‘She wouldn’t be quite so annoying if she wasn’t quite so short,’ she said.
She scratched her head and pulled her hair behind her ears in the way that she always did. He looked down at the table and closed his eyes for a second longer than a blink.
‘Like the cardigan she was wearing was a perfect fit, except for the sleeves, and so she’d made a cuff which was four rolls thick.’ She cleared her throat and he knew that if he looked up now he would see her biting her lips.
She blew on her cup of tea. Had her blows always been so loud?
‘At least four rolls.’
Pip put his cup down, picked up the pen, pulled the newspaper closer, began drawing a moustache.
‘And she giggles when she can’t reach things,’ she said.
She took a sip which became a slurp.
Pip added glasses to the face he had moustached.
‘And I don’t mean suitcases on the wardrobe or cobwebs on the cornice…anyone can get a stool and reach those kinds of things.’
Devil’s horns. A moustache, glasses and devil’s horns.
‘But no, she can’t reach the salt.’
Snot drips out of the nostril.
‘Can someone pass the salt she says and then she giggles. Every. Single. Time.’
And now the other one.
‘Like she thinks it’s funny having arms that short.’
Earwax! God, how long had it been since he’d drawn wax dribbling from ears? Twenty years? At least.
‘She could wear heels,’ she said. ‘No-one needs to be that short.’
Pip put his pen down, picked up his cup. It wasn’t the one he liked. It was all right for coffee, but not for tea.
‘Heels wouldn’t help her to reach the salt,’ he said. He brought the cup to his lips. The tea had cooled enough to drink.
She looked down at the things he had drawn, then up again.
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she said. ‘You know what I mean.’ She scratched at her head again. ‘And do you have to swallow like that when you drink?’
He put the cup down, picked the pen up. The next time they had this conversation Pip promised himself that he would say you’re only five foot two.