After the wigs there was the health-food store. Patsy carried the smell of spice like a well-loved winter scarf; she moved in and out of the aisles, laying figs beside dates, straightening packs, stroking the neat lines of the shelves. I could never stay in the shop for long; my nose would refuse to breathe the cloying air.
`I’ve decided to go in for aromatherapy,’ she announced one day. I’ll practise on Kevin, he likes having his chest rubbed.’ Kevin was the man of the moment; Patsy didn’t like men to get the idea that they could get their feet under her table. The minute they turned up uninvited, she swiftly sent them on their way. Since she’d left her husband she hadn’t had a relationship that lasted more than six weeks, and the kids had never seen a man in her bed – she did all the sex stuff at mine, before she went home.
`You have to know how to use it,’ I said.
`Aromatherapy - you can’t just slap it on people, it’s dangerous.’
`I know that. I’ll get a book.’
`Somebody I know let a friend practise on her - she ended up so relaxed she was almost paralyzed. She couldn’t move for days.’
`I’ll get a book I said. It tells you all about it in the introduction, I was reading one today. I’ve told Kevin he’s getting a full body massage tonight.’