I know I am upset: I cannot decide which shoes to
wear. It shouldn't be difficult. I make my choices simple. I have
the same shoe loafers, sensible with stitching on the uppers
in a number of colours. Variations on a theme. For months I have
been wearing blue. I am a creature of habit. Today I have taken
the red ones from their place on the shoe rack. On my left foot I
have the red shoe. On my right I have the blue. I am wondering
about the choice of socks. Everything has a domino effect. Change
the colour of the shoes and the colour of the sock also has to be
considered. With blue I always wear green. With red, white. There
have to be rules.
I am upset about the bracelet. I timed Ivan. It took him seven
minutes to put it on, not including the two minutes he took to clean
his nails before he started. I think he knew Id ask him to put the
bracelet on again. As if he had been mentally preparing himself from
the moment I saw it.
"Put it back on," I said. I touched his hand as I said it, tried to
keep my voice apologetic.
"Well, if you insist " he said. He put on a Scottish accent, raised
one eyebrow, gave a full smile. Ivan uses his Sean Connery
impersonations in times of potential danger. He is a firm believer in
using humour to dissipate difficult situations. He flipped the
bracelet on to its back and dragged it off the table towards him; it
made a light clunking ratchet sound. He kept his eyes on me, gave me a
small tilt of his head and then a crooked smile and wink. He has one
blue eye and one green. He always winks with the green eye, the left
one. Lately, when he does it, the wrinkles around his eye deepen so
much it becomes prune-like. I made him aware of this fact as he
wrapped the thing around his wrist and then laid his arm on the table.
He ignored me and manoeuvred the clasp into a more accessible
position. He focused on the task. He remained calm. I watched
alternately his busy fingers and my watch. Seven minutes and then he
punched the air. The right arm. Bracelet intact. "Mission
accomplished, Miss Moneypenny."
I object to being "Miss Moneypenny." Bond never had sex with "Miss
Moneypenny." Ivan cleared his throat: it is his way of reminding me I
am closer to forty than thirty. Silence. "Seven minutes is a long
time," I said. He told me it took him longer when he put the bracelet
on the first time. To console me or to alleviate suspicion. He touched
my hand as he said it. He made sure to use his left hand.
On my left foot I have a red shoe. On the right I have a blue. The cat
is watching me looking at my feet. When my eyes meet his he gives a
plaintive mew, comes forward, quick staccato steps, and butts the toe
of the red shoe with his head. George likes feet. He jumps up on the
bed beside me, puts his front paws on my legs and offers me his ears
to rub. It is our morning ritual: I put my shoes on, he gets his ears
rubbed. I always wear shoes. There is always the possibility that I
might have to leave in a hurry.
On my left foot I have the red shoe. On the right I have the blue. If
I wear the red shoes Ivan will know I am upset. I explain this to
George as I move him away. I take the red shoe off and replace it with
the blue. Ivan is in the kitchen drying up. We smiled at each other
after he won his task. Nothing was said. He began to wash up, I put
the peelings into the compost, wiped the table, swept the floor, went
to put my shoes on. I can hear his deliberate movements from the sink
to the cupboard, stacking the plates, arranging the cutlery.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...