Friday, 10 May 2013

Dogs Delight 6 Plain Jane Eyre

I jump up and snatch something from my wardrobe: something unsuitable, because after joshing the boys, allowing them to jump up at him like large puppies, Richard tells me to change.
getting ready for a night out, dressing table, getting ready for a party‘Can’t you please make an effort, just for once?  Haven’t you got anything decent…something like Olivia wears?’  Olivia is the partner of a property developer who is often on his guest list.  I couldn’t wear her moulded satin and velvet. 

   ‘But Olivia is a different shape.’

   You don’t have a shape, says a voice inside my head.  You dress like a shapeless waif.

blond vampire, vampire lover, gothic romance
Richard strides out with his whisky glass to choose a fat sleek tie in an expensive shade.  He is tying it in the reticent luxury of his dressing room and the boys are pulling at the silky ends, but they don’t make him angry or impatient.  They are chortling and shrieking with delight because he is home and he is stamping and roaring and chasing them from room to room while I stare into the dressing table mirror and dab my lips and cheeks into life. 

I can see his reflection in the glass, the fair vampire who is consuming me, standing there in shadow with the light from the landing just catching his hair.  He doesn’t say anything about coming home this afternoon, about the argument with Martin Bent.  

Already from the hall I can hear Olivia’s high confident voice:  ‘Richard!  Lovely to see you!’  Then something in a lower register that I cannot make out.  Perhaps they are arranging to meet in a few days’ time, at the little bistro he likes in town.  They will sit at Richard’s favourite table and talk about tonight’s party, about my ineptitude as a hostess; and they will laugh.  The whole evening will be noisy and empty, ‘Full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.’  What shall I do all night?

   I shall stand by the door and welcome the guests and they will speak to me for a minute or two, out of politeness, then move on to speak animatedly to each other.  Of course Olivia will be very pleasant, but we will have nothing to say to each other. Their banter will not include me, the conversation won’t interest me and occasionally Richard will glance across, exasperated, because I am standing gauche and alone by the sofa. 

People will laugh too loudly and drink too much and admire the ugly painting his mother bought for my birthday.  At dinner I will sit between Mr Wedge and Mr Rawlings, fetch them the whisky bottle, hold out the plate of unseasonal asparagus, shiny with lemon and butter.  Mr Wedge will look at me questioningly.  He can manage it if there is plenty meat to help it down.

And I will reassure him.

Dogs Delight is now available on Kindle at