Kinder Downfall – Jenny Bridge

Simon was one of those golden people. Or so it appeared. From the moment of his birth he was exceptional. Milestones were achieved in record time and the child’s beauty drew attention from all who saw him. His parents adored him and were able to refuse him nothing, basking in the glory of their infant prodigy.

He sailed through school, effortlessly gathering honours and prizes. He excelled at sports and was a brilliant pianist. After three highly successful years at university Simon, armed with the inevitable first class honours degree, began what would surely be a glittering career. He had chosen one of those lucrative areas in finance that is understood only by

those who practise it and was very soon in a position of notable seniority. He revelled in the power he wielded, enjoyed living in style in a London apartment and liked to be seen in all the right places with all the right people.

Throughout these years his parents saw only perfection. His granny, who loved him unconditionally as grannies do, was nevertheless wiser and more perceptive. She saw that the golden boy was merely wrapped in shiny but fragile foil. Foil which often tore and slipped revealing an interior which was not golden at all. For under the surface Simon was made of something far harder and darker and not at all pleasant.

As he had soared towards his adult goals Simon had left behind him a trail of damage and destruction. Little acts of childhood meanness and dishonesty had grown into self serving habits of deceit and cruelty. Anyone who had tried to stand in Simon’s way had been made to suffer humiliation and occasionally physical violence. His parents being unaware of any faults and his teachers and victims being either too dazzled by his brilliance or too frightened of his cruelty, Simon’s behaviour had remained unchecked. From time to time his granny had tried to remonstrate with him but to no avail. By the time Simon was a mature adult he had become a bully, a cheat and a liar.

It is not, therefore, surprising, that the one area of his life that was unsuccessful was his personal life. The soft arts of love and romance were a mystery to Simon.

He had no idea how to consider anyone’s feelings but his own, nor any real desire to do so. There was no shortage of suitable female companions willing to share Simon’s glamorous activities but gradually he began to notice that, while these beauties clearly enjoyed being on his arm for a night or two, he was unable to form a lasting relationship with any of them.

At first this was not a matter of concern to Simon. He watched his peers enter into matrimony and then fatherhood with curiosity rather than envy. It was only when his desire to gain more of the power that he craved led him to consider a career in politics, that his single status became a problem.

He was advised that he was most unlikely to be adopted as a prospective member of parliament without a wife and at least the likelihood of a future family. It was not, he was told, as if he were a young man any longer. For by now Simon was almost fifty. The voters might accept a handsome young bachelor as a candidate but at Simon’s age respectability was all. And, in this context, respectability included marriage.

At first Simon remained undaunted. Never before had he failed to get what he wanted. He saw no reason to suppose he would do so now. He approached the project in his usual cold and calculating manner, deciding that it would be more efficient and less time wasting if he were to woo several women at once. Thus, when he made a final choice he would have alternatives already in place in the unlikely event that they would be needed.

After careful research he selected Anna, a tall willowy blonde, Sarah, a petite brunette and Maria , a curvaceous redhead. He courted them with lavish flowers and jewellery, took them to fashionable restaurants and flew them to exotic destinations, it was all very tiring not to mention expensive but he had learned that sound investments do not come cheaply.

Anna, Sarah and Maria enjoyed the attentions at first but soon tired of never being consulted on where to go or what to eat, of being told what they must wear and how they must behave. Simon’s reactions if they questioned his choices or disagreed with his opinions alarmed them. Public humiliation and private violence were his weapons of choice and all three women came to fear and loathe him. Of course, none of them knew that the others existed and it was a strange coincidence that all three chose the same evening to pay Simon a surprise visit in order to end the relationships.

The ensuing drama shocked Simon. He had had no idea that women could be so difficult.

With histrionic threats sounding in his ears, he decided to take a short holiday in the countryside. He chose Derbyshire – it being a prudent distance from the three furies without actually being in The North.

As he pored over a map the word Kinder caught his eye – not surprisingly. It was after all his surname. After a comfortable night in a country inn he set off to climb the bleak moor that shared his name. As he climbed he considered his plight and wondered what his next step should be.

Eventually, he reached a wild and windswept plateau and was amazed when there appeared in front of him, apparently from nowhere, the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Why he thought of her as a creature he was unsure, for she was most definitely a woman. Her long golden hair hung to her waist, her skin glowed and her smile was sweet and welcoming. Simon was astonished to see that despite the bitter wind, the woman wore nothing but a thin white dress, which clung to her slender body. For the first time in his life he felt another person’s discomfort.

“You must be frozen,” he said. “Here take my jacket.”

He began to take it off but the woman shook her head and said.

“Come Simon. Look at this.”

As if in a dream, dumbstruck by her use of his name, Simon stepped forward and looked down. They were standing at the edge of a sheer cliff. Jagged rocks tumbled down to a glittering pool below them. For a moment they stood together in awed silence gazing at the magnificent sight.

The woman stretched out her bare arm and gently put her hand on Simon’s shoulder.  The warmth of her touch filled him with an emotion previously unfelt. Maybe he could experience love after all. Overcome by her beauty and the wild grandeur of their surroundings, he barely registered the moment when her caressing touch became a purposeful push.

As he fell he just had time to hear the words,

“This, Simon , is Kinder Downfall.”

 

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