Latest writing from an Electric Tomatoes meeting - our prompt: Hollow Victory...
She could argue about anything. Made a point of it actually.
'Which do you prefer,' she said, 'the blue satin or the mauve?'
'Oh, come on! You're really not helping.'
'Well, they're both nice...'
'Yes, but you've got to have a favourite. Which is your favourite? Come on!'
'Well, the blue's a nice colour.'
'The blue? Really?'
'Yes, I like the blue.'
'You like the blue? Best? Really?'
'Yes. Of the two – the blue.'
'So why don't you like the mauve?'
'You said you like the blue.'
'I do. I like it best.'
'Why? What's wrong with the mauve?'
'Nothing's wrong with it.'
'Well why don't you like it then?'
'I do! I do like it!'
'Well why didn't you say so then.'
'I did! I did say! I said I like them both, but of the two – the blue. The blue's best! Jeez! Which do you like anyway?'
'Me? Oh don't bother about me! It doesn't matter what I like – no, because you can't stand the mauve so... well, there's no choice then is there. If you don't like the mauve, it's got to be the blue then hasn't it. Don't bother about me. Oh no, don't bother about my feelings!'
'They're your frigging shoes, love! You want the mauve, get the mauve. I don't mind.'
'Yes that's it, isn't it! You just don't care. You never listen to me. When I talk you just glaze over – I've seen you.'
'I do not!'
'Yes you do. I've seen you, you just glaze over and whatever I say just goes in one ear and out the other. You just don't care.'
'I DO care. Of course I care, you stupid c.... Of course I frigging care, but I don't mind which frigging shoes you choose. Either'll do. You've just got to choose the ones you'll feel comfortable in.'
'Comfortable? Comfortable – tell me you are NOT serious!'
'Well, you've got to be happy in them. You've got to feel right.'
'How can I feel right in them when I know you hate them?'
'Oh for fuck's sake woman, I do not hate them! Jesus wept, woman. Fuck it, I'm going to make some tea. Do you want some?'
'Of course I want some. Why wouldn't I want some? Of course I want some. Is that too much to ask? Is a cup of tea too much to ask when I can't have the shoes I want?'
So she bought the blue ones but all through the day she was checking them, mumbling about them.
Jeanine looked fabulous of course. Beautiful dress – cream silk with little red roses sewn on. A bit of a train. I could barely control myself as I walked her down the aisle. She always knows how to dress so why Em couldn't ask her advice about frigging shoes I don't know!
'I want them to be a surprise for her,' she says. 'Besides, I can't ask her. She's got too much on'
But all through the reception she'd be checking with people.
Moira, my sister, came over when they'd cleared the tables away and first thing she said was 'Oh Em, them shoes are to die for! Where did you get them?'
'Online,' says Em, ' allaboutheels.com. I'm not sure though. They had some gorgeous mauve ones, but they were threepence more expensive and Lord Snooty said no. So I feel I've settled a bit. But I'm glad you like them, Moi. I'll probably send them back though after. Can't see me wearing them again.'
'You can't do that!' I said.
'I don't see why not,' says Em. 'People bring stuff back to us all the time and it's quite obviously been out on the town for the night. One woman brought a coat back. All the labels on it and everything – so we took it back, no worries. Then when Glenda was putting it back on the rack she found a half-chewed chicken leg wrapped in a KFC napkin in the pocket! I mean!'
'That's outrageous,' says Moira.
'Oh well then, do what you like, then,' says I. 'On your head though...'
'It'll be on yours as a matter of fact, smartass – it was your credit card details.'
'Oh well thanks very much,' says I. 'Thanks very much indeed!'
So she's off dancing with Moira and I'm stuck at the bar with Brian-in-law, and once we've done West Ham and Stoke and why neither of them are getting beyond the Fourth Round, we just stand there like lemons looking at the girls as they loop under each other's arms.
She's had a lot to drink, Em.
'Come on, Brian,' shouts Em, 'come and dance with me! He'll never dance with me. Old Lord Snooty. You come. Throw some shades with me, Briannn, come on!'
'Shapes,' I say to Brian, 'she means throw some shapes.'
'Bloody 'ell,' says Brian, 'do I have ter?'
''Sup to you, mate. 'Sup to you.'
So Brian pulls on a smile and bends his knees and shimmies like frigging Baloo over to the dance floor. And Em's there writhing her hips at him like she's seventeen again – well, like she remembers being seventeen anyway. She puts her hand up to his neck as he comes over, plays with the hair at the back of his neck.
I remember that.
So Brian dances with the pair of them for a few minutes till Moira sees her chance and dances her way over to me by the bar.
'Get us a Campari, bro,' she says, 'I'm going out for a ciggy.'
Off she goes and I follow her out with the drinks.
'Why did you make her buy them God awful shoes?' she says outside, 'They're completely the wrong shade.'
'Oh, don't you start! She could have whichever frigging shoes she wanted but no, no. She makes me say which colour I like best – I say blue – and that's it! She goes off on one!
'You're a cruel man, Kevin Bradley!' Moira laughs. 'A cruel man.'
'She just needs someone to blame!'
Then she tells me about Joey. Their eldest. Twelve. Leukaemia just diagnosed. God, sad!'
When we go back in it's 10CC - I'm not in love and, fuck me, there's Em with her tongue down Brian's throat. He's participating but it looks more as if he has to rather than that he's enjoying it!
Moira grabs Brian by the elbow and yanks him away.
Em turns to me – fire in her eyes.
'What!? He's more of a man than you'll ever be!'
She's barefoot now and staggers off the dance-floor and grabs her bag.
'I'm going for a piss,' she says. 'And don't fucking follow me!'
I pick up her shoes and go over to the bar and wait.
That was last Saturday.
Now her mobile goes straight to answerphone and she doesn't return my texts.
We'll see, won't we.
Just have to wait.