Half my Age Plus Seven – A Sinful Confession

This contemporary, literary romance tells the story of Tara, a 38-year-old East European woman who falls in love with Adrian, a 25-year-old English boy. A psychological tale of mind and heart in a catastrophic collision. Struggles, pain, doubts, desire, guilt, shame, torment, you name it. All human emotions described in detail. But there is more, way more. Very inspirational. A novel for soulful people only. Read it! 

Publication Date: July 11, 2017 


Excerpt

AN OLD MAN IN NEED


My heart was heavy, heavier than a mountain. Not that I know what carrying a mountain feels like. I couldn't breathe from pain. That was it, I was not going to see him again. 'And I failed my exam. I am a total failure. I'll be a cleaner for whole my life. It’s my destiny. I cannot escape it.' I burst into thousands of tears. 
Suddenly it became windy and started to rain. Absolutely typical weather in England. I wasn't surprised or annoyed. I thought it was a projection of the way I felt inside. I wrapped myself up in my raincoat and kept walking. In less than two minutes I was as wet as a badger's pocket. 'I should have taken the bus or at least an umbrella.' 
As I thought that, a broken umbrella flew me by. No one was chasing it, so I turned around to grab it and threw it into a bin. It was a dangerous object, it could have hurt someone.Umbrellas are useless during such windy times. I used to carry an umbrella with me, but I gave up when two of them got broken at the first attempt to use them. I haven't carried any since then, and I don't think I will in the future either. ‘No umbrella could keep you dry in England. Why have I even thought that? I have enough experience to know there is no point.’ 
The city was deserted when I got in. ‘With a dog's weather like that, who was mad enough to walk on the streets without having a purpose like me?’ 
But it wasn’t without purpose at all, I was going to put a senior person to bed. Charity work. I volunteered the first week I got to England. I found the advert in a local newspaper, and I volunteered right away. A complete background check was done on me, a DBS process. I heard of such things in the past, but I never needed one while I lived in Italy. Curious how countries have different policies and rules. I liked the fact they checked the history of a person, but I wondered if they believed in rehabilitation. In the fact that people can change completely if they want to.Anyway, my DBS came out clean, but I knew that already. I always followed the rules. After three days of training, they assigned me an aged man, who was living twenty-five minutes away from my house.This man was living alone and had issues taking care of himself. He was affected by Parkinson’s disease so he couldn't feed himself because of the uncontrollable trembling of his hands, but not only this. He needed someone to help him with the most basic tasks. He was a good man, I liked him a lot. During the day, there were people sent by various medical organisations, but it was hard to find someone to put him to bed. 
I stopped in front of the building and checked my pockets for the key to the entrance. I didn't find it in there, it was in my bag. I went upstairs and knocked on the door number seven. 
“Come on in, Tara,” a happy voice spoke up. 
“How did you know it was me?” 
“Who else would knock on my door, young lady?” 
“Maybe your son?” 
“Nah. I threw him out when he was less than eighteen. He hasn’t spoken to me since. I don't know anything about him. He could be buried somewhere far away, and I am completely unaware of it. Bloody temperament I had. I should have never done that. He was my son! He needed my help.”
“Stop blaming yourself, old man. He left you no choice, he was a drug addict and tried to kill his mother, remember? You took the right decision, you know that,” I said with a firm voice. 
But I wondered if he was starting to feel his absence, “Do you miss him?”
“I can't even remember his face. I only have glimpses of him when he was a sweet child. Such a talented piano player. I must have done something wrong for him to turn out so terrible as a teenager.” 
“Well, I don't know the whole story, but you don't look like a bad person to me. You didn't even smoke in your life. How could a non-smoker be a bad person?!” 
“Now, that's the most ridiculous logic I ever heard! Are you trying to say that all nonsmokers are nice people, or are you just messing with me?” And he gave me a very long look. “You are messing with me, I knew it! You have a very weird sense of humour. It's worse than English humour, but I like it.” Suddenly, the old man noticed my appearance. “Hey, look at you, you're soaking wet! You must be freezing. Young lady, there must be some women's clothes in this house. I am sure of it. Unless someone gave them to charity. Let me think...hmm.” 
The old man put the finger on his face trying to remember where were those clothes, “Aha, I know. They are in my wardrobe, somewhere in a corner. Just a few though. I kept them so I could look at them when I miss my wife too much. I saw them last week. Yes, they are in there. Go see and put some on right away. I don't want you to get a cold. You are shaking more than my Parkinson’s makes me shake. It's very disturbing.” 
I was shaking indeed, terribly. I had to listen to him, so I went and looked for the clothes he said. It took me more than ten minutes to find them. But the old man was right, the clothes were there. I didn't actually believe him. Hmm. I took one piece of clothing and unfolded. It was a winter dress. Velveteen! I looked at it and fell in love. It was green with small yellow flowers. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous it was. I checked the size, fourteen. 'Bugger, I am an eight or a ten!' I thought. 'Who cares? I need to put something dry on me or I will get a cold for sure.' I took my clothes off and put that dress on. It was very loose and long. 'There must be a belt in here somewhere.' 
I looked around and spotted a brown leather one on a chair. I took it and folded it twice around my waist. It was a perfect fit. I put my soaking wet clothes on the drying rack on the corridor. I then went into the bathroom and dried my hair with a clean towel. 'This is perfect.' 
I wanted to make a soup, better a minestrone with meat, my personal recipe. In the kitchen, I turned the hob on and prayed that the girl remembered to buy potatoes, onions, and carrots, as I had left written two days ago.I found everything in the storeroom. I hoped to find some meat in the fridge. No luck though. Except for milk and a lemon, there was nothing else in there. 
'Maybe there is some in the freezer. That would be awesome!' I said to myself. And the first thing I saw when opening the freezer door was a bag of chicken thighs. 'Hurray! I'll make a great Romanian soup. The old man will like it very much!... I hope.' I put the thighs in a bowl and left some water running over them.I put the kettle on, peeled one onion and three potatoes. Minced one carrot and the onion. I then washed the potatoes and diced them. 'My mother would be horrified to see me cooking the potatoes with the skin on. It was unthinkable for me too... until I got here.' 
I smiled and felt grateful for learning that people have different ways of cooking potatoes, and are all good.I took a saucepan from the storeroom and place it on the hob. Dropped in three spoons of olive oil, let it heat for a minute, dumped in the minced carrot and onion. Stirred for three minutes with a wooden spoon, and added one litre of hot water from the kettle. I filled the kettle up and put it on again, took the thighs and let them slide into the saucepan, the same with the diced potatoes, and I covered the pot with a lid, regulating the heat on medium. 
'Shoot, I forgot the peppers! Stupid head. My mother has never forgotten to put the peppers in a minestrone! You're just an amateur, Tara. Amateur!' I lectured myself, but I had to keep cooking without the peppers as it was too late to add them at that point. 'A can of chopped tomatoes would be great. And I hope I put the thyme into my bag this morning. It cannot be a Romanian soup without thyme.' 
I heard the television on; the old man was watching something funny because he was laughing when I opened the door. He stopped though when his eyes set on me. I went and handed him a cup of tea, but he didn't move a muscle.“Hey, old man, what’s wrong? You don't want the tea?” 
“Tara! For a second I thought my wife came back from the dead. But now that you are closer, I can honestly say you look nothing like my wife. It's scary how awful you can appear!”
“All right, old man, thank you. So nice of you to say that after I am brought you tea.”
“That didn't come out right, did it? Hmm. Let me try this again, Tara, you look terrible!” 
I looked at him and burst in laughs. That wasn't much better than before, but I knew he wasn't trying to offend me, so I listened in silence.
“So, so thin! This dress is huge on you! My wife looked like a real diva in it, but you... you look like a child in her mother's dress. This is bad, very bad, Tara. You need to eat. I know that our food is not fantastic, but you're a fabulous cook! For God’s sake, put something in your stomach immediately! Don't tell me you think you're fat! You are not ill, are you? Anorethia or something... that weird disease which affects so many young girls nowadays. They see a fat reflection in the mirror so they don't touch the food. And if they did touch it, they run into a toilet to throw up! So sad, really. You are not affected by it, right?” 
He truly cared for me, I could sense that, and it touched my heart. “All right. You are the third person telling me exactly the same thing in less than a month. I don't have anorexia, I don't think I’m fat. I didn't even look in a mirror since I came here. It's true I don't eat much though. Here, a cup of tea.” I said showing the mug. 
“You know I cannot drink tea in the evenings. The doctor said it stops me from sleeping well.” 
“It's decaf,” I replied.“ 
De... what?!” 
“There is no caffeine in it. There are mechanical systems that extract it from the leaves. It's very popular these days. Coffee and tea without caffeine. You must have seen that on television.” 
“You're joking, right? It makes no sense at all. How can you extract the caffeine from the tea leaves or coffee beans? It destroys all the taste. I am not going to try that. It's unnatural.” 
“You're a funny little man, aren't you? Please, have a sip. I promise I won't make it again if you don't like it, all right? Here, it's not hot.” 
The old man tried to take the mug from my hands but changed his mind in a second. His hands were shaking too much that evening. Holding a mug filled with liquid was not doable. The Parkinson’s was not always that bad. I felt for him. 
I placed the mug on the nightstand and went to look for a straw, but I turned on my feet a second later, grabbed the mug and drew it near his mouth. “One sip.” 
The old man looked at the brown liquid with suspicion, but placed his lips on the border of the mug and had a sip. Held the tea inside his mouth for a few seconds, “Hmm who would have thought... It's got the same taste! Are you sure it's decat or whatever the hell it's called? You are not trying to mess with me again, are you?” he enquired raising his left eyebrow. 
“No, I wouldn't joke about these things, you need sleep. That's great then! I am glad you are not disappointed. I'll make it every time I'll come here, all right?” I said with happiness. 
“Aha... It looks disgusting though. Don't you think?” exclaimed the old man. 
“Absolutely! As all the English teas in the world. Dirty water. Utterly repulsive. That's why I don't drink it. Also because it leaves spots on my teeth.” I confirmed. 
“But it’s good for your teeth, it's got fluoride in it which makes your teeth harder,” continued the old man. 
“Yeah, you're right. I forgot about that. Maybe I should learn to drink it myself. As I did with the whisky. You know the story.”
“Yes. You are a very resilient person, aren't you? Never giving up. Bravo!”

***
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