There’s a man that no man knows.
They don’t know where he lives. They know nothing about his life. They have no idea what he does. All they know is they know nothing about this man. One day in the big cafe in the small town near the corner by the old post office the man that no one knows walks into the coffee shop.
The man is not alone, his mother is with him. Everyone knows the man to look at and they all know he is with his mother because despite the fact no one has heard him say much of anything his mother calls him son and that’s how they know.
On one table are three guys that see the man they really don’t know on a regular basis. They look at the man, they say things about the man and they laugh about the man because they have oh so perfect lives that are better than the lives of the man with his mother – or so they think. On the other table is a bunch of gossiping, whispering women that see the man as disgusting, weird and probably a little simple.
They then all say things like, ‘my husband can act a little simple’, my man does things you wouldn’t believe’, my man loves to do things I can’t talk about here’ and then they all laugh in unison like a flock of lionesses that have caught their stalk. Yet the man that no one knows that they al think they know has a life like them. His life is simple, his life is uncomplicated yet in his late 60s or early 70s clearly he should have been married at some point.
37 years ago and another five years on top – 42 years ago there was someone. The man that no one knows found love, his true love. Her name was Rose, his name is Stanley. Stanley lives on a farm with his mother today and 42 years before he still lived on that farm with his mother and father when his father still lived. Stanley met Rose at a dance that had been arranged by the Church, thats how it was in those days. Stanley was also old fashioned, oh so older than old fashioned.
Rose was a truly beautiful English Rose of a woman. Her pale skin brought to life by her pinkish pink cheeks and ruby red full lips. Her hair curled in the rain and bounced in the wind. Her smile could bring a smile to a room full of frowns. Her breasts would bounce with their fullness in the summer sun as she walked across the fields and her hips curved, bent and swept around in all the right places. Stanley dreamt almost every minute of the day when they were to be married and he could finally unravel her cloth layers to reveal her warm flesh before him ready to devour and make love to.
He wanted to kiss her ripe breasts and gently caress her nipples with his tongue, he wanted to run his hand across her naked back right down between her legs. He wanted to kiss her from the tip of her toes and then covering every last millimetre of skin on her body. He was a lover that wanted to become a lover. Stanley gave her gifs, gave her time and gave her every last bit of love that his body could produce. They had never made love in reality buy in his dreams it happened everyday. He felt that if he loved a woman he could only ever love one woman and Rose was that woman.
Stanley loved her, he adored her and promised that if this day was to be his last and final breath that breath would be for Rose and Rose only. The day had almost arrived when both Stanley and Rose were to become husband and wife.
Just 11 weeks before the weeding Rose had a pain in her back that refused to go away. The more she ignored it the worse it started to become. Her mother told her it was just stress due to her wedding coming. Her father told her she must have pulled it whilst working on the farm but then one day the pain started to show itself as a small lump. Rose quickly went to the Doctor and after test upon test upon test Rose filly had the news 5 weeks before her wedding that she had cancer and that cancer was estimated to take her life in around 4 weeks. In fact the cancer had been there for years but this was the first and last time it would reveal itself. As promised by the medical experts, just one week before her wedding Rose died. Stanley was broken, smashed, rent in two. his lover had gone, his wife of the future was not to be any longer, his dreams, his plans his family his everything had gone.
Death had snatched away his life right from under his nose. 37 plus five years – 42 years later Stanley sits in the big coffee shop on the corner in the small city and sits alone with his mother. His plan after the death of Rose was simple.
She had died, he had already dedicated his life to Rose so his life had come to an end when Rose died. Now he stays with his mother and waits for the angel of death to visit and take him to join Rose. Stanley was a young man in love. His love brought him to life and kept him alive.
Stanley is still alive and still in love but not as we know it or even accept it. And it made me think as I was looking at him whilst in this cafe at the same time. It made me think that what we see isn’t actually what really is. This man looks like he has missed his life. His boat arrived and he missed it. He looks like he has been a reject and lived with his mother all of his life. He looks like he hasn’t had a thought or an idea of living for all of his life. Yet the reality is at one time he had dreams, he had fantasies, he had thoughts of love, passion and maybe even a family with Rose.
Once she died his life died at that same minute her breath ceased. His is a story of love not loneliness or a man lost and missed his boat to a simple mind. This a story of life itself and how life itself can snatch, twist, turn, divert and direct life in ways that no man could ever realise was just about to arrive.
Maybe if Stanley had accepted it as part of life, maybe if he had been aware to the reality of tragedy and life throwing life at us he could have moved on. He could have made more of his one and only life and lived that one and only life better to serve other and even create a new life at the end of the first life he had planned up until the death of Rose.
Stanley sits with his mother, staring into nothing, drinking his coffee, looking like a simple man that has missed his life and is waiting for nothing in particular. Yet the guys still laugh and the women still gossip about poor old Stanley the man that could never know.
Writer Alan Forrest Smith.