does that hurt?
It’s not what I was expecting. When you open the door to a stranger they normally introduce themselves or ask if some named person is in the house. We held each other’s gaze while I tried to work out what he was referring to, before moving us on
can I help you?
is Nicky in? I meant your nose
Was my nose bleeding? I ran my forefinger under my nostrils then inspected my hand. No blood or snot.
NICKY! SOMEONE at the door FOR YOU
He wore blue jeans, a Pringle jumper and a padded anorak that could have been picked up in a Marks and Spencer’s sale. Short back and sides, clean shaven, the boy lacked visual charisma. He looked comfortably middle class, visually unoffensive. Then it dawned on me that my nose-piercing probably made me unique amongst the people he talked to. Nicky was conservative with both a big and little c. She had already given me the benefit of her expertise on the painfully clashing colours of my dress, my unsuitable hair and recommended that I drop my friends because they risked being unsuccessful in life. They could drag me down.
Life. If she didn’t have one, she couldn’t fail. She was on-track for a Pharmacy degree, a husband, car, kids and holidays abroad. It didn’t map to my idea of life then. It doesn’t now.
Only when the temperature drops below -5 degrees