It’s The Boy’s birthday on Saturday, so I popped (arggh – middle aged word) into a store called BENCH, which describes itself as an urban lifestyle brand, thus explaining why they charge £25 for a tee shirt. Was fingering a mud/poo coloured top that he might like when a spotty teen sales assistant shuffled over. We had the following conversation:
HIM: (IN HIGH PITCHED SQUEAKY ‘MY VOICE IS BREAKING’ VOICE) Can I help you wiv anyfink today Madam?
ME: I’m looking for a t-shirt for my son.
HIM: (IN A BURST OF INSPIRATION POINTING AT THE VERY TEE I’M FINGERING) Well what about that one Madam?
ME: Er right. I need it in a small.
HIM: I don’t fink we have it in a small.
ME: (CHECKING THE LABEL) Yes you do.
ME: (SHOWING HIM THE LABEL) Here.
HIM: Oh. Please let me know if there is anyfink I can be of more assistant wiv?
ME: You’re in my way.
But it was worth it to see that momentary light of love appear in The Boy’s eyes (or it might have been avarice but never mind). There were several anxious moments while he tried it on and said: ‘This isn’t a pyjama top is it?’ and I assured him that it wasn’t. He then nodded and said: ‘Not bad mum. Thanks’ before adding, ‘Don’t tell anyone you bought me this.’ And then he gave me a hug and I felt his long bony chest against mine and remembered how when he was small I would say: ‘Hold onto mummy like a monkey’ and he would wrap his arms and legs round me as though he were trying to climb back inside me.