I remember Tony saying ‘I’ve found you a wife.’ Across the disco floor was a girl with the smouldering good looks of a Greta Garbo and the figure of an Audrey Hepburn, that is to say like a stick insect in a dress.
‘Hello,’ I said. ‘I’m Jonny.’
‘I’m not,’ she replied.
We danced the night away. She danced a mean boogie whilst I did the Gay Gordons.
I walked her home afterwards. She let me kiss her. It tasted like all the herbs and spices of the orient: Leyton Orient. We dated regularly after that. One day in early spring I went down on one knee and asked her to marry me. I strained a knee ligament and had to be stretchered to hospital. She felt sorry for me and said ‘yes’ through gritted teeth.
What a wedding reception! There was Stuart, with his ill-fitting suit and ridiculous moustache. You should have seen him. A human dustbin when it came to scoffing food. If you stood on his foot, his head would flip open. There was Molly, skinny and prickly as a starved porcupine. That red dress and those white tights – she looked like an upside down Swan Vesta. Then there was my sister Connie, forever lighting up a Player’s Number Six and wearing a dress that looked like it had originally been issued to female ARP wardens.
It’s a pity my bride never showed up. She missed a smashing reception – foie gras, pheasant, lavender poached pear, gallons of Rustenberg Chardonnay. That note she left – ‘I never could stand you, I was only ever interested in your money. Pity you never had any. I’ve found somebody a lot richer,’
That just about sums her up. I always thought her eyes were too close together.
(c) RT Hardwick