No one but Tiffany knew how the almost-mother-in-law secretly killed people with her compliments. The bigger the ‘darling!’ the greater the disdain. And if you received a gushing compliment about the way you looked? Dead. You were the most hated.
‘Oh, pink, darling, pink. I think we’ve agreed amaranth pink. I shall be doing the table decorations and Tiffany’s agreed to let me help with the bridesmaids’ dresses.’ Tiffany could hear the almost-mother-in-law lying so loudly about things they’d barely discussed she would make them fact. She did that.
That’s how they ended up engaged after all, wasn’t it…
She held her head straight, wincing at the way the revoltingly sweet rosé kicked her saliva glands into action on an empty stomach, and eyed James sideways as more people were brought over to him to be introduced. James wasn’t darling. James was ‘James’, ‘My James’. That’s how much she adored him. She watched the almost-mother-in-law stroke his head and loudly announce May as the month they would marry. May for the pink cherry blossom. Tiffany wondered if perhaps she was needed for the wedding after all. Perhaps she’d got it all wrong and James was marrying his mother.
May was traditionally an unlucky month to marry, some old hag was saying. The old woman had better watch out or she might get an OTT compliment about her scarf. She’d already had two darlings and was heading for a third. Tiffany pressed a tissue to where she’d snorted rosé down her nostrils and excused herself to phone her mother. Where was she?
She typed ‘amaranth pink’ into her phone’s Internet browser and stared up at James. He raised one hand, leant his head to one side and half-smiled with only the left side of his mouth. All halves.
Maybe they could get half-dressed and get half-married, thought Tiffany, putting down her half-drunk wine, phoning her mother’s phone and walking into the long entrance hall.
‘Sodding-amaranth-sodding-pink,’ she muttered, waiting as it rang.
But she was here already. There she was striding towards her. Glamorous as ever in a black suit with her thick, long grey hair twisted elegantly behind her head.
‘Mum!’ They hugged tightly and Tiffany indulged in a brief second of escapism, closing her eyes and drawing her mother’s familiar scent into her head. For once she was taller than Tiffany with her knee-length, high-heeled boots over her trousers. The almost-mother-in-law would hate the black.
Maybe they could get married in black.
‘You’re fab,’ Tiffany whispered, squeezing her mother’s hand and leading her into the room.
‘Oh daaaarlings! There you are! You beautiful darlings! Look at them, everyone. Don’t they look exquisite?! The most beautiful women in the room!’
Yes. Black. In January. In five years. Whenever really…
N.B. I read an article by Germaine Greer once where she attacked the colour pink. Although I disagreed with her claim that ‘Nothing beautiful was ever pink,’ I remembered it today and did a search for it. It was written in November 2007. She also wrote, ‘Pink is the colour of hypocrisy,’ and ‘Pink, like poison, must be used sparingly,’ which was where my title comes from.
I wonder if she still stands by everything she wrote that day…
Here’s the article if you want a laugh: Why has the world gone pink mad?
Thank you to @sleepycatt and @simiansuter for giving me the writing prompts on Twitter!