Hope this email finds you in good health. How’s the ingrowing hair on your nipple? Have you had it removed yet? It looked really sore when you showed it to me. Sorry my efforts to dig it out with my eyebrow tweezers wasn’t successful.
Apologies for not being in touch sooner, but I felt I had to get away to think about everything, so I went down to Newquay for a fortnight. That was a waste of time. I ended up getting pissed every night in Easy Riders nightclub. Remember that place, Emma? We had some fun in there when we were on holiday with your mum and dad. How old were we, fifteen? We thought we were so grown up. You tossed that lad off in the toilets and got his stuff al over your blue skirt. I still laugh at that. You told your mum I’d spilt some superglue on it when I was trying to stick the heel back onto your shoe. If only she’d known, she wouldn’t have tried to get the stain out by handwashing it.
Anyway, I’ve come back none the wiser. Part of me wants to say yes to Neil, but a much bigger part is screaming at me to get on the next boat to Hong Kong. I’m really not sure I’m ready to settle down. Typical, Em, I pulled every ten minutes in Easy Riders. I was good though, I only snogged a few of them and only one, really lush bloke, copped a feel.
I rang Neil from Newquay, and told him I can’t make up my mind and need a bit more time. He was furious with me and said that if I loved him, I wouldn’t have to think about it. He really thought I’d burst into tears and wet myself with excitement when he proposed. He’s really pissed off with me now though. I said I’d meet him in the pub on Saturday, but he said he’s busy all weekend. There’s been a serious crime wave apparently, and he’s got to do a lot of overtime. Well, he wasn’t catching crooks last night, Emma, because I saw Michael Scrivens, on his Deliveroo pushbike at his front door when I drove past.
When I say, drove past, I mean I was parked across the road in the shadows, watching his house to see if he’s been playing around while I was away. When I texted him, I said I wasn’t back until next week.
There was uproar at Mum’s when I told them all that Neil had proposed. I dropped the bombshell as she was serving up Spag Bol, tonight.
Mum burst into tears and dropped the pan of boiling hot sauce onto Dad’s lap. Dad ran screaming into the kitchen to chuck a bowl of cold water onto his crotch while Gran fell about laughing, claiming she’d give six weeks’ pension to watch that happen again.
When Dad came back, we got to discussing Neil’s proposal. Mum wanted to know every tiny detail. I couldn’t remember most of it, so I made some stuff up. When I got to the bit about him going down on one knee, Mum burst into tears again and cried, ‘my little baby’s all grown up,’ like it had just happened that moment. Blimey, if she knew even half the stuff I’ve done, she’d cry into the Christening gown she bought but never used, because Gran got banned from the church after trying to touch up the vicar at the rehearsal.
Mum kept rambling on about changing my nappy, and my first steps and words. Gran bought her back from the ancient past by kicking her shin under the table.
Dad isn’t happy about the idea of me marrying Neil at all, Emma. He thinks Neil will be watching him all the time to make sure he doesn’t bring any more dodgy fruit and veg home from the warehouse where he works. He reckons he’s missed out on a fortune because none of his contacts trust him anymore.
‘Why couldn’t you take up with a bus driver or a MacDonald’s burger flipper?’ he whinged.
‘Because all the bus drivers are big, fat, bald and over fifty,’ I said. ‘And all the lads who work in Macdonald’s are skinny, sweaty, acne ridden, virgins.’
Gran had been quiet up until that point, but then she suddenly leant forward, put her hands on the table and demanded to be the maid of honour.
I told her that I had you in mind for that job, but she just snorted and said that you haven’t been a maid since you were fifteen. (How she knew about that lad in Newquay I’ll never know, she wasn’t even there and I’ve never said anything about it. No one could have seen you either, unless one of those donkeys in the holding pen you were shagging in, could talk.)
Dad butted in then, and said that Gran was hardly a maid, and hadn’t been since the war where she’d had half the US army before she was thirteen.
Gran chucked a mug at Dad’s head and said that it had been decades since she’d had sex and her slot had shrunk so much, it could only take a five pence piece, so she was the closest thing to a virgin I was going to get in this town.
Dad choked and fell onto the floor holding his stomach in a fit of laughter. Gran took the opportunity to steal the chocolate éclair that he’d saved for dessert after dinner. She stuck it down her blouse and returned to the matter in hand. She stared at Dad with contempt.
‘I think even you would struggle to get into my slot these days, and you’ve only got a tiny willy.’
Dad was outraged. He sat up instantly.
‘I’ll have you know my willy has been known to frighten girls.’
‘That was your face, not your willy,’ Gran chortled. ‘Your willy is tiny, I’ve seen it.’
Dad looked to mum for help. Mum did her best.
‘Oh, Gran, that’s not fair.’
Dad puffed out his chest.
‘I wouldn’t call it tiny,’ Mum continued. She thought for a moment. ‘No, not tiny.’
‘I made you scream the first time we did it,’ Dad insisted.
‘I had cramp,’ said Mum. ‘In my foot.’
Dad’s chest delated like a leaky balloon. His mouth opened and closed but no sound came out.
Gran smirked and gave Mum a high five.
‘Well, our Tracy,’ she said. ‘Can I be maid of honour? I’ll buy a new frock, they’ve got a nice black one at the charity shop. It’s just my size. I was going to buy it for Dierdre Bullock’s funeral but she got better.’
‘I haven’t said yes, yet Gran,’ I replied. ‘I’m not sure I’m going to.’
‘Oh Tracy,’ wailed Mum, as though she thought it was the only chance I would ever get.
‘Good for you,’ said Gran. ‘You’re far too young to tie yourself to one bloke. You haven’t lived yet. There are plenty of other fish, and men… and women in the sea.’
Dad stopped impersonating a goldfish. ‘Women?’ he spluttered.
Gran folded her arms across her chest defensively.
‘Why not?’ she asked.
Mum stared at Gran, eyes wide.
‘You didn’t?’ she gasped.
Gran simpered and dropped her eyelids.
‘Might have,’ she replied.
Dad shook his head. ‘We shouldn’t be surprised really.’
‘You’d have done it with a bloke, you were so desperate when you were young. None of the gay lads fancied you though.’ Gran cackled like a cartoon witch and poured some cold tea into her mug.
‘I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,’ I said, smiling at Gran. ‘It must have been frowned on back then though.’
Gran cackled again.
Everyone was at it,’ she said. ‘It was wartime, all of the shaggable blokes were away fighting. We had to get rid of our frustrations somehow.’
She winked at Dad.
‘Even you could have scored in the war,’ she said.
Dad stormed out, spouting something about a lock-in at the pub, and I helped Mum clean up the table.
‘I’ll cook us some chips, shall I?’ offered Mum. ‘Think about Neil’s offer though, Tracy. It’s ages since I went to a wedding. We don’t get invited these days, Gran can’t behave herself and no one likes Dad.’
So, Emma, here I sit, still undecided. I think I’ll give him a call tomorrow… Maybe a text. Oh, I don’t know what to do. Life’s so confusing sometimes.
See you soon, Emma, hope your nipple hair has stopped burrowing.
Tracy the unready.