For a non-believer, I have an awful lot of strange notions.
I could swear the Universe just actualised someone I was hoping never to meet again, on our walk to the beach, Hunzi and I.
My mind was once again mashing the frumenty of my recent past into the familiar polenta of loathing for this one particular individual, when first a Weimaraner in a stupid red coat came trotting around the next bend – and then appeared this ghastly woman in an inadvisable pair of red trousers, the same colour as mine, under a clashing bob of orange-dyed hair.
The apparition, who looked as if she’d had a facelift, or overdosed on Botox, a living embalming procedure or something, as her face was weirdly as smooth-looking and shiny as a pink billiard ball, recognised me instantly, and I grunted something and hurried on, staring at the ground. I was damned if I was going to recognise her after almost three years, in fact I was eyeing the nearby river speculatively. At this time of year it isn’t deep enough to drown an average human without standing on their head for several minutes to make sure, besides you never know who else might happen along with their dogs to effect a rescue. It might have been worth a try, though she was no average human.
This was the monster who, while working supposedly for me on a very part-time basis, had put me through two years of mounting annoyance while she tried to steal my job, bombarding my director eight thousand miles away with slanderous ungrammatical emails hinting strongly that I was permanently absent without leave, had drunk the bar dry and was stealing money by charging people cash and not booking it: all total, libellous balls; except of course for the bit about the bar, a bit. (You try living there on your own in winter.)
Eventually she convinced my employer to embark on a potentially disastrous and hugely expensive course of action. Three years later, the grandiose folly was completed, and I was let-go in favour of a ‘proper’ manager, the son of a business associate of hers, who gratifyingly lasted about eight months in the job. I’d made nearly seven years.
But here I go again, and if I go on raking the humous of this long-ago scenario to a fine tilth in my head, I should not be surprised if the bloody woman appears in a puff of smoke in the corner of my studio, to admonish me further. There was absolutely no reason to expect that she would apparate on the footpath between two nowheres at that point in time, she lives over 40 miles away.
Except that, only the other day, out of the blue, her accursed name had come up on this, my tiny laptop, when the dreary Linked-in social media site sent me one of those annoying messages asking me to link to her in professional fraternity, and I told it to fuck off. It was a hint.
And just to rub it in, we ran into each other a second time on the way back from the beach. My grunt this time was well-rehearsed, her smooth, shiny face crestfallen. If she thought a cheesy greeting was going to put a sticking-plaster on bygone wounds, she was wrong. Everyone involved on the project had at one time or another come to me to complain about her Janus-like duplicity, half-brained ideas and astonishing ignorance of many matters a consultant in her field should have known more about, and to wonder why on earth our employer took any notice of her ludicrous prognostications.
I had to explain that it was only because she was telling him what he most in the world wanted to hear: that he would make pots and scads and oodles and shedloads of money if he did as he was told. (He hasn’t. Not unless it’s a big tax fiddle.) And my chief failing was, I wasn’t.
Clearly, the Gods want me to get over it and move on, it’s been two-and-a-half years already. Maybe it was a sign, maybe I will now be allowed to sell-up and move to the middle of a foreign country, with my dog and my guitar, my avocado tree and my Jazz CDs (see Pages), where I don’t have to encounter anyone else with unresolved issues from my past life ever again.
Except you know, don’t you, you just bloody know you will, someday.