“I’d like the new Peter Ackroyd Hitchcock biography. Or the new Kate Atkinson. For my birthday,” I say to my brother. He’s shaving his head over the sink, with an electric device. There’s a loud buzzing. He probably can’t hear me.
“What’s that?” He shouts, turning off the electric shaver, lifting his head up.
“You’ve got furry ears,” I say. The shaved-off hair has puddled behind his ears. “I was saying, if you want to get me something for my birthday: Peter Ackroyd’s new Hitchcock biography, or the new Kate Atkinson novel. The sequel to Life After Life, about Teddy, he’s Ursula’s brother – the fighter pilot who…”
“Have you read this?” He says, waving a copy of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table at me. It’s an expensive-looking hardback.
“Yeah, years ago,” I say, turning over the vegetables for my omelette: asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli. “I’m still struggling with reading and…”
“Mood too high?” He says, turning his cuff, inserting a cufflink.
“No, it’s more that I don’t like to read before writing the blog, in case someone else’s style infects mine. And then I write the blog and I’m exhausted and I just want to watch a nice murder.” Pouring the eggs over the vegetables, I cut up some feta. “So I thought, if I had a book I was desperate to read, such as either of those two, then…”
“What’s it called, the novel?” He says, putting his navy jacket on over his blue and yellow striped shirt. He looks very smart.
“A God In Ruins,” I say.
“I’ll get it for you,” he says, slinging his bag over his shoulder. “I’m off to the library now, see you later.”
“Thank you. Have a nice day,” I say, putting my omelette under the grill.
“Hello lovely,” the message comes through from my Seb late last night, at 9.22pm. “Still stuck on my Power Point but making some progress. We won’t be watching A Royal Night Out, but it does look interesting – and it’s not Mad Max. How are you? xxx”
“Am OK. Just going to sleep. Ohhhh exciting. Wonder what it is?” I say.
“It’s at 2.45pm,” he says, and names the cinema.
Checking the cinema’s website, I reply “Clouds Of Sils Maria? Sounds good!”
“Naughty! x Don’t look! Nighty night. xxx” he says.
Don’t know why it needs to be a surprise. Hopefully the film will be watchable, but if not we are going to a cinema where one sits on a sofa and there is wine and houmous, so am sure it will be fun. And will be able to cuddle Seb as much as I want. Also the loo is Inside the cinema, so don’t have to wander off for ages if need a wee in the film.
Maybe Hannah or Suzie will accompany me to A Royal Night Out or Far From The Madding Crowd another time.
Am starting to feel a bit excited about Birthday now, even though hate my birthday and getting older and all the fuss. Don’t mind celebrating when have actually Achieved Something, eg won the Booker Prize or landed a brilliant job or performed my writing, but don’t think that becoming ever more elderly calls for celebration. Also have always hated Happy Birthday, ever since was a toddler. Remember how miserable felt on my 20th birthday: leaving my teenage years.
And feel Ancient at the moment: whole physical self is falling apart, due to sudden loss of oestrogen probably.
Think read somewhere that Adulthood now begins at 36 anyway: will leave the 18 – 35 age group on questionnaires. Let’s hope it will all be ameliorated by some Presents.
Will just pull my New Dress over all my scars and lumpy bits and take a fan in case start having hot flushes everywhere. Must pull self together.
The attached photo is the door into the bar we went to on Saturday night: you push it and behind it there are the stairs and a whole secret room, just like in an Agatha Christie. So that is nice.
Happy Tuesday everyone!
*2012. By Stuart MacBride. Detective novel.