance...the last recorded sighting of such was the back of his desk-chair. He searched high and low to no avail. Then, one morning, pinned, in all its glory to the notice-board, was a postcard – a photo of his cardigan artistically draped over the nether region of a Bactrian camel contemplating a date palm. “Wish you were here,” scrawled in florid script, signed, “Cardy XXX”
Gobsmacked, Tom, for want of a better word, whilst the others found it more than a challenge keeping a straight face.
“Perhaps it’s not really Cardy after all, but none other than an intrepid impostor!” they exclaimed.
But Tom was adamant it was... he would have known his mother’s knitting anywhere, apart from the fact there was that cocoa stain, shaped like a dinosaur taking a shower. No. This was his precious cardigan without a shadow of a doubt.
No one could throw any kind of light on the situation, despite Tom’s frantic attempts to solve, what he described as a ‘hate crime’, and two week’s later another postcard arrived, depicting Cardy in a salubrious pose on the steps of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
Eighteen months came and went, and during this time it transpired Cardy had become quite the seasoned globe-trotter – the customary postcard fresh from each destination. Prone, on a bench outside the Taj Mahal – spread-eagled on the heli-deck of Thistle Alpha oil rig, in the midst of the North Sea – clinging to the railings of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.
Meanwhile, poor Tom pined, and to cap it all, his beloved mum passed away. Soon after this, the prank perpetrators decided to call enough, enough, and the cardigan to be returned, forthwith, to its rightful owner. Consequently, Cardy’s wanderlust was to end in Paris, but alas – the joke backfired, and said cardigan was inadvertently left behind on a bench at the very top of the Eiffel Tower; a sudden gust of wind and Cardy was off like a shot! The likelihood being – never to be seen again.
Until one day, our Tom receives a package, courtesy of Royal Mail, containing none other than Cardy, safe and sound – merely a couple of holes and one or two missing buttons.
‘How is this possible?’ a bewildered Tom asks himself, before reading the accompanying note.
It so transpired that, unbeknown to Tom, sewn inside the pocket, embroidered on a tiny label in brown silk:-
“If found please return to Tom Bradbury, 3, Thirlmere Gardens, Braintree, Essex.”
“Ta, Mum. You’re one in a million. If only cardigans could talk, eh?’ he muses... doing up the three remaining buttons...his attention, drawn, inexplicably to the three XXXs at the end of said accompanying note, and the florid signature, Madamoiselle Anne-Marie Dupont, St. Germain, Paris. He must write back. Say, 'Merci'...maybe...or then again, peut-etre.