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To wives and girlfriends, and may they never meet

  Mon 25th May 2015

Kim's been here for a few days during a local soul festival and the unattractive prospect loomed of her meeting Trina, but as I watched nervously, they managed a civil-looking chat on the dancefloor. Trina sent me a text later that night saying that "she's far nicer than you." Back here, Kim said the music was too "smooth and loungy". Kim prefers it harder, and is the same with her musical choices too, and I couldn't convince her to go back.

There was a weird atmosphere towards the end of Saturday night. It had started well but in the last hour or so something changed and I couldn't shake off a feeling I was being stared at, when I just wanted to dance -- although seeing as we'd started Kim's visit by staying up on Thursday night till 8am, and there were various refreshments involved, it's possible I had lost my usual acuity.

That much might have been in my imagination, but there was nothing imaginary about seeing a girl slap another hard round the face and seeing the shocked and fearful expression on a friend's face as she and her husband got up to leave as a result; nor about the boorish men, outsiders, who strutted onto the dancefloor and stood aggressively looking around, or leering over the women. I stayed, but was trying hard to enjoy myself after that point, contemptuous of the drunken, coarse gatecrashers into our culture.

On her last night, we were in bed when I heard her little murmurings of wanking and saw the quilt ticking up and down. I love it when she starts wanking, and so we had the second instance of our occasional non-contact sex life, in which we masturbate in the bed together.

I saw her off at the station. As her train passed through the Lake District, she sent me a text remarking how beautiful it looked in the rain. "Yes," I replied. "It's very pretty and very wet. I'm not surprised you can identify with the place." Back home, she thanked me for having her. "Oh, I'm sorry about that. I thought you were asleep and didn't notice."


It was the final of Eurovision on Saturday and a merry band of teenage girls -- my daughters and their friends -- gathered to watch it. I thought Trina was going to be in Wigan with a friend but she cancelled that afternoon and so she invited herself along. I didn't want her there really. But ever generous -- or buying her way into my social life, depending on how you look at it -- we went to Booths for booze (that won't catch on -- not the image they want) -- where she paid far more than half of the cost.

I made little flags, printed the scorecards, and arranged a sweepstake. My eldest helped me make Marillenknödel -- Austrian apricot dumplings -- which needed quite a bit of encouragement when set amidst the more enticing crisps, hummus, breadsticks and soft cheese. I gave the guests a glass of Prosecco and the wilder girls knocked back a whole tin of Kronenberg.

Teaching Practice Colleague had warned me she'd be late after a party for a friend who is emigrating, and turned up with two songs to go, which given the generally dreary pallor of last night's offerings, was inadvertently a good idea.

All was going well. The contest ended and the girls were chatting away with that simultaneous multiple-threaded conversation that women can manage and enjoy. Teaching Practice Colleague was in a bit of a giddy mood and started pawing me and smothering me with herself and chatting away in a mock-flirty way, making what I found were funny, giggly and clever remarks. She came and sat on my lap and I felt some un-jokey physical attraction towards her.

We were laughing, but I felt all naughty in front of Trina. My youngest tried to take a large cushion out of the living room and knocked over and broke two glasses. Teaching Practice Colleague kept going to dart upstairs but the loo was occupied. "I could go outside I suppose," she said. I felt like kissing her. I told her that there's some kitchen roll on the side.

Broken glass cleared away and Teaching Practice Colleague's yard-piss over, she came back and sat with me in the armchair, her legs across mine; it all started again. "Oh dear," I said, your dress appears to be riding up over your thighs. I'll have to just make sure this hem stays down at a decent length." You must bear in mind that at this point there is an oakum-ravelled girlish banter going on -- it's not that my children and their friends were earwigging in embarrassed silence.

All of a sudden, Trina was in the front room, and leaving. I wrested myself clear of Teaching Practice Colleague. "No, no -- you don't have to see me off, you idiot."

"That wasn't awkward at all, was it?" said Teaching Practice Colleague. "It's OK, it doesn't matter, really. She's convinced I'm her boyfriend so that's why she reacts like that."

We drew the sweepstake and my youngest, having drawn Sweden, won eight pounds; she then did a most gallant thing of walking one of her friends home. A couple got taxis and the others walked by themselves and sent us texts when they were in.

2 comments

Trina is her own worse enemy. It’s as if she enjoys punching herself in the face. I’d have been done with you ages ago. Pfft. Like that.

Tue 26th May 2015 @ 12:17
Comment from: [Member]

Yep… and I wouldn’t blame you!

Tue 26th May 2015 @ 18:38


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There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

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The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
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Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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