March 21, 2019


Today was Wednesday. Pam had been standing in front of her mirror for the last fifteen minutes, as she did every morning. She would stand in her matching underwear (all her underwear matched; all the same dingy off-white) and try to defend herself. This peculiar habit had gradually forced its way into her routine over a number of years, as most of her routines had appeared, bustling in all elbows, demanding priority and accepting no excuses. She would try to walk past the mirror but would be stopped and held violently, tauntingly. She didn’t resist anymore. What’s happened to you Pam? The mirror would jeer in its favourite tone of unquestionable superiority. I can’t see you anymore, are you still in there at all? All I can see is a saggy, sullen, bored, desperate, domesticated old woman. I’m sorry Pam, but that’s just the way it is. Look at the state of this room; it looks like a double spread from Country Living. Is that a new cross-stitch set over there? You said you were going to pack that in and get a new hobby. Join a dance class you said. Samba, something fun, sexy, exciting. Maybe meet a nice man. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to smirk – yes, yes, of course it’s still possible. I quite agree plenty of women your age meet nice men. Although it’s a good thing I knew not to hold my breath. You are predictable, really Pam! All plans. Plans, plans, plans and no action. Oh look, we’re back to ‘action’ – how long has it been? Too personal? Alright.
But we can confess that you could use the exercise, don’t you think? Just look at that spare tyre! And our good friend cellulite is back too – although she never really left, did she? No amount of impolite exercise could shift her. I know, very stubborn. You used to have such a lovely figure (see, I do give you compliments!) men used to stop their cars to stare. It used to get on your nerves; you always assumed they’d mistaken you for a hooker. Strange, that you miss it now. I bet you can’t even remember. And I notice you’ve still got that coffee machine on the bedside table. Yes, a bargain from QVC you’ve told me that before. I still don’t care if it was £24.99 reduced from £70, Sandra was right, television shopping is sad. At least it’s not a Teasmaid. Your mother had one of those, didn’t she? That’s where you’d draw the line – mm, you’ve said so before. Or is it just that you’ve no need for an alarm clock? Lateness isn’t an issue when no one relies on you – that’s a luxury, you should enjoy it.
It used to be empty wine bottles, a battered copy of The Second Sex, Vogue cigarettes and Rouge. And that picture Giuliano took of you, half way up Montmartre, laughing because it was so windy and your hair kept blowing into your ice cream. Yes, pistachio ice-cream, wasn’t it? You’ve said so before. Yes, I know, it was his favourite too. Of course I remember him, you’re the one doing all the forgetting these days. Oh, and the other thing I wanted to ask! Why do you insist on spending so long making your bed every morning? As I said, it’s not like anyone ever see’s it – I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll get off the subject! Really though, I swear I saw you steaming it with the iron once. Oh, there was a persistent crease was there? Then I take it back, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. No, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s not like you’re getting old or anything. 57 is the new 21, haven’t you heard? Your sister was 65 when she died; you’ve definitely got the time to steam your bed and do cross stitch. And stand in your underwear staring at yourself. Just get dressed and go shopping, it’s Wednesday.

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