Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend (Penguin 2012)



Eva was surprised but pleased that Alexander was here. She said, ‘Cutest?’ That’s not a word you use.’


‘But they are cute, Mum. And they’re so clever! They know reams of poetry and all the capital cities of the world. Alex is so proud of them. And I love his name —Alexander. He really is Alexander the Great, isn’t he, Mum?’

Eva agreed. ‘Yes — but Alexander is forty-nine years of age, Brianne.’

‘Forty-nine? That’s the new thirty!’

‘You once ranted that nobody over twenty-five should be allowed to wear jeans, or dance in public.’

‘But Alex looks so good in jeans, and he did A level maths, Mum! He understands nonhomogeneous equations!’

‘I can tell you’re fond of him,’ said Eva.

‘Fond?’ said Brianne. ‘I’m fond of Grandma Ruby, I’m fond of whiskers on kittens and bright copper kettles, but I’m passionately in fucking love with Alex Tate!’

Eva said, ‘Please! Don’t swear.’

‘You’re such a fucking hypocrite!’ yelled Brianne. ‘You swear! And you’re trying to spoil my relationship with Alex!’

‘There’s nothing to spoil. You’re not Juliet. This is not a Montague and Capulet situation. Does Alex even know you love him?’

Brianne said, defiantly, ‘Yes, he does.’

‘And?’

Brianne lowered her eyes. ‘He doesn’t love me, of course. He hasn’t had time to get to know me. But when I saw him struggling with that bookcase in Leeds, I knew immediately that he was the person I’ve been waiting for since I was a kid. I always wondered who it would be. Then he knocked on my door.’

Eva tried to hold Brianne’s hand, but she pulled it away and put it behind her back.

Eva asked, ‘And he was kind to you?’

‘I rang him three times on his mobile when he was on the motorway. He told me to go out more and meet people of my own age.’

Eva said, gently, ‘He is right, Brianne. His hair is grey. He has more in common with me than with you. We’ve both got Morrissey’s second solo album.’

Brianne said, ‘I know that. I know everything there is to know about him. I know his wife died in a car crash and that he was driving. I know that Tate was his family’s slave name. I know how much he earned in the noughties. And I know how much tax he paid. And which school his children go to, and what their grades are. I know his previous romantic history. I know he’s overdrawn by £77.15 and that he doesn’t have an agreed overdraft facility.’

‘And he told you all this?’

‘No, I’ve hardly spoken to him. I doxed him.’

What’s “doxed”?’

‘It’s like talking to Neanderthal woman! I’ve read every document about him. If there’s info I want, I can find it on the net. I’ve mapped the story of his life, and one day I’ll be part of it.’

1 comment:

Darren said...

page 223

There's not enough Kill Uncle jokes in literature so I thought it deserved immortalising.