Those of you who are among my longer-term readers or those who have gorged on all my writings may remember Karen. Karen was my ex-girlfriend who I tested from the start. She enjoyed the challenge that I presented to her. At first I charmed her in the usual way but I did not go all out with my weapons of mass seduction. I ascertained that I would draw her in much more readily through the application of challenging behaviour. This behaviour did not belittle or demean her (that, as it always does, comes later). No, instead this behaviour was designed to make her go the extra mile in order to please me. One of the particular ways that I would do this was by appealing to the nurse inside of her.
Karen was not a trained nurse although if she had opted for such a vocation it would have suited her considerably but she was an expert at caring for others and mopping their fevered brows. I used this to my advantage by repeatedly playing the sickness card. I have never done this with anyone else because generally I like to maintain the impression of being fit and healthy but with her I knew it would grab her and it was another method of presenting a challenge. I would feign stomach pains, a sore throat, a bad back, stabbing pains in my feet, headache, blurred vision and such like. If I did not want Karen going out all I had to do was call her and make groans down the telephone and she would come over and embark on her nursing routine. She would take my temperature, gently check the affected area with her fingers, peer into my mouth, place her hand against my brow and so on in respect of whatever affliction I had dreamt up. I would lie in the bed moaning and groaning and asking her to stay and look after me. She always did. She would sit in the chair in the bedroom and watch over me, shuttling back and forth with food (if of course I felt upto eating) hot drinks, cold drinks, medicinal drinks and whatever else I could think of to have her running around after me. She would make soothing noises, massage where it hurt and kiss it all better.She revelled in this role and of course the very next day I was fully recovered and able to go and play golf despite her advising me not to.
“Nonsense,” I would reply as she urged me to stay in bed, “the fresh air will do me good. It was one of those 24 hour things wasn’t it? You can’t keep me down for long, not with you looking after me.”
She would smile and hug me, delighted at my recognition of her nursing of me.
Karen enjoyed ski-ing. She was a real ski nut and massively enthusiastic about it. I less so. I don’t really get it.You ski down a slope once and there you are you have done it. Why go up and around again? Why keep going over and over the same thing repeatedly? Makes no sense to me. She had booked a ski holiday for us both at Val Thorens and we had an impressive chalet (which of course meant chalet maid) to look forward to. As the holiday neared I made repeated comment about how my right knee was giving me trouble. I had injured it when playing football when I was younger and repeated matches thereafter took their toll on it so that occasionally I would wear a brace when playing but it was not anything which ever stopped me from playing my favourite sport. I naturally made reference to the injury as causing me considerable pain and concern as the departure date neared.
“Should we not go?” asked Karen.
“Oh no, I would not want to spoil the holiday. I am sure I will be fine.” I answered.
“Well only if you are sure.”
We flew out and once there I explained that my knee was giving me real trouble and I had decided I was not going to risk any exacerbation of the condition by ski-ing. The friends we went with were suitable sympathetic.
“But please don’t let me stop you, you carry on I will be okay, Karen will look after me.” I announced showing how much of a trooper I was.
“I will just read outside the nearest bar and admire the view with Karen.”
I looked at Karen. She made to say something but did not do so and gave a small nod. Thus Karen did not ski once that holiday but instead she sat with me outside the Bar Hibou and we read, talked and drank beer until our friends returned from their day on their slopes. If she had any complaint she never articulated it but continued to ensure I was looked after. She would walk slowly alongside me to make sure I did not slip as we walked from the chalet to the bar. She would place me in a chair and then allow me to stay there all day, wrapped up with the sun on my face and whatever I needed to hand. She once again showed she was up to the task and would readily put my needs well ahead of her own. She took great care of me. I cannot say I did the same for her however.