I knew my mother wanted the cushion. It caught her eye as we walked past the shop window. “Ooh look, isn’t that lovely dear,” and of course I agreed even though it wasn’t at all the sort of thing I liked myself.
“It would look beautiful on your sofa,” I said, “Let’s go buy it.”
“Oh no, you can see it’s expensive. I’m not wasting money like that.”
“Well, it will do no harm to ask. Come on,” and taking her by the arm, I got her into the shop. “You go and have a look and see if there’s anything else you like and I’ll ask how much it is.” To my relief she started down the aisle and I quickly approached the assistant.
The cushion was $49. “Would you do something for me,” I asked. “Would you tell my mother it’s on special today at $15 and please take this $34 to make up the difference.” The assistant must have known someone like my mother, who was always spending money on others without a second thought, but a different story when it came to spending money on herself.
She smiled and gave me a conspiratorial wink, “Of course I will.”
My mother’s mouth fell open. “Fifteen dollars – are you sure?” Her face looked a little doubting, but the assistant played the part brilliantly. “Yes, indeed madam, it’s a special just for today.” The cushion was popped in a bag and away we went, my mother thrilled to bits to have had such luck.
The cushion looked glorious on her sofa, with its pale green tufted satin and long silk fringe. The pleasure my mother got from it lasted until she died a few years later. She especially delighted in telling people what a fantastic bargain it was.