Auckland. Sunday morning. Mid-sixties.
I am in bed. Headachy. Bedspread turned down. Distant sounds of kitchen domesticity drift in and out. The music drones on. Leave me alone. I doze. Am I hearing this again? On the musical menu today Glenn Miller, big bands, heavy piano concertos. Is that Tchaikovsky or Grieg? Mozart where are you hiding?
Every Sunday without fail those LPs blared loudly. Not again.
Sleep had not been good. The hard plastic hair curlers had indented my skull and hurt. ‘Pains to be beautiful,” said my mother on more than one occasion. I do hope she’s right. How could anyone be born with this hair? Why can’t I be like those girls in the Seventeen magazine? Why?
‘Get out of that bed. You’re dreaming your life away,’ advised Dad as he strode through the house in search of a screwdriver for one of his do it yourself projects.
Yes I was dreaming… at that very moment the black and white photograph in Paris Match of me, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. They were gazing at me adoringly as I had just said something witty and deeply philosophical in perfectly accented Parisian French. Simone was handing me a plate of pastries she had made specially and Jean-Paul held my coffee.
They had to wait. I did look stunning in that costume — was that Chanel or Dior draping my perfectly formed petite hour glass figure? I couldn’t tell. My skin looked like alabaster and my eyes glowed large and luminous without those glasses. “Come on, brekkie time,’ called my mother. “Eggs and bacon, Sunday treat.”
What a decision my mother’s overdone fried eggs, or Simone’s delectable croissants?
‘Coming.’ I said leaving Simone’s pastries untouched.