The Russian Lady

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My wife had made the appointment for me whilst I was at work.  She does lots of things for me whilst I am at work, such as making a mess of the house, changing the settings on my sound system and spending all of my money. Moving forward, she will most likely take a lover. You give an inch…

After she had made the appointment, I got a text from her saying:

‘She’s expecting you any time after 4pm. Do you need me to come with you or will you be okay?‘.

I politely informed my wife that she could kiss my ass-pergers and yes I would be fine.  On reflection, I should have known.

My heart-rate first began to rise as my index finger hovered above the doorbell. There was a small hand written sign that said –  Business hours only – 9.00 am – 3.00 pm. I looked at my watch – 5.25 pm. I checked the text from my wife one more time – any time after 4pm. I stood there and panicked.  What to do…What to do….?

Options: 1) Go home and never speak of this. 2) Go home and bludgeon my wife. 3) Never go home again. 4) Just ring the doorbell Gloria.

I mustered my courage.  My wife had said any time after 4 pm – she wouldn’t let me down. She knows how hard I find these things.

The heavy front door was opened by a Russian lady with a mouth full of food. I knew she was Russian because I could clearly hear her thick accent, despite her cake-hole being choc-a-bloc with dinner.

Mr Hudson?  I was expecting you at four?  We are just eating dinner.  It’s nearly half-past five. Did you not see the sign?”. She indicated toward (presumably) her handwriting above the doorbell with one hand and wiped her mouth with the other. “You’d better come in”.

I wondered whether she had a Kalashnikov I could rent to murder my wife?

As I walked into the Russian lady’s house, I could see all the way down the corridor and into the kitchen, where there lay a dinner table surrounded by three children and an angry looking husband.  I could not tell if the husband was Russian, because he did not speak.  He just frowned.

I smiled at him and his children and said ‘Smells nice’.  They all looked at me blankly. I was talking about their dinner. I nodded to their dinner  and raised my eyebrows and smiled, to help them make the connection. But no. Still just blank stares. Perhaps they only speak Russian?

OH hang on a second. Maybe it’s me.  Am I doing this all wrong?

I contemplated telling them that I had Asperger Syndrome and thus had free reign to be nonchalantly weird in their corridor if I wanted thank-you-very-much, but the Russian lady ushered me into a side room and closed the door behind me.

As I turned to apologise, I realised she wasn’t there.  I was standing alone in a small front room that had been converted into a seamstress’s workshop. This was weird.

I could hear them talking in the kitchen.  In ENGLISH. Lying buggers…..Maybe it was me after all?

THIS WAS WEIRD.

I just stood there and sort of paced on the spot.  I like to do this when I’m anxious.  It helps. I caught sight of myself in the full length mirror, on the back of the door I’d just come through. I was holding a jacket that needed altering in one hand, one hand was finger dancing, I was pacing on the spot, and my face looked as though I was constipated. God I looked weird, even to me. I was not as handsome as some mirrors would have you believe either. Some mirrors are bastards right?

As I looked around at all the pins, measuring tapes, dress templates and tailors dummies, I mused that this lady could well be Birmingham’s answer to Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.  Was I but moments away from being worn by a family of rudely interrupted Russians? Judging from my stress levels – YES.

The Russian lady entered the small room, and I started talking.  Boy did I start talking. About what I have NO idea? I was throwing words and sentences around like my pathetic life depended on it. I think I recall tapping my watch a lot, blaming my wife, offering to leave, and apologising more times than social protocol (whatever that is) would deem necessary? She assured me it was all Fineski and then she began.

And then it got really weird.

The Russian lady knelt down in front of me (as you do). Now it can cause a man to pause, having a strange woman kneel down in front of him, let me tell you. Nay whether friend or foe, the experience of a kneeling woman can attune the male senses to a keen state of ‘while-you’re-down-there-ness’. It is neither big nor clever. It just is. None of us are sorry about this.  I do speak for us all.

It gets worse.

In the full length mirror on the back of the door, it looked as though I’d been transported into a 70’s niche adult movie. It was an odd feeling indeed. I couldn’t see the reflection of my own crotch, due to the back of the Russian lady’s head. That made me feel weird. I have seen that reflection before, but usually I have had at least a passing acquaintance with the back of the head. This was all new.

The reflection made me feel uncomfortable. So I looked down. I looked down at the woman kneeling at my feet, fiddling with my lengthy cuffs.  The top of her head gave me more comfort than the back. She had a soothing pate. I looked happily at the top of her noggin and found some peace, until she looked up and our eyes met. OH DEAR. We kind of stared at each other. I didn’t break her gaze – perhaps I should have?

Then she quickly looked away, whilst I concentrated on not having a stroke.

I think it was at this point that I started humming. I like to hum.

The sound of me humming Black Beauty must have startled her because she looked up again, probably to check that I wasn’t going to murder her dead. I could sense her looking up.  I couldn’t see her looking up however because I was looking staunchly ahead, and elevated, so as to avoid our filthy reflection in the mirror. I suspect at this juncture we were both uncomfortable  But for different reasons.

Heartbeat estimate: faster than the speed of light.

As I hummed away unhappily, with a regimented and steely upward gaze, it all felt strangely familiar.  I felt like I had done this before? In a sort of way, that gave me comfort, until I realised that I was re-enacting my standing-at-the-urinal routine.  DAMN IT.

There was I, stood in a complete stranger’s house, with her kneeling at my feet and reflecting provocatively, whilst I carried on as though I were sandwiched between two blokes emptying their bladders on a Friday night.  Epic. Aspie. Fail.

I stopped humming IMMEDIATELY. This coincided with her quickly standing up, taking a few steps backwards, and staring at me quizzically. There was silence. Utter silence. You could have heard a pin drop, which admittedly would not be unusual in a seamstress’s workshop. I mention it only to articulate that there was an UNHOLY quiet, which in the absence of any reliable data, I took to be a comment on my completely inappropriate peeing re-enactment.  And then she spoke.

“One is longer than the other.”

I said nothing.

She walked behind me and put her hands on my shoulders.  She ran her hands down my jacket sleeves and then took a step back.  She stood silently behind me. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it. HOW DID I MISS THAT?  One of my sleeves was about an inch and a half longer than the other?

I looked like I was sporting a second-hand prosthetic arm. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but in the interests of painting a picture, I looked a deformed orang-outang.  How did I miss THAT in the shop? I’d paid for this jacket. With money and a straight face.  I felt like I’d been David Blaine’d

I just stared at myself in the mirror. Standing there in my one-armed Mr tickle jacket. SERIOUSLY. I had been to work in that jacket!  I must have looked as though I were roaming the corridors of the Notre Dame Cathedral. There’s me thinking I look all dapper in my new jacket, when in actual fact, everyone most likely thought the circus was in town.

I tried to un-embarrass myself by asking the Russian Lady if she had bought her mirror from a funfair? But she didn’t get it. She said:

‘No, Ikea’.

IKEA!

I looked at her face to see if she was joking,  but I couldn’t tell? Did she know I was joking? Was she joking? Does my wife hate me?

I had no idea what was going on? I just stood there looking at the reflection of my confused and bewildered self in the mirror.  I looked like Tom Hanks at the end of Big. A lost little boy in a massive suit that just wanted to go home..

As the Russian lady got back on her knees and tried to make the best of my John Merrick jacket, I vowed to chastise my wife for all I was worth on my return home. With a mouth full of pins but a hair’s breadth from my mister, she muted that it was very unusual for a jacket to have different length sleeves and to get through quality control. I mused that my soon to be deceased wife would be buried with it for posterity, along with her piss poor ability to pass on a phone message..

The jacket will be ready to collect next Thursday by all accounts.  I am sending my dead wife to pick it up.

© 2015 Man in His Pyjamas. All rights reserved.  www.maninhispyjamas.com

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