Sitting at the company’s New Year’s Eve party, I raise my glass and murmur the words “Absent friends” because, let’s face it, the people here are not my friends! Not that I would say that out loud, because those in the know call that a “Career Crusher!” Of course, we all need an occupation and being part of the crowd is central to survival but I ask you, who wants to be friends with a man like Mathew, the head of our department and unpleasant to boot?
I better come clean here and tell you, upfront, that he is married to my sister. Every look he gives me shows he regrets that decision, but we can’t always be canny and “Mattie “slipped up big time I must admit.
I love my sister in that theoretical way some brothers must because it is the polite thing to do, but once she’s got bored with being charming the bossiness seeps out: our Mathew knows that now!
Not to say Mat’s a poor fellow because he’s not! He fights back, of course, often by making my life unbearable, and there is a further complication: the main reason I got my job, and Mathew got his, is because my step-father owns the business although he doesn’t work in it himself: my relationship with him is also on the uncertain side of poor
My mother was a looker in her day, an attribute I might have inherited except I look much more like my birth father who did the decent thing by dying young and leaving his wealth to my mother: she grieved all the way to the alter at her next wedding, two months after his death, snaring her much older and even wealthier husband, my step-father, on some foreign holiday purchased with her “Windfall!” I was not on that trip, of course, so I met him later, after the whirlwind courtship and marriage in the Las Vegas “Church of Our Eternities.” I might be rambling here, it’s what I do in the non-physical sense, but hopefully you get a feeling for where I am.
Here’s the magic ingredient; Matthews’s sister, Emma, is with him at the party and she has smiled at me on three separate occasions. Might not be wise but perhaps a date is in the offing or would that be a stroll down death row? It’s coming to me now, after my “Absent friends” toast perhaps I should raise a glass to “Uncomplicated lives!” What do you think? Is there any more whisky?