Carpet Burns!

Not an awful long time ago, in fact in my early adulthood, I behaved in such a way that this story should have been from the earlier days that I’m so fond of recalling and sharing with you, however, while ensconced in a book tonight that I bought and read over and over whilst in those years, I couldn’t help but to think back. I’m usually not content to remember my early adulthood as there are some experiences I could well do without being at the forefront of my mind, though just this once, I’ll share this little gem.

I embarked on independence fairly early on in my life and by the time I was in my late teens, I had my own home, a car, my very own cleaning lady, and the promise of a decent career; not the path I truly wanted to follow but some things don’t always go to plan – and, well, it has been interesting; I had already made a child, my wonderful son, by the time I was almost twenty – I held him really close and sobbed like a baby when he popped out! And although I have no wish for his mother to endure such labour pains again, I could quite happily nip back and relive that moment time after time, after time…

For a very short while I had to move back in with my parents while, for want of a better phrase, I was ‘between houses’. This wasn’t ideal as having tasted the freedom to not make my bed, drop crumbs wherever and whenever I had a mind, leave my socks and knickers lying about and not dust or hoover for a few days, it was a challenge to be back with mum, bless her, and to be vigilant that random articles of my food and possessions were not strewn about the place…

It was quite surreal being back ‘home’ and in my old room; gone were the posters that clad my walls from skirt to ceiling, gone was the stereo, gone was the huge record collection along with my old guitar and Star Wars action figures and life-size plastic light-sabre… I later bought this house and had every intention of using ‘that’ room as a study, somewhere to disappear and relax, etc… I never got ’round to it and made do with a library and study in the old dining room. Anyway…

At that time, the girl who was to be my wife a little later on, would visit right after I returned from work every day. After a reasonably sociable dinner with mum and dad we’d retire to my room and decide on whether we would go out for the evening or just stay in. If we went out then that meant a change of clothes; no way would I go out in my scruffs…besides, mum wouldn’t dream of letting me out looking like such a tramp! One particular evening we decided that we would go out and spend time with some friends, which of course meant a quick change into more presentable clothing.

Back then I really enjoyed a cigarette, however, under no circumstances was I permitted to smoke in any of the upstairs rooms, despite the fact that for most of the time I was there, I spent hours hanging out of the bedroom window, wafting away smoke then spraying oodles of air freshener… Mum and dad weren’t stupid though and I usually got a lecture.

My girlfriend’s friend called in and as was normal, she was let in and ushered upstairs to my room, where we’d hear a little knock before a big smily face would appear around the door. So, changing to go was a very swift affair, however, with my girl’s friend in the room, I busied myself crouching down on the other side of the bed, hiding my discretion while I pulled on some clean trousers. This was a very simple process as any young adult capable of dressing themselves to a reasonable standard would appreciate, however, too idle at the time to put out the cigarette I was smoking, I held it between my lips while I semi-struggled, almost out of sight behind the bed. With involuntarily narrowed eyes, which is supposed to prevent smoke drifting up and stinging them, and pulling on the trousers, I sneezed! Out came the cigarette! With almost lightening reflexes, I moved my body around where I was able to pat at the burning cigarette, admittedly, in blind panic, not uttering or muttering but ‘spitting’, “shit!” Disaster! there was a black-burn hole in the carpet roughly the size of a small coaster, a mat you might pop your tea-cup on… This room was immaculate! And I was horrified! The girls were ‘oo-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’, and stating the obvious while sucking in air between their teeth, “your mother’s gonna skin you, Robert!” “Hang on!” I said, “I have an idea…” I crawled around on hands and knees and with my thumb and forefinger, gently collected up a nice sampling of the pile of the carpet in my fingers. This would do for now and filled the burn hole quite neatly; patting it down gently until it all looked completely normal. I was thrilled with the result, however, none of us had thought with any more depth….this wasn’t good.

A couple of days had passed and on returning from work, the burn hole completely out of mind, I clambered out of my car to be met by dad who was swilling the pathway… “Keep your head down if I was you in there…”, said dad with a look of dread in his eyes. I wondered and said, “Oh, right, who’s died now?”, with just a hint of sarcasm… Dad volleyed back, “no-one…yet. Your mother vacuumed your room this afternoon!” Once again, I found myself uttering, although through clenched teeth this time, and very quietly, “…shit…”

“You should have used glue…”, said dad.


About Robert

A fifty-something, retired Celestial Travel Agent. Walked many paths; some good, lots bad. Meandering through the past, plodding in the present, crawling toward the future.
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