|"Don't worry Ruby, we'll look after you." If only I hadn't had that fall. Ruby watched out the window as the social worker headed to her car.
"It's alright for her, she's not stuck in this damned chair all day. And I really need to pee." Ruby grabbed at the walking frame. "Owww ..." She found her feet painfully. "Can I make it to the commode in time? I really hope so ... oh ... I'm not going to make it." A puddle formed on the floor. "Oh ... somebody help me ..." The tears came then. She couldn't let go of the frame to pull her wet knickers down. Ruby resigned to her situation and hobbled back to the chair.
"Meals on wheels!" It was a man. "Ruby? I'm Roscoe. I've brought your dinner. It's chicken today."
"Oh, okay." Ruby went red. A man seeing her in this state. "The kitchen's that way." She quickly grabbed a blanket and threw it over her lap. He placed a tray with her meal and cutlery on the small table beside her. "Thank you, Mr. Roscoe."
"I've left your tea in the kitchen, is that alright?"
"Yes, yes. Thank you." She wanted him to leave.
"Same time tomorrow then, bye."
It was eight in the evening when a carer came to put her to bed. "Oh dear, have you been wet for long."
"I'll have to have a word in the office, see what we can do."
"It's me, Roscoe." The man came in carrying lunch and a parcel. "I thought you might need these." He passed Ruby a carrier bag. Inside was a pack of adult nappies. Ruby blushed. Was she pleased or insulted? "It's lamb today." He headed to the kitchen and returned with the tray. "I hear you had trouble getting your tea so I'll leave it on the table for you. Do you have a flask?"
"No, er ... thank you Mr. Roscoe. I can manage now." She looked at the grey haired man. He was about the same age as her. Expensively, if casually, dressed, she wondered why this man was working for Community Meals.
"Mornin' Ruby, and how's my girl today?" I'm not a girl and I'm certainly not yours. "I've brought you a flask so I can make you some tea. It should stay warm all day."
"Thank you, Mr. Roscoe, how much do I owe you?" She reached for her purse.
"Nothing. Can't a man buy a present for a lady?" How do you answer that? Ruby didn't want to insult him but where was this going? "Sweet and sour pork today. And I got you a little treat to go with your tea."
The treat was fruit in jelly. It was only a little thing but Ruby felt uncertain about accepting it. "You must stop buying me things Mr. Roscoe."
"Here's your lunch. It's beef." Roscoe disappeared into the kitchen. Oh dear, I've upset him. He plonked the food on the table and left without another word. I hope I'm still going to get my food. Yes, of course I will. They wouldn't let me starve, would they?
Am I being too sensitive? I'm not used to men buying me presents. My husband never bought me anything, not even on my birthday.
"Hello Ruby, ready for bed?" It was Trish, the evening carer.
"Can I ask you something Trish?"
"Of course. What's worrying you?"
"What would you think about a man buying you gifts?"
"I should be so lucky."
"It's ... Mr. Roscoe, he keeps giving me things. I ... don't know what it means, what he's after."
Trish laughed. "Roscoe buys presents for everyone. He gave me a new watch last month when mine broke. He doesn't mean anything by it. Got more money than sense if you ask me." So it wasn't personal.
"Oh dear, I think I upset him. I thought he was ... you know."
"His wife might have something to say about that. No, his intentions are strictly honorable, but I'll have a word with him if he makes you feel uncomfortable."