Thursday, January 10

Something Freudian

I WAS RECENTLY relayed a story that went a long way to explaining an obsession of mine. It was told to me by my nan, no less, who, regardless of enlightening her grandson on his sexuality, will never shy away from telling a good story; stories she delivers from her armchair, wrapped in a shawl and with her clawing hands around a cup of instant coffee.
In my infant years, my mother was afforded a break from me by palming me off on to my nan, who was all too willing to look after me, all her own children grown and, unfortunately or not, her paternal side blossoming in much later life.
From pictorial evidence I have learned that I was much better-looking as a baby than I am now – even winning a baby competition held by a department store – and a much happier little thing. If ever I was delivered to her, she immediately took me out walking, in the park or in the town centre, up and down the road, the pair of us always in motion, though myself more reclined.
She took me shopping to a department store in Ilford. The store is closed now, having made it through one ruthless recession only to be trampled by the another.
As my nan queued for something at the till, I, in my pram, stretched out my arms and, without my nan noticing, started to grope the legs of the lady in front.
Sheer tights. I had never seen anything like them before in my life. The texture! The light off of them! The colour! I was fascinated. I ran my hands up and down them and my little nails made noises upon them.
The lady stranger, greatly amused, turned and smiled at me before starting to laugh as I, uncaring of social etiquette, continued to rub and to reach.
I was obsessed.
The lady, for some reason or other, didn’t budge. She let me feel to my heart’s content. Eventually, she was called to the till to pay for her basketful of items. My nan simply held me there as my arms reached out, squirming. She laughed and some of the other people in the queue laughed, too, the way that people in queues laugh.
I see my little face heartbroken that the legs had gone.
‘You were absolutely fascinated by them. You had never seen sheer tights before. You wouldn’t leave the lady’s legs alone.’
So there it begun.
These days I think a lady’s legs are about the best thing on this green earth. I suppose that’s why.

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