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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Author:Gail Honeyman
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2017-04-14T10:01:03+00:00


20

Saturday morning passed in a blur of household chores. I’d started wearing rubber gloves to protect my hands, and, although unsightly, they were helping. The ugliness didn’t matter—after all, there was no one to see me.

Gathering up the detritus of the previous evening, I noticed that I had failed to consume all of my vodka allocation; the best part of a half bottle of Smirnoff was extant. Mindful of my gauche faux pas at Laura’s party, I put it in a Tesco carrier bag to present to Keith tonight. I pondered what else I should take for him. Flowers seemed wrong; they’re a love token, after all. I looked in the fridge, and popped a packet of cheese slices into the bag. All men like cheese.

I arrived five minutes early at the train station nearest to the party venue. Mirabile dictu, Raymond was already there! He waved at me and I waved back. We set off toward the golf club. Raymond walked quickly, and I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep pace with him in my new boots. I noticed him glance at me, and then he slowed his steps to match mine. I realized that such small gestures—the way his mother had made me a cup of tea after our meal without asking, remembering that I didn’t take sugar, the way Laura had placed two little biscuits on the saucer when she brought me coffee in the salon—such things could mean so much. I wondered how it would feel to perform such simple deeds for other people. I couldn’t remember. I had done such things in the past, tried to be kind, tried to take care, I knew that I had, but that was before. I tried, and I had failed, and all was lost to me afterward. I had no one to blame but myself.

It was quiet out in the suburbs; the views were open, with no tenements or high-rise blocks to obscure the distant hills. The light was soft and gentle—summer was drifitng ever onward and the evening seemed delicate, fragile. We walked in silence, the kind that you didn’t feel the need to fill.

I was almost sad when we arrived at the squat, white clubhouse. It was halfway to dark by then, with both a moon and a sun sitting high in a sky that was sugar almond pink and shot with gold. The birds were singing valiantly against the coming night, swooping over the greens in long, drunken loops. The air was grassy, with a hint of flowers and earth, and the warm, sweet outbreath of the day sighed gently into our hair and over our skin. I felt like asking Raymond whether we should keep walking, walk over the rolling greens, keep walking till the birds fell silent in their bowers and we could see only by starlight. It almost felt like he might suggest it himself.

The front door to the clubhouse burst open and three children came running out, laughing at the tops of their voices, one wielding a plastic sword.



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