‘If you come on my deck, those Mickey Mouse socks will have to go. You will have to be naked,’ are among the first words Crazy Yank say to me when I go upstairs on a particularly warm day last April.
That morning I had stepped out of my bedroom to see the sun shining brightly through the glass panel above the front door. I felt warm in its reflected rays. So with a reinforced optimism, I went back into my room to dress accordingly: a mini denim skirt, a tankini top, cardigan and Mickey Mouse socks.
‘Everything down to here is sexy until you get to those Mickey Mouse socks,’ Crazy Yank begins.
I tell him I don’t care because my feet are cold and no one’s going to see but I know I will have to negotiate to gain access to the deck this season.
‘It’s my sanctuary. I don’t let the kids go up there… Where are you going?’
‘I’m going to go up to the deck,’ I say, clutching my socks.
He follows me up the first stair case and then the next: a private stair case that leads to the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, MTV Cribs-style walk-in wardrobe and the deck. We step outside among the replenished Buddha heads and plant pots after his recent trip to Homebase and TK Maxx. Two loungers are next to each other. One is barely in the sun and the other is entirely in the shade.
‘It’s too early for the sun,’ he says.
‘Who’s going to sit there?’ I ask, pointing to the sun-lit lounger.
‘Me,’ he says, lying down, grinning.
‘I’ll come back later,’ I say.
I go down the two flights of stairs and put my socks back on. Lily rings to say she’s five minutes away in the car. She arrives and we set up camp in the back garden. Crazy Yank appears.
‘I’m renaming the cat Govinder. I’m in my transcendent zone,’ he says balancing on one leg as Demon Cat rushes into the house. Govinder, Govinder, come on. Come here,’ he says, wandering back inside.