HOWARD’S been on about school this week. Maybe it’s the onset of Autumn. There’s a tell tale dry rustle in the stirring leaves, which are just beginning to fall. The breeze is cooler. Perhaps it’s because the traffic is worse now the children are back in school. Whatever it is, HOWARD’S been thinking about my education.
“If you’d paid more attention in school you might have made more of yourself, Eva. You might be doing something like me.”
HOWARD had been a high achieving maths brain-box in school; bright enough to be fast tracked through education. He’d developed a love of economics, but when a career’s advisor said that the law paid well, he’d switched. He was right about my academic record being a little different.
“I can just imagine your school reports,” he continued. “Eva is a sensitive child who keeps herself to herself. If only they knew how desperate for company you’d be as an adult. If they only knew you’d end up with fucking Attention Deficit Disorder because of a lack of human contact. If only they knew you’d end up rocking back and forth like a Romanian orphan.”
I resolved to handle it maturely; rise above it. I told him I wasn’t taking any notice.
“Toughening to the humiliation, eh? Doesn’t matter,” he said. “I still remember what you look like when you cry. It’s like watching Rolf Harris.”
He did an impression of me crying as if I were Rolf Harris, you know, doing that kind of hyperventilating breathing Rolf does when he paints. The clique of fee-earner ‘ladies that lunch,’ fell about laughing and asked what he was doing.
HOWARD continued his impression, shaking his shoulders for added effect and crying into his hands.
I laughed it off; acted as if I didn’t care. I told him he was unlikely to see me cry again.
I turned away from the fresh-out-of-law-school solicitors giggling at HOWARD’S put downs and got back to work. HOWARD continued his Rolf Harris. He reminded me of a schoolboy, clowning in the middle of the office in his white ASDA shirt, black trousers and lace-up shoes.
“Next time I make you cry,” he promised, “I’m going to film it and put it on YouTube.”
No, I didn’t do so well academically. I hated school. I couldn’t wait to leave. And not a day goes by without HOWARD reminding me why.
See you next week,