Fights with my mother, part...
So the panoply of lilac has flounced out on a whoosh of eau de outrage.
We had dispensed with the small talk pretty quickly- weather -windy, house- not ready, Newstalk- patchy and so on, when the Lilac One fixed a beady eye on me and said-
'How do you find Etheline these days?'
'By phone normally.' I say before I can stop myself.
She gives me a look that suggests I couldn't fall out of a boat and hit water.
Thus the battle commences.
'Did she say any more to you about the wedding?'
'I tried to talk to her yesterday about it and she was being very vague.'
'I told her she'd want to be thinking about booking a church if she's planning it this year.And a hotel, some of these places are booked up years in advance you know.'
But I have made a tactical error. I only use monosyllabic answers when I know something and the Lilac One knows this.
She cocks her head and pretends to read the spines of the books on the shelves next to her head. 'I know Kevin's keen, he told me so at Christmas. He's a good man, Kevin.'
'Oh now, I know you don't like.'
'Fortunately I'm not marrying him.'
'You don't like anyone.'
'I like plenty of people.'
She stops pretending to read and glares at me. 'I hope you didn't say anything to your sister to make her change her mind about getting married.'
'Because time and tide waits for no man.'
I wrinkle my forehead at her. 'Time and tide waits for no man?'
'Oh,' she says throwing her hands up. 'it would be just like you to say something. No doubt sneering at him the way you do me, behind my back.'
Your very broad back provides excellent cover, I think to myself.
'I don't sneer at him, I don't anything him.'
'He's a good man!'
'So you keep saying!'
I take a deep breath. 'Look, I don't run Etheline, Etheline runs Etheline and if she doesn't want to get married-
'OOH, are you saying she doesn't?'
'No, I'm saying whatever Etheline wants to do if up to Etheline. And no amount of bullying her to provide a fucking fairy tale 'day out' (and to my horror and deep resentment I actually used my hands to make imaginary air quotes) will make her think differently.'
My mother does her excellent impersonation of a pufferfish face. I watch the levels of temper develop in her skin tone. Pink, deeper pink, salmon, cerise, red, maroon-
'I knew it!' She squawks, 'I knew something was up.'
'For God's sake nothing is up!' I cry, for Etheline will surely kill me for setting this dog loose.
But my mother won't be stopped. She gathers herself and her bag and hoists herself to her feet.
'Where are you going?' I say to her.
'Home. And you listen to me Missy!' She waggles a finger at me and I resist the urge to snap it off and ram it up her nose. 'I don't know what you and that other one think you're up to (I don't actually know who she is referring to here, it could be my brother, my older sister, the paramour, Etheline, the woman in the corner shop)but Etheline has been very happy with Kevin before someone started putting notions in her head.'
'What the hell are you talking about?' I stand too, I"m taller than her and it makes me feel better. 'What notions?'
'Harumph!' She says 'There is always something with you.'
And this is where we came in, and she went out.
So there you have it. There is always something with me.