Sunday, November 21, 2004

Day 20

Oh dear, I'm behind again, not massively but it's bugging me. I'm reasonably happy how the novel's going to end, but I don't know whether I've got enough plot to get there. Planning and a lot of writing to do tomorrow (Monday)

It didn’t really piss me off that Marlene had come back to our house with Maarten, or that he’d spent the night, or that he was helping himself to my Crunchie Nut Cornflakes on Sunday morning, or even that I had to introduce him to mum when she came into the kitchen because Marlene was in the shower, but I did get really offended when he slagged off Todd Rundgren.
“Ya, he ish the guy who did the guitar on Bat Out of Hell , thish is true?” he asked, reading the back of Something/Anything which had been lying on top of the kitchen stereo. At least I think he was asking, Dutch people have that annoying tendency to modulate upwards at the end of every sentence like Australians. But don’t get me started on Australians.
“Yeah, he did that, amongst other things,” I said.
“He hasn’t done much elshe though I think.” Take your face for a shit speech impediment boy. Honest to God, if he started whistling through his top teeth, I’d have to rearrange them. What the fuck did Marlene see in this helmet?
“No, only writing, playing all the instruments and singing on twenty odd other albums, pioneering rock videos and interactive CD’s and artist websites and producing some of the most influential bands of the last thirty years, but apart from that he’s sat on his arse, raking in the royalties from a Meat Loaf album, yeah.” I said, not even bothering to disguise the sarcasm.
“For sure, I’m not arguing with you my friend.” Kiss me hoop, friend?! “I am not too familiar with hish work that’sh all.” This time he did whistle, but I stifled a laugh and the punch. Mum was in the living room, reading the News of the World, I decided to join her, rather than waste my time arguing the toss in here. Anyway, Marlene was coming downstairs and I couldn’t handle her hanging off him while I was trying to enjoy my mug of tea.

Later that day, whilst mum was having a nap and Shuggsy was out at the Primrose playing for the darts team, Marlene came into the living room and draped herself on the settee. I was watching an old Fast Show on UK Gold. Thankfully Maarten had crawled back to wherever he oozed out from yesterday by now. Marlene managed to sit through Dave Angel, Suits You Tailors and Bob Fleming before she said anything.
“Are we still friends George?” Arse, here we go, the big talk. I killed the volume and turned to face her.
“Course we are, nothing’s changed for me.”
“It doesn’t seem like it that’s all, we’ve barely said two words to each other this week. Your mum’s noticed, she was asking me what had happened before.”
“Oh well, if mum’s noticed, then it’s official.”
“Don’t be so sarcastic, George, it doesn’t suit. We’ve been friends for too long, I can’t be doing with this.”
“Well, why do you think things have changed then? Could it be when you started sneaking your boyfriend around the house? Or maybe before that, you didn’t even tell me you were seeing him.” Marlene went into full on defensive mode now, arms crossed, eyes bright with indignation.
“I’m sneaking round?! What about you and this Astrid? I’m not stupid, and you didn’t tell me about her either!”
“I did, well I said that I’d met her at least.”
“Oh well then, silly me for not spotting the difference between meeting and going out on a date with her. When did you decide to stop telling me everything?”
“Come on, Marlene, it’s hardly not telling you everything just because I started seeing Astrid. I didn’t think you’d be bothered that’s all.” I was getting defensive myself now.
“What makes you think I’m bothered? It’s none of my business is it, just like me and Maarten’s none of yours.”
“I just don’t want to see you getting hurt that’s all. I don’t know how you can like someone who doesn’t like your favourite rock artist anyway.”
“Well does Astrid like everything you like? I don’t sit around just listening to music with him.” She was getting worked up now, if she was going to start telling me about their sex life, I was going to walk out.
“Look, you’re right, it is none of my business, and I don’t care if he comes back here with you, just be careful that’s all,” I said.
“And why would I need to take advice from you? You were on the verge of a breakdown the other night, and I had to hold you whilst you screamed or don’t you remember?” I didn’t really remember, but it seemed like splitting hairs to bring it up now. “And I bet you haven’t got help yet have you, or is that something else you’re keeping from me?”
“No I haven’t,” I said, feeling cruddy now.
“No, you haven’t, and you probably won’t either. You never do ask for help because you know best don’t you!” She was crying now but I didn’t stop her. “Just stay out of my life will you and I’ll not bother asking about yours!” And with that, she ran off upstairs, just as mum wheeled herself back into her room. I don’t know how long she’d been sitting listening to us.


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