Eschewing the flamboyant (critics said “grotesque and overindulgent”) designs of the previous decade, the new couturier at the fashion house picked up his scissors and set to work. He had chosen a heavy material and was mulling over words: sackcloth? Too pious. Workwear? Blandly utilitarian. He sighed and snipped – and snipped until a small, minimalist dress was made. In at the waist (tight at the belt) and accentuating the bust, he thought. But not one of his models would wear it. All they saw was snippets of cloth lying across the floor – and the dress, a tiny, useless remnant of fabric.
Did I even wear spectacles when I began all this? My hair was thicker, definitely: brown, remember? Now it is thinned and grey. It needs to be cropped short. I was slim then too, though I didn’t think so at the time. Out of shape is what I said. I looked at myself; looked at the kids coming through. Their wee bandy legs and enthusiasm. They’ve done well. Better than I could’ve hoped. But they grow up and leave, filled with urgency, pride and belief in themselves. And I remain. Some say I could have stopped them. But that’s family.
Aw c’mon, said Joe. Ye’ve got to be kidding me, it was years ago. We had a deal. Ye never said anything at the time.
Yeah but Joe that’s just it: I never did say anything. You’ve just assumed something. I never promised anything.
Joe shook his head:
But Ian, ye just, I mean I just… it was all accepted.
But it wasn’t Joe. I accepted nothing. You owe me: I want it back.
Joe turned away. It had been a done deal. He couldn’t even remember how much it was. And now when times were bad, times were bad…