Today I have the great pleasure of introducing the Cover for Mexican Kimono By Billie Jones
I never dreamed I’d spend $10,300 on a whim. It was a lot, even for me: shopper extraordinaire. On reflection, if I had ignored Mum’s pleas, I would still be $10,000 better off. Or MasterCard would be.
Let me take you back to how it all began.
Usually I caught the train home after work, but late in the day, while doing a stapler stocktake for my penny-pinching boss, I received an urgent phone call from my mother. I sighed when I saw her name on the screen. She had become ‘alternative’ in the last few years and it had begun to wear me down. Tarot cards, numerology, runes, crystals, incense, cheesecloth, the whole cliché. I silenced it and let Mum visit voicemail again. I was sure those two were developing an intense relationship. Mum rang and poured her heart out at least thrice daily and voicemail just listened. I reapplied my lipstick in the reflection of my shiny silver hole-punch, as I listened back to the message.
‘Darling, it’s Mum. I need to see you urgently! The tea leaves have scattered a caution for you and they’re always right. Heed my warning. I won’t rest until I see you. You must come over after work, Samantha. I insist. I’ll make you some of that vegetarian bolognese you love and I have a bottle of that alcohol-free red wine that will go perfectly, so don’t bring anything. Oh heed my warning, darling, heed…’
I shook my head as I listened to the recording. Voicemail had cut her off. Maybe they weren’t as friendly as I thought. My mother’s message sounded like a desperate cry for help.
Vegetarian bolognese and alcohol-free wine? Heed my warning? Who says that? That woman needed an injection of reality. She was my mother though, so I neatened up my desk, ready to leave the office at five on the dot.
I worked as an assistant to an advertising executive. He was a volatile beast of a man who smelt of garlic. I answered the phone, made coffee and remembered his appointments. On my worst days, I went shopping for him. He didn’t like shopping for clothes so he sent me instead. You’d think spending hours traversing aisles of clothes and getting paid for it would be fun.
No. I’ll never forget the time he made me buy him swimming briefs. Let me just say, brief is not the right word. You’re lucky you don’t have a job like mine.