So my mother’s friend, Attracta, just bought a new ear ring and had it inserted above her eye in that little pad of fat at the limit of the brow. I was eating a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes at the breakfast bar when she called over to show it off.
‘What do you think of my new piece?’ she asked my mother, who was busy putting some granules of instant coffee into a mug.
‘Wait until the kettle has finished boiling,’ replied my mother. ‘I can’t really hear you.’
Attracta stood like a dumb slab of meat, waiting for the rush of steam to ebb.
‘What do you think of my new jewelry piece?’ she asked again.
My mother handed her a cup of steaming coffee and inspected the ring.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ she said. ‘It’s really nice.’
Attracta marvelled at her own coolness, barely able to contain her pride.
‘You’d think that at this age you couldn’t get an eyebrow ring! The only reason I went for it was that I got a book out of the library recently about doing anything. It’s called Go Ahead and Do Anything - you should read it! It’s amazing, it tells you to just do whatever you want! I started smoking and going to the cinema again as well. Then I went to get that ring put above my eye! You’d love it, it uses psychology. It just explains that doing what you want is what cavemen used to do - makes total sense doesn’t it?’
I nearly choked on my sweetened, nutty corn.
‘Yeah it’s fantastic,’ answered my Mum, taking down the name of the book on her phone.
Then the words I had dreaded.
‘You have an eyebrow tattoo don’t you?’ asked my Mother. ‘What do you think of Attracta’s?’
‘Stud.’ I replied, in my grumpiest tone.
‘You have a tattoo?’ asked Attracta.
‘No!’ I shouted, turning around and revealing my swollen and pussy eyebrow stud. ‘I have an eyebrow stud! And it will heal - it will heal soon.’
Attracta stood in a chilled silence. No one spoke for a few seconds.
‘I’m going to the toilet, and then I’m going to work,’ I said, leaving the kitchen.
We all knew that Attracta’s eyebrow piercing looked better. And it killed me.