It was the first day of the year, it was very cold and there was this strange knock on the door.
“Hello, can I come in? I had to come here.”
“Hello! Haven't you got a home to go to?”
She was shy, she was certainly not a young woman, her clothing thin and grey. She held a small suitcase.
“No! I had to leave the home?”
“You had better come in, please!”
I heard a short scream, I looked round and saw Deirdre disappearing up the stairs. Had Deirdre seen the new arrival and taken fright?
I took the older woman directly to the kitchen.
“Oh, it's nice and warm in here.”
“Oh, yes, very cosy and better still, here is a mug of cocoa to warm you up from the inside.”
“Oh, I've never had this before, it's very nice.”
I looked at her, I talked to her. She was a short, round, dumpy woman somewhere between forty and sixty. She was rather grumpy and said little. Her name was Mrs Rawlings and she came from the home; she did not say what she did at the home. And she stank of disinfectant.
I took her to the bathroom and washed her. She was a completely different shape, she had body parts that I had not seen before: short legs, a large behind, a Christmas-tree back, pendulous mammary mountains and various love-handles.
I must say that I enjoyed washing Mrs Rawlings, I took my time about it. She must have liked it, because she did not complain. I dried her, put on a white towelling gown and took her to the kitchen where Hollytree was cooking the evening meal.
I was thinking about Deirdre, nobody knew where she was, this was not unusual. I made some sandwiches and took them and a bottle of water to Deirdre's room. The door was locked, but I had a key. I entered and locked the door behind me. The room was dark, but I knew where she was.
I opened the wardrobe door “Hello Deirdre Darling!” I put the sandwiches and the bottle where I thought her hands could be. I told her not to be frightened by Mrs Rawlings “She won't harm you, I've just washed her.” I talked to Deirdre and she made munching noises.
I gave Mrs Rawlings one of my thick, long, winter shirts which went down below her ankles to wear that night, I wanted to find some clothes for her the next day on the internet.
But nothing suited her, plenty of elephant-sized clothing, high heel shoes in sizes bigger than mine, very colourful and weird underwear, but nothing for dumpy and large-in-the-horizontal-direction women. What to do? I phoned Jean Lans, she came to Copper house with a suitcase full of maternity clothes.
We managed to fix her up and Jean said Tinge. “Go to the shop in the High Street, the outfitters for ladies' apparel; you'll need an appointment for the underwear.” I phoned and got a cancelled afternoon slot. How long? The whole afternoon.
I was not prepared for this. Yes, they had all the old-fashioned clothes that Mrs Rawlings wanted. Yes, they had battle-grade underwear. Yes, there was Mrs Tinge.
“Hello Mrs Rawlings, please come into the fitting room, you're really something to get my teeth into, please take your clothes off.” I was embarrassed, but Mrs Rawlings wasn't and Mrs Tinge certainly wasn't.
It got worse, Mrs Tinge fumbled Mrs Rawlings all over for hours. Mrs Rawlings liked it, Mrs Tinge certainly did, I could only stare. Mrs Tinge suddenly went to a rack and took two very large, pink and padded bras and attacked them with pinking shears. She sewed the remains together with a very old-fashioned sewing machine.
“Try that on. It's a bustier to push 'em up and support them. Doesn't that look good?” It didn't look good, but it did look better. “How do you know that Mrs Rawlings wanted a pink and padded one?” “Oh, I just knew.” Mrs Rawlings added that she liked the pretty little flowers on it too.
It took another two hours to get the fit right and find a corset and other stuff to match. “It's not a corset, it's a girdle.” Mrs Rawlings was happy. I was happy. Mrs Rawlings looked more human.
The next day I washed Mrs Rawlings and dressed her, that made me feel good. Now understand this, when I say wash her, I mean wash her, with water, you know, the wet stuff. Nothing else.
That evening I took the doctor out for a good meal. “You're in a good mood, what's on your mind, Yudi?” I told her about Mrs Rawlings, but not that I had washed her.
“Out with it, Yudi. What do want to tell me?”
“I want to, I want to wash you.” The doctor was not surprised, perhaps even happy with the idea. I washed her. She liked it. She washed me. I liked it.
However I could not keep it secret, the hours I spent washing Mrs Rawlings. Hollytree washed her and the doctor washed Mrs Rawlings too. I suppose that good things have to be shared.
My relationship with the doctor got really good, Old Joe asked me down the pub when we were going to get hitched. The two of us enjoyed washing Mrs Rawlings at least twice a week. Deirdre came out of her hibernation and Hollytree got engaged.
However it was not to be, Mrs Rawlings gradually lost her strength especially in her legs – she sat on a plastic stool in the shower, she couldn't stand any more. The day came, Mrs Rawlings was moved into a home for gentle folk.
The doctor said that she had to look after her elder sister and moved to the other end of the country. I suppose she could wash her sister. I never saw the doctor again.