The last time was the last time. I tried to convince her it was something else but she was having none of it. She swung it between her fingers like a pendulum in front of my nose as I feigned innocence. It reached its pinnacle in time with the piano chords that thudded from downstairs, a foursquare chorale of deliberation. She’s seeing me in a new light, her head cocked to one side. Her expression is a kind of curiosity mingled with grim determination. It’s the look cats have when they catch a small animal that differs from the usual bird or mouse and they’re wondering what it actually is, knowing they’re going to kill it regardless. She’s on to me, but she has no proof. She glances downwards and averts her eyes. “You’re getting fat,” she says. I look down at my body. “It’s all the kebabs I keep eating when I finish my shift,” I answer.
She’s attempting to divert attention from what’s really on her mind. That’s the thing with her; she’ll do anything to block out the dark pits of reality, to pretend it’s not happening, that nothing’s happening. Like most things, there are pros and cons. On the up side she doesn’t confront you when she’s managed to unearth your dire misdeeds, but on the down side you’re always the one that never has the whole picture, that’s left second guessing the situation. It’s a classic disarming tactic. You can’t plot or scheme your way out, or attempt to justify yourself, because you just don’t know exactly what she knows or doesn’t know. She always has the upper hand, the control. And when you know she’s rumbled your secret, another tactic is to keep schtum about it, wait until you’ve forgotten to worry about it, and then casually mention it months down the line. Often I am creeping round in my satin slippers, only to find out later that she had scattered the gunpowder amongst the cat litter months ago. KABOOM!
Having said that she doesn’t question a lot. Her inconsistencies and topsy-turvy values are actually the best cover up a girl could want. She fusses nonsensically about things no one else would bat an eyelash, and then the other stuff….not a peep. I think she prefers to remain in a state of naivety, telling herself it’s not happening. I wish I could do that. The woman has an amazing store of willpower.
She doesn’t question the array of wigs I own, and my propensity to wear several different ones in a week. You name it I have it. Red bob, long straight bleach blond, long curly chocolate brunette, mid length flicked out hot pink and purple tie-dye, black pixie cut. I am the mistress of the disguise, the fake persona; I can change within the hour, nay within ten minutes. Off comes one wig and out of my bag comes the other. Black stilettos go with all and are indistinctive enough not to betray me. Clothes can be easily changed, discarded or augmented. And my name? Don’t think I allow myself to be hampered by such an abstract epithet. Be shackled by something into which I had no say? Not me! And so that question ‘Who the hell are you?’ I shall leave you to decide for yourself. I have been asked so many times by so many people and never been able to give a sufficient answer.