Ruth was the practical sort. She had no patience for those who insisted on being miserable. “Self-appointed martyrs” she called them. So when neighbour Brent developed an allergy to peanut butter, Ruth had no qualms at dismissing “such nonsense” immediately.
“Don’t fool me into thinking you went for fifty years and then suddenly out of the blue you can’t eat peanut butter. It’s all in the head,” she said.
To prove her point she made a tin of delectable chocolate and coconut balls with a surreptitious spoon or two of peanut butter in the ingredients. “Once he’s eaten it and survives,” said Ruth, “I shall tell him in no uncertain terms that this peanut butter nonsense is all in his head.”
He was like that – Bruno. He knew that Coralie had all sorts of allergies. She was asthmatic and would react particularly to flower pollen. That’s why every time Bruno visited he would bring her a bunch of lilies. The pollen was atrocious.
Of course, Coralie had to pretend to be pleased, but the minute Bruno left she would take the lilies outside and put them on the back lawn. By then it was too late. The allergy was about to run its course for several days.
Bruno visited once every two weeks to pick up their daughter, Melinda. She would go to Bruno’s every second weekend. With Melinda gone, Coralie had asthma to keep her company.
Bruno was a lawyer. He knew the ins and outs of things. Coralie knew, because Bruno had told her, that if she made a fuss about the flowers he’d make a case that she was too ill to care for Melinda. So that’s why Coralie tried to look pleased.
Anyway, Bruno didn’t have to worry about custody too much; the next time he returned Melinda home Coralie had had an asthma attack and was dead.
Lavinia seemed forever to have a cold. Her nose was endlessly running. She’d use a box of tissues, or half a box at least, every day. She went to see a specialist.
The specialist suggested to Lavinia that she had an allergy. Did she have a cat? A dog? A pet cockatoo? Perhaps she should stop eating bread for a while and see what happens. Perhaps she was allergic to milk, or chocolate, or nuts. After tests, none of these were shown to be the cause of Lavinia’s runny nose.
The specialist did further tests. At last the allergy was discovered! Lavinia was allergic to dust created from dried cockroach poop. To be honest, Lavinia’s house was constantly invaded by cockroaches. Lavinia paid to have her home completely debugged and cleaned. It didn’t work. Lavinia still had a constant cold.
No one had noticed the cockroach that had crawled up and lodged itself deep in Lavinia’s sinuses.