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Delight by Heiða

Rita was everyone’s favourite, she was a proper old dear. The people living at Park Road all knew her, the kids would even call her nan Rita.

The whole street knew it was springtime as soon as Rita appeared in her garden. Wearing her flowery sunhat and spreading her happy spirit with her melodious voice and contagious laughter. She kept the neatest and most colourful garden. It bloomed from early spring all through the autumn, as when one flower’s life would come to an end another type would start blooming.

Rita was the one who showed up when others needed company, support or help. She would do it without wanting anything in return and she would never take no for an answer as she knew when she was needed.

When Mr. Tullins wife at number 14 passed away, she was there. She was there for Mrs. Tullins while she was ill. Rita would sit by her bed, have talks about the past and the future when she was well enough to have conversations and other wise read a book out loud by her side. She would of course read Maeve Binchy as she knew she was Mrs’s Tullins favourite author. Once she had passed Rita kept turning up at number 14, as she knew the one left behind was often forgotten. She would bring stew or soup and talk to Mr. Tullins about the news and the weather as she knew he was not ready to have deeper conversations at that point.

When Mrs. Healy at number 25 had to go back to work after her maternity leave, Rita jumped in. The Healy’s had applied for numerous nurseries but were on waiting lists. Rita knew they did not need the stress. They bought a house by the street Mr. Healy grew up in a year previously and were young and had just started their careers. Mrs’s Healy’s family lived hours away and his parents were in a home. She enjoyed the company of baby Healy for 3 months.

Whenever Rita popped down to the library, she would stop by number 8, 37 and 39 as she knew the elderly could do with her taking their books in and bringing new ones back. Sure, the people at 8 and 39 were around her age, but they were more frail and tried to avoid going out on their own much. Sometimes she would push Mrs. Brown’s wheelchair along the pavement as every now and again she wanted to see the books herself. Rita understood this as she loved books, she had loved them since she was a little girl.

Almost every house in the street had had some family member taught to play the piano at Rita’s at some point in time. This she did to keep connected she said. She would not except a penny for it. If people insisted, she asked the kids to create something for her, a picture, a song, a story or anything else they could come up with. The adults she told that she would appreciate a card from wherever they went on their next holiday.

She loved cards! She loved the snapshots of people’s lives written on cards. She loved the pictures on front of postcards and the consideration put into choosing them. The thought of all these different destinations also gave her pleasure.

Rita had 3 grown children of her own and 8 grandchildren. They all lived down south. She loved it when they visited as she enjoyed fussing around them. Baking and cooking. Playing silly games with the children and reading to them. She especially enjoyed chatting the night away with her incredibly kind-hearted and smart children while sipping a glass or two of her favourite Merlot. Spending time with her family truly filled her heart with joy.

Her belated husband passed away 3 years ago. She had really loved her Marvin. He had been the head of the house and made sure the car was spotless, that she never had to worry about finances and that certain things were done in a certain way. They had met when they were 18. They had both moved from Ireland to seek a better life. Those times were weird, but they found mutual understanding in each other. Marvin was the brain of the house and she had been fascinated by his knowledge from the day she met him.

She really missed him. It had taken some time to get used to the fact she would not hear his car pull in around five in the afternoon. It was harder than she thought to cook for one, it was also strange to think what it was SHE wanted to eat for dinner. She was used to cooking Marvin’s favourite. She had never really cared much for cottage pie, black pudding nor bacon and cabbage! The bed felt way too big without him in it and she had a hard time falling asleep in complete silence, as years of his snoring had become her night-time lullaby.

Most people would describe Rita Murphy as a delight. She truly was a good-natured person who spread love and joy around as much as she could. Her philosophy was that life was simply to short not to.

There was more, however, to Rita than her neighbours knew. She was a little more mischievous than they would have imagined. The thing was Marvin used to work. He used to bring home money for food, the bills and whatever else was needed. Her retirement payments were not very high and she wanted to keep as much aside of the inheritance for her children and grandchildren.

Two years ago, her children gave her an iPad for Christmas. They set her up so she could have video calls with them. She was over the moon with the present as now she could watch her grandchildren grow and see her children as well as hear their voices when they were down south. Her grandchildren would call her to play instruments for her, show her certificates they got at school and let her participate in a way she would not have been able to without the video function.

A few months later as she watched a movie on a Friday night there was a scene where a woman’s occupation was to get undressed in front of a camera and talk dirty. She did not think much off it. However, when it was time to renew the car insurance, she thought to herself: “Would anyone be interested in an old gal like myself?”. She got her tablet out and Googled. That was something else her children had taught her. It was fascinating how one could look up anything with this thing!

To her surprise there was quite a market for fit grandmothers, or GILFS as they seemed to be called.

She thought about it for a week. It seemed harmless, she would not have to meet anyone, she could make sure only to speak to people from other countries and it would be completely up to her when she would work and how much work she would do.

It seemed ideal to be honest. Of course, not having to work at all would have been perfect but she told herself: “A girl has got to eat!”. From that day on she had a job, in front of the camera on her iPad, talking dirty to strangers, while taking her clothes off.

Her neighbour’s jaws would have dropped and time would have stood still if they would have heard. Rita knew this, therefore, as a consideration to all her lovely neighbours, Mrs. Rita Murphy’s occupation was the best kept secret on Park Road.

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