She lived with dues forgotten,
And a sense of arid waste
Life had stacked the deck again;
And hadn't dealt the ace.
Where might reside the Kings of Hearts?
Were they in Fortune's sleeve?
Or lay they tattered on the floor,
While she was left to grieve?
Patricia waited, sighed and pined,
For glamour that her life denied.
At forty-five she advertised
To find a caring heart,
"A gent of fifty years or so,
Who's fond of cats, and art."
The answers came, but not her mate,
A greying, shuffled crew
Who hated cats and leered at nudes
And made their own home-brew.
Patricia waited, hopelessly,
To find her yearned-for king-to-be.
And then, on walking through the mall,
By Fortune's sleight of hand,
Patricia chanced to see the one,
Who might her heart command;
Tall and straight, with open face,
And glossy head of hair,
A swinging walk of confidence;
A bloke outside compare.
Patricia felt the breath of spring,
She'd spotted her essential king!
And yet... she wilted, sad and sere;
(She knew her love he'd shun)
His face still bore the boyish curves
He might have been her son!
Her cheeks she'd treated with the creams,
That promised lasting youth,
But poor Patricia knew they lied;
Her mirror told the truth!
Patricia heaved a rueful sigh,
And watched Adonis wander by.
She watched him passing every week,
And saw him as he shopped;
His tee-shirt stated; "Pussy-Man",
His bookstore buys were topped,
A treatise on Picasso, first,
And later, weird Cezanne;
Patricia watched with craving thirst,
And longed to hug the man.
Patricia knew it wouldn't do;
The smiling boy had not a clue!
She learned his name, and his address
And even met his dad,
A smiling, kindly, balding bloke,
Who quite adored the lad;
"We named him Christopher," he said,
"He's always known as Chris;
He's twenty now, and visits me;
Yeah, nice to meet you, Miss!"
Patricia shook him by the hand.
No way the dad could understand.
And there the story might have ceased
Had not a vehicle parked,
Quite suddenly outside her house
(Its silent motor sparked).
A gent in topper, tails and tie,
Went scooting out the door;
Bellowing across the night;
"Begone! I'll fly no more!"
Patricia watched with dropping jaw
Should she scream, or call the law?
Instead, she went to check it out,
The opalescent sphere;
And saw the rego sticker's date,
Betold a future year.
A time machine? It had to be!
Patricia had no doubt
That Fate had dealt another hand;
She'd better check it out!
Patricia grasped the challenge then,
And clambered in, and whispered..."When?"
Her fingers trembled as she gauged
The year she must apply;
"Minus twenty-six!" she said,
And dialled it – do or die.
The summers flickered retro-bound,
Patricia felt her face,
Grow smooth and taut and fair again,
And hey – she had a waist!
Patricia preened a little bit,
Youth had restored her perky bits.
She left the time machine behind,
And hurried to the door,
Where "Pussy-Man", "Picasso's friend"
Resided (Number Four),
She raised her hand (the knuckles smooth)
And gave a timid knock,
Footsteps clattered in the house,
A key turned in the lock.
Patricia drew unsteady breath;
Re-young, renewed... and scared to death.
"Chris?" The door was open now,
An honest face looked out.
Patricia met him smile for smile,
And then in sudden doubt.
The stocky frame was not the one
She longed so much to find-
(The sun was blotting in her sight...
Could she be going blind?)
Patricia stumbled to the jamb,
And muttered, (fainting) "Damn- oh damn!"
She woke, (of course) upon a bed,
The bloke, said; "Stay a while?
"I'll make you coffee... eggs? Or tea?"
Patricia stayed. She liked his smile.
She found she liked his voice as well,
But so polite, he called her 'Miss',
And said, so sorry, but he didn't
Know a bloke by name of 'Chris'.
Patricia put away her hope,
And stayed a while. (She liked the bloke.)
A while became a week or so,
A week became a year,
Patricia was in love at last
(And made it pretty clear.)
Her King of Hearts from in the past
Might not have been so regal,
But wed (with forged identity)
She made it kind of legal.
Patricia quite forgot her scheme
For now she loved and lived her dream.
It wasn't long until a son
Lay at Patricia's breast,
They called him 'Chris', (Of course they did),
And knew that they'd been blessed.
The years have passed, and he is grown,
Her husband's balding on the top,
By Fate they're rearranged.
Patricia loves the way it went,
She's happy now, and so content.
The time machine? Patricia shrugs,
She never saw the thing again,
And never wanted to return
She loves, is loved, by both her men.
And Chris, the child of Time and Chance
Will never know of Fortune's plan...
He loves Picasso, and Cezanne...
His shirt proclaims him 'Pussy-Man'.
Patricia, visiting the mall
Has never met herself, at all...