I hope you enjoy this week’s episode of Queer Tango and have your glasses at the ready. As always please excuse the typos.
Episode 47: Lovely Eyes.
Gaynor Wiggleton was known for her clippers, yes, and she was known for her sneer and her moodiness and for having a husband who wore a frock to the pub and spent more time putting on his wig than she did doing her hair. She was known as one of the many kids who’d grown up in a family that made Trevor look normal, who had a beautiful daughter who put the wiggle in Wiggleton and that she and Stan had to dance continuously when carrying her. Gaynor was known as the woman who looked better in a suit than her husband and spent more time fiddling with her suit tie than he did; but, as many in Bumblethorpe would tell you, Gaynor was very famous for her dark glasses. She’d worn them from childhood to school, home, out with friends, styling her hair, on dates with Stan, in the bath, at her wedding, in dance classes and work and even with her posh suit. Yes, Gaynor’s glasses had remained in place since she was a teenager and Lanie was certain the only person who knew Gaynor’s eye colour was Stan. And, even Stan didn’t know that they weren’t sunglasses, they were actual spectacles because she couldn’t see past her nose without them. They weren’t actually supposed to be dark, but when she’d had them as a kid, the tinting effect which changed with the light had broken. Her mother, as logical as she was, told her that she’d splashed out on buying one set of glasses and opticians put fillings in your eyes or pulled them out if you kept going back. So, Gaynor and her not-so-sunglasses stayed well away from opticians and their fillings.
That had worked for the many years since she’d left school and got married and all the other stuff like working, but, since she’d had Liza, she’d had to read small print on baby bottle instructions and baby clothes and other stuff like how to remove baby excretions from her clothing…. and, well, she’d always assumed she could read the print… she had.
‘Luv,’ Stan said from the living room as he bounced Liza on his knee and sang to her. ‘Are you sure she’s meant to have that much food?’
‘Why?’ Gaynor walked in from the kitchen and shoulder barged the door and Stan always thought it was because she was in a mood but she hit the doorframes a lot. Navigating them was a bit like dancing with George.
‘Well, Liza’s full when she eats one of those meals… and she is putting on a lot of weight.’ He huffed as Liza landed on his stomach.
‘It says she’s meant to eat twelve of them,’ Gaynor nodded then shrugged. She didn’t know why a baby needed to eat that much because she was sure she didn’t eat that much but baby’s grew so maybe they needed more food.
‘I don’t get how.’ Stan got up and groaned as he lifted Liza into his arms. ‘She could be weight training.’
‘Oi, that’s our Liza you’re calling overweight.’ Gaynor poked him then took Liza off him and grunted. She wasn’t light. ‘Where you going?’
‘I’m checking,’ Stan said and headed past her to the kitchen.
‘I can read,’ she snapped.
Stan stopped and hunched. ‘I’m still checking.’ He scurried off before she could yell at him.
Liza started grizzling.
‘I’m dancing.’ Gaynor bounced around the hallway, her arms getting tired.
‘Luv,’ Stan said in a moody tone.
‘What?’ she said doubling that tone.
‘It says, she needs half a portion each day,’ Stan muttered and poked his head through the doorway. ‘Half… not twelve. She’ll need an ice cream van on her for Lanie to bicycle up at this rate.’
Liza giggled and grabbed Gaynor’s glasses. Crack.
Stan hunched as the glasses fell onto the floor in two. Okay, so they had been Sellotaped together in several places for years, but that was strong for a baby.
‘It don’t say half,’ Gaynor said, squinting at the brightness in the room. ‘It said twelve.’
‘No, it has a half on it, you know, one with a line between it and the two… half… like George’s portions of fries when the freezer is playing up.’ Stan headed over and picked up her glasses then studied them, peered through them, then squinted, then blinked a few times. ‘When did you need glasses?’
‘I had them as a kid.’ Gaynor tried to take them off him but Liza took off one of the arms and stuck it in her mouth. ‘Oi, they’ll need mending again.’
‘You need new ones,’ Stan said studying her. ‘You have beautiful eyes.’
‘What you trying to get out of me now?’ Gaynor bounced Liza around and pursed her lips.
‘I’m not… I just don’t see your eyes in daylight.’ He studied her. ‘You’re even prettier when you show your eyes.’
‘And moodier.’ He flinched. ‘Your mother is pretty moody, huh?’ He chuckled at Liza who chuckled back.
Gaynor took the arm of the glasses off Liza and shoved it up Stan’s nose.
‘Right,’ Stan said with a blink. ‘We’ll get you some new ones.’
‘No, I can see fine.’ Gaynor turned and fell over nothing threw Liza and landed in a George-splat on the floor. ‘Ow.’
Stan caught Liza and put her down then hurried to help. ‘Why didn’t you walk around the table if you can see then?’
‘It jumped out at me.’ She groaned as Stan helped her up.
‘We can get you nice glasses… if you need them tinted we can… or you could have nice clear ones to show off your eyes.’ Stan smiled at her sweetly. ‘I love your eyes.’
‘You want to sleep in the garage?’ Gaynor muttered then shook her head. Stan was blurry but she knew how his cute smile worked.
‘No.’ He grabbed her around the waist. ‘I want to see your eyes more.’
‘Get lost, Wiggleton, I can see fine. My glasses are fine… with some tape.’ Gaynor went to walk then fell over nothing again. ‘Will you move the stupid table?’
‘You fell over Liza,’ Stan said and tucked Liza under one arm and grabbed Gaynor by the hand and hoisted her up. ‘We’re going to get you new glasses.’
‘I’m not getting a filling.’ Gaynor tugged herself free then walked into the bannister. ‘Ow.’
‘I said I was taking you to the opticians not Miriam… unless she does glasses too?’ He pulled her into him and guided her… well through blurriness but it was bright and painful. ‘I don’t think I’d want her checking my eyes.’
‘I’m not going to an optician, they pull your eyes out.’ Gaynor pointed to her face. ‘You said you like them, why do you want them to get pulled out?’
‘Luv,’ Stan said in his patient tone. ‘Your mother told you that, didn’t she?’
‘She thinks Doctors take out teeth so they can see your tonsils.’ Stan put her into the van by the smell of teenage boy aftershave—Hedges Junior was still ‘assisting’ Stan—and shut the door. ‘She thinks dentists cut your toenails.’
‘Why are you saying that like she’s silly?’ Gaynor asked as she heard Liza giggling—must be in her baby seat. She loved that seat because sitting in Stan’s maintenance van was like being bounced around—Colin had done his suspension.
‘She’s not silly, she’s just… not always… with it.’ Stan got in and they bounced along with tools rattling and Liza giggling.
‘What do opticians do then?’ Gaynor said and folded her arms, glad she had a seatbelt but thinking she should have waited to eat lunch.
‘They stick glass in front of your eyes… lenses… and you read stuff… and they stick the lenses in your frames.’ He said as he always did when talking about her mother… like it was funny. ‘So you can see the hall table.’
‘I can see fine.’ Gaynor sighed as they stopped and Stan opened the door. She went to get out and fell out of the van into his arms. ‘Oi.’
‘Oi yourself,’ Stan said in a daft tone and twirled her. ‘If you stop throwing yourself at me we can sort out your eyes.’
‘I’m not having my eyes filled.’ Gaynor tried to poke Stan in the shoulder and grunted as she poked something metal and hard. ‘You listening.’
‘I’m listening.’ Stan dragged her into some building where Andy’s flamboyant laugh was blurting out. ‘Ruby, why you flirting with the poor girl now?’
‘Gladys loves my tiles, Stanetta,’ Andy said in a jolly tone. ‘And… wait… is that Gaynor… ooh, don’t you have lovely eyes.’
‘Don’t you start, I’m not having your babies too.’ Gaynor folded her arms and punched something by accident then yelped.
‘That’s the glasses stand, Gaynor,’ Andy said in a confused tone. ‘It doesn’t want to have your babies.’
‘She can see though,’ Stan said with a chuckle.
‘Then maybe you shouldn’t get her eyes tested because she’ll be able to see you.’ Andy was teasing, as always, and Stan laughed at him. She blamed it on wigs and the dresses personally.
‘I can see,’ Gaynor said with a sigh. ‘I don’t want a filling.’
Andy sucked in his breath. ‘Why would you want a filling. Is Miriam doing surprise check-ups?’
Ah, now she could see Andy because he was running away.
Gaynor giggled then Liza giggled too.
‘That was mean. You know how Miriam gets when she’s doing check ups.’ Stan lowered his voice. ‘She pinned George.’
‘Well, someone has to or she’d need to install a George-Mat.’ Gaynor flapped her arms about and hit something with her hand again. ‘I don’t want a filling so get on with it.’
‘Her mother is…’ Stan took a breath. ‘Well… she’s…’ He took another breath. ‘I’m not sure how to really put her into words but she’s…’ He sighed. ‘She lives on the old farm toward Titterbridge.’
‘Ah,’ someone said nearby. ‘She asked me if I could fix her teeth.’
‘That’s the one,’ Stan said and someone shoved her forward by the shoulders. ‘She can’t see.’
‘I can see.’ Gaynor shrugged. ‘Shapes and… well… light.’
‘How strong were these?’ Stan said waving something around.
‘Dunno. I had them off my mother’s friend.’ Gaynor chewed on her lip. ‘I paid him my pocket money for them so I didn’t have to get a filling.’
‘Can you read this chart for me?’ the person—sounded like Tammy’s oldest daughter but they were far too polite for that.
‘Why can’t you read it yourself. You’re the optician, aren’t you?’ She tutted and folded her arms. ‘If you can see, why am I trusting you to come near my eyes with a chisel.’
‘A what?’ the person said in shock.
‘A chisel. How else are you supposed to look in my eyes?’ Gaynor turned and hoped it was toward the door. ‘They don’t even know how to use a chisel.’
‘I use an ophthalmoscope,’ they said with a patient tone. ‘I don’t use a ruler to measure your pulse either.’
‘My mother said you did.’ Gaynor grunted as Stan turned her back around. ‘She said that you do toes on the side.’
‘Just go with it, it’s easier,’ Stan said in a patient tone. ‘Her mother makes Ceri’s look with it.’
‘Oi.’ Gaynor tried to poke Stan but poked someone who yelped.
‘Oi yourself,’ Stan said from the other side of her. ‘And watch Gladys, she’s only laughed at you talking to the glasses display once.’
Gaynor scowled. ‘Then where is the chart?’
‘This way,’ Stan turned her by the shoulders.
‘It’s bright. How am I supposed to see if it’s bright. I had dark glasses.’ Gaynor shook her head. ‘I can’t read when they stick the light on.’
‘The optician hasn’t yet,’ Stan muttered. ‘These were hers… or whoever sold them to her owned them.’
‘These are prescription sunglasses,’ the optician said with a gentle tone. ‘They are varifocals too.’
‘There’s no need to get personal,’ Gaynor snapped.
‘He means they got different lenses in them… one for the top and one for the bottom.’ Stan sounded like he knew what he was on about. ‘Does she need them?’
‘Try seeing through them,’ the optician said.
Stan stuck them on her nose and she winced at the board. ‘It says two goggles for I.’
‘No, that’s the offer sticker on the display,’ Stan said with a sigh. ‘And it’s two glasses for one.’
‘Same thing.’ Gaynor smiled at Liza who giggled back.
‘Try reading the chart,’ the optician said.
‘I can’t see the flipping chart.’ She turned and headed toward the door.
Stan dragged her back.
‘Try some lenses…’ the optician said.
And they tried loads and she could still only see two goggles let alone the chart. The optician looked in her eyes and squirted air in her eyes and then flashed lights at them but they seemed healthy. Then the optician muttered under her breath and then muttered some more.
‘Try these,’ she said and held up a lens.
Gaynor could see the chart and the two for one offer on lenses and even Stan and Liza in clear view. ‘You have a big head,’ she said to Stan.
‘I do,’ Stan said with a grin.
‘Why haven’t you given me these before?’ Gaynor said with pursed lips. ‘I could have taught George to dance quicker.’
‘They are special lenses which direct the light differently into your eye…’ the optician who really did look like Tammy said. ‘They work for you though?’
‘They do.’ She smiled. ‘But it’s still bright.’
‘We’ll put a special tinting effect in them so they are dark when it’s bright and clear when it’s dark.’ The optician pointed to the frames. ‘You can have nice new ones… or goggles for I…’
Gaynor scowled. ‘I can see well enough to poke you.’
The optician chewed on her gum and shrugged. Must be Tammy’s oldest daughter but was she old enough to be an optician. Her middle daughter was Hedges Junior’s love interest but still, Tammy wasn’t old enough to have grown up kids, was she?
‘You Colin’s kid?’ Although Tracy chewed gum but Tracy was not a redhead.
‘Yep.’ The optician tapped her pocket and pulled out a Snickers.
‘But you’re being legal.’ Gaynor looked at Stan who smirked.
‘She is. She’s going out with Tracy’s boy.’ Stan waved at the Bumblethorpe police station. ‘To think, they both have steady jobs.’
‘Dad isn’t happy,’ the optician said. ‘He didn’t want me turning out like them kids on right side of Bumblethorpe Hill.’
Gaynor and Stan looked at the glasses and, reassured Tammy’s girl wasn’t going to give her eyes a filling or pull them out, Gaynor picked a posh pair. The optician sent them upstairs as Gaynor and Stan danced with Liza and then Tammy’s kid put the frames on Gaynor.
‘How’s that for fit?’ she said with a smug grin like Colin pulled when he’d ‘borrowed’ goods with Ricky.
‘Lovely,’ Stan said with a clap and Liza giggled.
Gaynor walked over to the mirror and blinked at herself. ‘They feel nice and they look nice… and I can see.’
Tammy’s kid nodded. ‘I’ll tell Ricky that. He will be pleased.’
‘Why?’ Stan asked as they headed to the door.
‘He’s the supplier,’ Tammy’s kid said with a snort. ‘Just don’t let on to my fella, will you?’ She pulled out her Snickers and wandered off.
Gaynor shook her head and didn’t walk into the doorframe but instead bumped into Stan on purpose.
‘Oi,’ he said with a chuckle.
‘Oi yourself,’ she said back and tickled Liza who wriggled in his arms. ‘You were right,’ she said.
‘I know, your mother is not with it and you couldn’t see?’ Stan said tilting his chin with a smug smile.
‘No,’ Gaynor said and took Liza from him and danced about.
‘What then,’ Stan said waving at Andy on the rooftop.
‘My eyes,’ she said and tapped her glasses. ‘I do have lovely eyes.’