My family don’t do sympathy. Awwwww poor you? Nope – not in their vocabulary. At least not for blood relatives.
Trip and fall? Derisive snort. Break your wrist? Can‘t you look where you’re going. Swollen glands? That‘s what you get for snogging that boy. Crash the car? Hope you weren’t drunk.
Jump in a ditch of nettles to avoid a sheep-stampede? lose your good flip-flops, your pride and any useful skin on your legs?
At least the hysteria which greeted me stopped them from speaking. For a few minutes. Mother pissed herself (her – you know – eyes drop to below navel, voice lowers– has never been the same since – dramatic pause – Oor Derek – he had shoo‘ders like a bull‘s, you know). But not before saying You silly bitch! What on earth were you doing!
Derek – the farmer/scrapyard owner (not my bull-shouldered brother) – and his wife made noises about how it was easy to get caught out like that. At least I think that’s what they said. The girlfriend could not handle the situation and walked away, hugging herself, shaking a bit with the effort of suppressing the laughs.
And I stood there, legs and hands and forearms beginning to nip from the nettle stings, the cut on the sole of my left foot beginning to throb and thought – if you can‘t beat ‘em, join ‘em…
Yip, I am a silly bitch I said. Then laughed too.
Then said I think I need a big gin.