Tilly Treadwell was having a good day. She could almost throw away her stick. It was her steps that were forcing the world to go round and not her walking on it. Her purple Dr. Martin shoes slapped down as she made her way along the river to town. She felt well today and was going to make the most of it. She smiled at people as she passed, taking care to suck her teeth in so they wouldn’t drop. Swinging her arms and her stick as if she were in a jazz band.
At 84, she could still turn heads although not for the reasons she thought.
She was a startling image with her sand coloured moleskin trousers, slightly too short, a bargain at the charity shop and were her favourites. She had her cotton purple, black and orange African tunic that was very pleasant to wear in warm weather and showed off the sunburn on her arms. She wore her khaki baseball cap so she didn’t have to bother fussing with her short grey bed head hair and had even plucked a daffodil and pinned it to the back of the hat so it waved as she walked. Her dream catcher earing’s finished off the outfit beautifully she thought.
Her army surplus backpack served as her handbag and today it contained something very special. Today she had a purpose and would shortly be ticking another item off her bucket list.
There were a group of kids sitting about the fountain as she approached. One of the lads winked and immediately regretted it as Tilly broadly smiled flirtatious, and stomped seductively towards him and plonked down squishing amidst them.
She laughed to herself thinking ‘job done’ as she saw them squirm, hurriedly grab their belongings and retreat towards the seafront. Overhearing one of the girls as she elbowed the lad “Ew! She fancied you!”
She sat swinging her legs and enjoying the sun enriched moment. The garage window across the street reflecting back an image of a younger woman.
She swapped her sunglasses for the ones hanging around her neck by knicker elastic and looked around. The coast was clear so she slipped off her backpack and rummaged. A quick last check and unscrewed the top of the large plastic container, leaving it below the surface of the water.
From a safe distance sat on a bench between trees Tilly watched with bursting glee.
The purple dye had been a great touch to the industrial strength washing up liquid.
Disappointment filled her body, it was taking too long, maybe’s she hadn’t used enough. It had worked fine in the toilets at the home.
A little patience and the correct amount of splashing started the chain reaction. For a moment she regretted her friends weren’t with her.
“Oh my! That does look rather splendid “as the purple foam crawled from the fountain and started to grow.
Tilly laughed openly as the foam spread, producing purple bubbles that glittered metallically as they blew along. She was so proud of herself.
It was a beautiful purple vision to behold. Lifting a huge skirt of bubbles out of the fountain and swallowing up all in its path.
The foam seemed to be on a mission and was reproducing at an alarming speed. It stood easily at forty feet and was still growing. The good-natured foam turned evil and decided to cross the road, making it impossible for traffic to pass through it.
“Oh bloody hell! Tilly silently mouthed, she gripped the metal hand rail of the bench, as if white knuckles would calm the swelling suds.
Cars were being sensibly cautious and coming to a stop. A police car pushed its nose through the soapy fog and slowly came to a stop in front of her, and wound the window down.
“Hello sweetheart” It was her friend Nettie’s grandson Tom.
“Aye I saw a crowd of them going down to the front. A girl in a pink dress with black hair was the trouble maker. She was cheeky to me too”
“Thanks for that! Send Nan my love. See ya”
Tilly waved and waited until he disappeared back into the foam and hurried along the road back to Golden Acorns Nursing home.
She was passing people who had clearly heard about the purple fountain foam and they were rushing past. Tilly felt happy at the stir she had created.
There was a coach that had stopped and some of the people had got off to have a cigarette, including the driver. Tilly saw that it was heading to the Trossachs in Scotland. Reminded of a time many years ago when she had worked up there. It would be nice to see it again sometime.
She crossed the road and walked around the back of the bus, lit a cigarette and stood with the others, smiling and exchanging a few pleasantries about the weather.
“Ok folks! Looks like we can get going again. Everyone on” shouted the bus driver. He walked towards Tilly and put his hand on her arm as if to help.
“Thank you” without a thought and stepped on the coach and found a seat near the front. The coach smelt new and she had a double seat to herself.
It would be an adventure and if anyone questioned her she would pretend she had Alzheimer’s. It works every time. As the coach pulled away and through the foam, Tilly started swing her legs again. They would drive passed the nursing home. She wondered if Dee would be up yet. For the first time, she felt excited to see the nursing home and Dee was at the window. Tilly waved furiously and Dee saw her, waved and shook her head.
Tilly took her little leather notebook out and ticked another item off her bucket list.