That's what you need, isn't it, when you're becoming older, and vulnerable? A sister who stays faithful.
My last blog post was about the fact that I needed new spectacles. Today, I found that I can no longer express myself clearly and perhaps need speech therapy before I lose total control of my lips.
I was in a gift shop in Warwick. Downstairs, it's all pretty candles and soaps and teddies and linens and ceramics. Upstairs, there's a section for clothes.
I was standing by the bottom of the stairs and a woman peered up them and said to me, 'What's up there, then?'
I told her, 'Oh, it's clothes.'
There was a pause while she continued to gaze up the stairs, and then she said, disappointedly, 'Oh, that's a shame.' She turned to her husband and repeated it to him: 'What a shame that is, isn't it, dear?' And then they wandered off further down the shop, presumably to see if they could assuage their grief by buying a Christmas tea towel with a reindeer on it that would look silly at one minute past midnight on Boxing Day. Or maybe a candle smelling of Christmas pudding that would give all the guests a migraine and a propensity to argue.
I thought her disappointment an over-reaction, to be frank. Just because she didn't want to buy clothes, that didn't mean other people wouldn't appreciate them.
A couple of minutes later, the same couple came back towards me where I still stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking at some ceramics and wondering whether £23.95 was too much to pay for a butter dish just because it had the word BUTTER on it, as though a butter dish could be interpreted in any other way.
|'Darling, is this the butter dish, or the pink slippers we bought for Auntie Freda? I'm in two minds.'|
Anyway, I could sense the woman standing just behind me, and then I heard her say to a passing assistant, 'Excuse me. Is it okay if we look upstairs?'
What? I thought. One minute she's disappointed that it's only clothes, the next minute she's changed her mind. Fickle!
'Of course,' said the assistant.
'But that lady,' I could hear the customer say, although I was determined not to look round, 'said it was closed.'
'No, it's open,' said the assistant, sounding puzzled. 'There are some lovely dresses and tops up there. Do go up and see.'
Then there was a silence, and I could feel their gazes on the back of my head as I slunk down the shop towards the door. I could imagine the conversation....
Customer: 'So why did she tell us it was closed?'
Assistant: 'I don't know. She doesn't work here. I don't know why she said that.'
Customer: 'What an odd woman. Is she local?'
Assistant: 'I think so. Maybe she's from the home down the road. They let them out sometimes, just for the afternoon.'
Customer: 'Well, I hope we don't meet her in any other shops. She's a little freaky.'
Assistant: 'We'll keep an eye, and if she comes back in, I might call Security.'
|'You mean,' said Fred, alarmed, 'that plump woman with the short dark hair? Do I have to? |
Can't you send Tom instead?'
Of course, my sister found this whole story a reason