‘I haven’t seen you for ages,’ she said. ‘Have you been ill?’
Been ill? Why should I have been ill, silly old bat? Not wishing to cause offence, however, I restricted my reply to:
‘I’ve been ill all my life. Up here, you know. Diseased mind.’
I was hoping she would ask ‘You’re not one of them psychopaths, are you?’ to which I could have replied: ‘No; I’m quite the opposite. That’s the problem.’ But she didn’t. We talked about shopping instead, mostly along the lines of the relative merits of Tesco and Sainsbury’s. And then she launched into what I assumed to be her favourite anecdote of the moment.
‘I was in Tesco the other day and I thought “I think I’ll get me ’usband a jelly.” (He likes jelly.) “But I won’t get him the usual orange or lemon one,” (that’s what he usually has) “I’ll get him a blackcurrant one instead.” And you know what? They didn’t have any.’
I commiserated, naturally, but I have to admit that when I did wrest myself from her presence it was with a lighter heart. And that’s why I was out on my walk for a long time today.
(My erstwhile conversations with the Lady B’s human alter-ego were never like that. And the old lady didn’t even have a dog. And why am I so obsessed with Trump and the Lady B these days? Something to do with needing deep darkness and bright light to balance my faltering step, perhaps.)