Sunday, 1 July 2012

19. She looks at you as though you are mad

Rammstein is sitting on the red tasselled cushion at the end of the sofa, thoroughly licking his bum. He has one ginger leg stuck straight out. He is clearly enjoying this activity, to a level I feel is quite unnecessary.

The Ladykillers is on TV, although I'm not really watching it. I am listening to Gin, who is crying down the phone. Jason has dumped her, for reasons he did not make altogether clear.

Personally I feel they probably involve both his general crapness and his inability to exist in a mixed-race relationship. Gin was born here, but her family are originally from Jamaica. Jason had a number of problems with this, which he regularly articulated by teasing her about the texture of her hair or by calling her his personal slave.

(He once, when drunk, told me that he didn't want to have children with Gin because he didn't think it was right to make mixed-race babies. "It's not fair on them," he told me seriously, his eyes fixed on mine. "They don't know where they belong." This pissed me off. While it may be true that mixed race people suffer some existential angst about who they are, I think in most cases they would probably still rather have been born than not. Also, existential angst is not exclusive to mixed race people. I have plenty and I'm the product of one race only)

"I don't know what I'm going to do without him," Gin sobs. "I love him."

It's difficult to see someone you care for in this kind of situation. Gin was the one he was making jokes about, not me, and she was able to put that to one side and remain in the relationship. His comments offended me, but Gin brushed them off as unimportant. You say: "I don't think your boyfriend should say that to you," and she looks at you as though you are mad and says: "What?" You repeat it, but by then it sounds mad to you and you wonder if you're being overly politically correct and after all, if it doesn't bother her, what right have you got to be upset?

Gin is, apparently, wandering down a street somewhere in the middle of town clutching the bin bag Jason had thoughtfully stuffed all her possessions in before she arrived at his flat. It hurts me to hear her sobbing so hard. It makes my eyes water in sympathy.

How the hell can she love Jason? I've rarely met anyone so unlovable. But that's not the point; the point is that she does, and I am one of her best friends. Nothing like having your plans for the day derailed. Gin thought she was getting Sunday lunch and a shag, I thought I was getting an afternoon lying on the sofa with Rammstein, drinking coffee and watching Alec Guinness slowly unravelling in a 1950s boarding house.

"Where are you?" I say.

Half an hour later, I am sitting opposite Gin in a large Wetherspoon's near the shopping mall. She is relatively calm at the moment. She is drinking a white wine spritzer and plays with the black straw, not meeting my eyes.

I can tell she's dressed up for Jason today; she's wearing a short, floaty lime-green dress, diamante stud earrings and high heels. Her toenails are painted red. Her makeup is halfway down her cheeks. She's dropped the bin bag carelessly beside her chair. Inside it I can see a shoe, a MAC single eyeshadow (peach) and a pair of cream lace knickers.

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