Bella wanted to socialise with friends on a Saturday evening, but she had no money.
Mid-day she arrived at my door. She held her defunct engagement ring in my face. ‘I can pawn this for forty quid,’ she said. ‘Before I do, do you want to give more money for it?’
‘You should keep it,’ I replied.
‘I don’t want it, it’s going one way or another. Are you interested?’
‘If you want me to have your cast off engagement ring, I would have thought you’d give it to me, not ask me to buy it.’
‘So, that’s a no?’
Off she went to get forty pounds for a ring worth more than that.
I made myself a cup of tea, and waited for Husband to return to tell him how thoughtless Bella had been. Tell him of her desperation for money.
I was insulted by her. Everything Husband and I did for her, all the money we had spent, and she was bartering with me for a few quid for something I did not want.
She got her money from the pawn shop, she went out that night. She did not return for the ring. She did not have forty pounds to spare.
She had a gold coin, given to her when she was a baby at her christening. She asked Husband to buy it for a fiver. Less emotional than I, he said, ‘Yes I’ll have it.’ He did not want someone else having the value of the coin. It has since been stolen when our home was burgled.
It had come to this: rummaging in her belongings, scrounging money.
She used to be thoughtful. She used to be generous.