|Available as an iBook, on Kindle |
on Kobo and as a Penguin Paperback,
In Manchester groups gather to eat their lunches by the Bridgewater Hall or on St Peter's Square.
The sunglasses people wear seem to act as masques at a ball, and furtive glances pass across the pavements in the hope that no one catches on – or if they do then he or she might stretch their legs out a little further, lean back and pretend to soak up more sun.
'We have a proverb in China,' said my friend as we sweltered in the heat. 'Do you want rice or roses every day?'
I thought for a moment. I eat rice at least three times a week, I definitely wouldn't want it every day.
She tends to talk to me as though she is shouting.
'I want roses.'
'This is where you are going wrong,' she sighed. 'You cannot have roses every day. You need rice to live. You see now how this makes sense?'
'I'd prefer to have roses some days, than rice every day.'
'We all want roses,' she said, 'but we can't have roses. We need rice to live. This is what it is like with a man, roses don't last, you need rice.'
'Even so, I'm a roses girl.'
She tutted and turned back to her work.
'You are not looking for a man,' she said. 'You are looking for a hero.'
The office was quiet. I smiled at her words because she'd made me think of the Bonnie Tyler song and then all I could see was the image of a woman striding the floor to an 80s beat.
'I'm not looking for a hero,' I said. 'Just someone to put the bins out.'
Then it reminded me of what my French friend had said when she spoke about her husband:
'I'd rather be treated like a queen than kiss a King's ass.'