He sent her money for Lola, but she always sent it back, the arrival each month of an envelope from his management company containing a cheque, but no attempt at correspondence, had now become painfully ritualistic. Victoria didn’t know why, but she’d wait downstairs, on the same day each month, to have the same conversation with the same postman, the procedure, always leaving her feeling like she’d just been spat on. The postman would hand her the stack of letters, amongst which would be a manila envelope embossed with the logo of the record company, an emotional thorn secreted inside a bed of paper .
She’d tug the elastic band from the parcel of bills and unwanted promotional bumf, then, surgically remove the offending article, taking care to hold it with only the tips of two fingers, as if it were a used tissue that needed to be discarded.
“You can take this one back please Stan, thank you very much.”
“Righteo Love, I’ll be in when I knock off for a pint, have a good morning.”
“You too Stan, you too.”
And with that, she’d once again, sweep back through the pub, pour herself a drink and retire upstairs until Sassy and Jimmy arrived for lunchtime opening.
Victoria had taken a bit of a shine to Martin of late, although he was ten years her junior and obviously completely unsuitable husband material, there was an inappropriateness about him that almost penetrated her own, unwanted, but seemingly irremovable cloak of emotional unavailability. While she had only momentarily allowed herself to even consider getting to know him better, Lola now absolutely adored him. Over the past few months, she’d started to accept the various toys and occasional bags of sweets he’d brought into the pub for her child, whereas anything Mooney had tried to offload had always been refused, or gone straight into the bin the minute he’d left. There was just ‘something’ about the young musician that forced a smile onto her face, every time he entered the pub. Sassy had noticed it and one afternoon, had somewhat clumsily suggested that perhaps it was because Martin reminded her of Lola’s dad Ray, at which point, she’d ‘reminded’ Sassy, that
“If I ever hear you mention that bastards name in this pub again, you’ll be looking for another job, do I make myself clear?”
Sassy turned bright red and bobbed her head affirming she’d understood exactly what Victoria meant before attempting a more vocal apology, Victoria however, had already walked away and dashed up the stairs. She turned the radio up to full volume, poured herself a drink and began to twirl and spin, dancing alone from room to room singing aloud in quiet desperation, as tears, broken dreams and gin, intertwined and tumbled to the floor.