When I met her, it was Monday. We went out for a few drinks on the Tuesday. Hang on, no, that’s the wrong song. Just as well – she was getting on my fucking nerves by Wednesday. I went round to her house and she stood in the middle of the living room striking these weird poses to a Christina Aguilera track.
‘This is my song. Because I’m a fighter.’
The thing is, she really wasn’t. If I’ve realised anything in my thirty something years here, it’s that if someone has to tell you something over and over, the person they’re really trying to convince is themself. I broke it off on Thursday. She took it quite well.
‘You just have a problem with women.’
If that got me off the hook, then that was fine by me. There are seven billion opinions out there, every one of them self-serving. Worrying about what you can’t influence is a huge waste of whatever resources you have. Besides, who was I to say she was wrong? She was just as entitled to the truth as I am.
‘This is my song.’
Another time, another era, but the same old bullshit that never seems to go away. My mother is playing Stand by your Man by Tammy Wynette. My stepfather is having another affair, and as usual she’s the last one to find out about it. Not that she’ll ever confront him. Me and my half-sister will have to drag his guilt around for him, as always. We’ll be the ones watching her walk about the garden in her nightdress, crying uncontrollably, at four in the morning. We’ll be the ones sat there, eight and six, when she walks into the room with a handful of pills and a bunch of threats that we’re too young to know are directed at us and not at herself. For fifteen years she was going to kill herself, and it took me almost that long to realise she never was.
‘I’ll do it. I swear I’ll do it.’
What she actually wanted was for someone else to sort things out for her. Quite how she thought a couple of kids could do that is beyond me, but there it is. We were a constant disappointment to her, and that wasn’t on – she had enough shit to deal with, how dare we make things worse.
‘I’ve had a terrible time.’
Haven’t we all?
‘There is such a thing as sympathy you know?’
Of course there is, it’s just a bit hard to keep up when the record keeps changing. Tammy Wynette gave way to Gloria Gaynor and thank God for that. It lasted two months. Then he was back, and despite all the bile she’d drowned us in, we had to like him again because now she did. Full circle didn’t just describe her world view, the one that started and ended with herself: it also described our lives as he moved back in and began almost immediately coming home at six in the morning with, in her words, perfume on his shirt and lipstick around his cock.
He liked Sinatra – no surprises there. Like every idiot I ever met, he thought the lyrics of My Way gave him an excuse to do whatever he wanted and justify it.
As for me, well, I have a song too. It’s called Go Fuck Yourself and I wrote it myself. There isn’t much of a melody and it doesn’t go verse, verse, chorus. But it is quite catchy, if you like that sort of thing. Every now and again I brush up on the chords and roll it out for an encore performance. It never would have made it onto Top of the Pops but I like to think John Peel might have given it the nod. The one thing it really has going for it is just how inconvenient it is for everyone involved.