‘Leah was in the cafe.’
Janice is at the gate. She is talking to my Mum.
“Well, she would be. She goes in there all the time.”
Yes, I was, and so was Janice, with her friends.
Every time I enter the cafe, Janice goes quiet, looks at me.
That day, I was wearing my coat with the embroidery.
I had a long, black skirt with laced-up boots.
I thought it all went together, and in a way it did.
Janice spent her twenties doing all the things that I wanted to do.
When she goes to the cafe, it seems to me that all her friends have bought a new outfit for the occasion.
They all get their hair done professionally, and go to nail bars.
‘I want to be like Janice’, I tell my Mum.
“Well, you are never going to be like Janice.
Janice bounces through life, hasn’t a care in the World.”
She will call in for tea, and gossip with my Mum, now that she is married with a baby.
One day, she came into the kitchen, and paused.
I can’t remember what I was wearing, but it was bright. I wear gypsy clothes at home, all different colours.
Janice is funky.
“Sporty”, says my mum. “She wears all that sports stuff.”
‘She doesn’t like my clothes.’
“Well she wouldn’t. She would think that ensemble very odd.”
‘I wore the laced-up boots.’
“Did you wear that long, black thing like you are going to a funeral?”
‘Yes, with my embroidered coat.’
I imagine what it must be like to meet me, if you are Janice.
Quite the experience, I think.
Especially, if I spend the next hour buried in a book.
A pot of tea and Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I think it is a good afternoon.