When Ginny was still relatively young, she went to live amongst the old people.
This adventure began as one of necessity. The senior’s residence she chose was a public housing unit with rents that were within her limited budget.
She was a little apprehensive about her decision, but decided to make the best of the situation and in her usual, extraverted gregariousness, set about making new friends.
What she failed to factor into the equation was the snarkiness of some of her fellow inmates.
Many of them had been parked in this building by adult children. These kids, for the most part, loved their parent and were relieved to have them someplace safe, with other elderly people and some assurance of personal safety.
Their biggest relief was that the arrangement got them off the hook for taking care of an aging, cumbersome adult who had the power to mess up their life and freedom. Their feelings of guilt for not spending time with a lonely parent were somewhat softened by the belief that the parent was in a ‘better place.’
This false illusion did little to improve the mood in the building. A favourite coffee topic was complaining about how neglectful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren could be.
True, there were some whose families made a practise of visiting regularly, taking their parent out and genuinely seeming to enjoy the old person’s company.
This did little to enhance the outlook of the more neglected. In fact, many of them seethed with a deeply, or not so deeply buried cesspool of anger and resentment.
As one might imagine, life was not always happy in the old folks home.
One of the most unhappy residents was Esther, a distinctly sour, spiteful woman who seemed to delight in making those around her miserable.
Her ability to produce suffering for her neighbours was often a hushed topic in circles outside her presence and if she showed up, silence quickly befell the gathering.
Ginny did her best to win Esther over.
All her efforts fell somewhat short of the mark.
And so we arrive at a rather strange place…
It really all began the day Esther died.
She had been a staunchly religious person and held high expectations of the proper order in the afterlife. For Esther, there was no doubt whatsoever that upon her death she would ascend straight to heaven. She was confident that she would be assigned her proper place amongst those who had passed on. She felt little doubt that she would be given a special spot due to her rigidly having adhered to rules that many seemed blithely to ignore.
Esther had little patience for these reckless souls and in actuality harboured a fair degree of scorn for their failure to abide by the rules and live a ‘proper life’.
She arrived at the Pearly Gates expecting to be greeted by a choir of cherubic angels, a few saints, and if not the Great One Himself, at least an ambassador worthy of acknowledging the exemplary life she had lived.
Esther was puzzled.
The gnarly old man who stood at the entrance and extended his hand in welcome certainly didn’t look like what she would’ve expected.
He was rather unkempt, clothing somewhat disheveled and quite frankly, he smelled.
Then to her utter astonishment and absolute horror, the first words out of his mouth were, “Welcome me fine cunt, and what brings ye to these parts?”
If Esther hadn’t already been dead, those words would certainly have done the trick.
She had never, in her entire eighty-nine years of living on Earth uttered that word. She had rarely even thought the word. When someone had dared to use it in her presence, she had gathered her offended dignity tightly to her bosom and pointedly left the room. No, Esther was a fine upstanding woman and she knew what was right and wrong, and THAT word was definitely wrong.
As she began to sputter and spit and chastise this wretched being, something strange happened. The old man began to shimmer and shift and before her eyes transformed into the proper image of the Great One.
She was relieved to hear Him speak, as ‘His’ words were correct and fitting and not offensive.
“Child” He sighed. “What is it that bothers you so?”
As Esther began to explain how terrible things were, He gathered her gently into His arms. He stroked her furrowed brow and patted her heaving back. She began to calm down.
“That horrible old man, he called me a terrible name.”
“And what would that name have been my darling daughter?”
Esther began to shake. “It was just disgusting, so unacceptable”, she sobbed. It began with the letter ‘C’.”
The Great One queried her further, “Cutie Pie? Cuz? Charming? Crazy? Chubby? Chicky Poo? Cheeky? Crabby?...”
Esther began to tremble.
This was not going well and she sensed the Great One was not going to run out of words anytime soon.
“NO!! It was so much worse than anything you could ever imagine, you have no idea of the filthy word he used.”
“Child” replied the Great One. “Did he call you a cunt?”
Esther gasped, almost dropped down into the soft comfort of the clouds below her feet and decided to admit defeat. She waved the white flag signalling her surrender to a Power so much greater than herself and knew that life was never going to be the same.
She gazed out to an eternity that promised nothing but shock after shock and she knew, she wasn't in heaven, but had somehow been sent to that other place.
In the meantime, back on earth, Esther’s nemesis, Ginny was somewhat mourning the death of her neighbour from the Senior’s home where they both lived.
Over the years, Esther had harassed and bullied those in her complex to the point that most had become immune to her subtle and not so subtle forms of torture. Ginny however, was a bird of another colour and not one that brought any happiness to Esther. Her good nature, jolly manner and warm outgoing personality seemed to particularly annoy Esther and prompt her to ever higher levels of abuse.
Most of the other residents of the building were more or less relieved to have someone else bear the brunt of her attacks.
Ginny gradually began to realize that cajoling, and other kind methods of treatment were not going to budge Esther from her determined stance of hatred. She did her best to understand where Esther came from, knowing that biting her tongue would often be the best course of action.
The day Ginny arrived home, arms laden with shopping bags, struggling to unlock the front door to the building, was the turning point.
Ginny was tired, hungry and feeling more than a little cranky. She thought only of getting her bags up to her apartment and settling down with a hot cup of tea to relax after her exhausting bout of shopping. She frantically waved at Esther to hold the elevator that she was about to enter
She and Esther were neighbours on the second floor. In Gin’s mind they had declared an uneasy truce, and so she held hope that Esther would hold the elevator till Ginny arrived with her parcels.
Ginny was stunned to have Esther turn, enter the elevator, then pointedly press the button that would close the door. The last straw was the smirky sneer, as the elevator door closed.
Ginny’s frustration and annoyance erupted with an unusual, for her, exclamation of vulgarity. “What a bitch!”
Of course there had to be a fellow resident who had witnessed this whole scene and also had heard Ginny’s descriptive choice of words. Her attempts to explain her using that word and how she hadn’t meant it seriously, fell on deaf ears.
She watched as the prissy-assed gossip left for her apartment, hurrying to phone her cronies and relay the events she had witnessed.
Ginny sighed, gathered her parcels, got onto the returned elevator and knew that her next act would be to go and explain to Esther.
As she knocked on her door, Ginny began to compose the words that she hoped would mitigate the impact of her explanation. Somehow she knew that Esther was not likely to consider being called a bitch complimentary.
Esther stood in her doorway, listened to Gin’s spiralling explanation, with lips pressed into a thin line of contempt. Ginny eventually ran out of steam and realized that her explanation was only making matters worse and decided to quit while she was ahead.
She smiled, half heartedly hoping that Esther would see the humour in the whole thing. She realized that was not going to happen as Esther venomously hissed, “I have never been and never will be a bitch." She then slammed the door shut in Ginny’s face.
Ginny was prepared for more trouble.
She was not surprised to receive an official letter in the mail informing her that her ‘alleged’ name calling was not appropriate and any further occurrences would be noted and marked against her, eventually lending strength to an eviction notice.
She took a deep breath, thought of phoning the building manager and explaining that she had actually been restrained in calling Esther a ‘bitch’, as she’d really wanted to call her a cunt.
Somehow, Ginny knew that wouldn’t go over so well.
She mustered up a remarkable amount of restraint and went to bed to escape further temptation.
As she slept, her dreams took her deeper and deeper into a place where she began to sort through the events of the previous week.
She herself had never minded the “C’’ word, even though most people thought it terribly offensive. She was puzzled greatly that so simple a word could wreak such frenzy and held the power to push people into a state of apoplexy.
Ginny began dreaming of poetry and other soothing states of altered consciousness.
As she began to compose, a great void opened before her and she was frustrated and surprised at how few words seemed to rhyme with cunt.
After some contemplative meditation a couple of words came to her mind...hunt and front.
Her brain hurt trying to come up with more.
She reached down to her netherlands to reassuringly pat her own, when another rhyme appeared in her brain ...runt...and then like an avalanche the words began to gather momentum…..punt, shunt, bunt, grunt …. cascading down the hill till finally coming to stop.
Before Gin, there unfolded an ancient scroll.
It's edges were worn and curled, the leather soft from having been passed down through the millennia. Engraved in delicate penmanship were the following words:
"The cunt in the front
Was on the hunt.
She didn't want no runt
She wanted one who knew his way
To punt and shunt and hit a bunt
And end it all with a loving grunt!"
She sighed with satisfaction.
Finishing her nap, she woke up refreshed and ready for a new day.
She decided to try, yet again, to make peace with Esther.
Imagine her horror to discover, while visiting with others in the lobby that Esther had passed away during the night. The talk in the building was like the clacking, clucking of a henhouse full of brooding chickens. Ginny sat in silence, thoroughly regretting that her last exchange with Esther had been so contentious. She silently prayed that Esther had finally found peace and resolution for a life of anger and bitterness. She called upon the beneficence of a God she deeply believed in and asked for His love and compassion to release Esther from a life’s bondage of sadness.
Over the next few days, she continued to pray for her departed neighbour and a gentle sort of calm replaced her guilt and shame for having upset Esther.
She finally found release, as she imagined Esther’s approach to heaven.
Ginny had come to understand Esther, knowing that the poor woman carried a lifetime of gathered grievances. Her perceived wounds were vast and complex and certainly contributed to the way she lashed out at others.
However, even in her darkest thoughts, it never occurred to Ginny that Esther would end up anywhere but heaven. Though her shortcomings were numerous, she had been a decent sort of human being and Ginny fully understood how the bitterness of her life had affected her behaviour.
She smiled as she imagined Esther finally returning to that place from which we all began.
She was truly happy that Esther’s new life in the Great Hereafter would finally bring her the rewards she so richly deserved.
And I ask you dear reader “could you imagine it being any other way?” There is little doubt in my mind that your answer would be……FAT CHANCE!!
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