AFTER MY OXYGEN-BLAST facial I’m standing in the shoe department at Harvey Nicks. I’ve got a pair of fabulous sky-high, pale blue Jimmy Choos that I saw in last month’s Hong Kong Tatler and an Anna Sui Dolly Girl gift set that I thought was just perfect for my Jenny’s coming home and there she is: Yolanda Li – kiss-kiss, darling-darling, blah-blah-blah. Oh. My. God. I know they were saggy before but it looks like she’s had them done in Shenzhen, not Seoul.
Josephine Wong! she says. How are you?
Cerise really is so draining on her. I’m never one to gossip, but I know for a fact she’s fifty-three. And a graphic-print Miu Miu micro-mini with Sergio Rossi sling backs? You gotta be kidding me.
Hello, Yolanda darling, I say, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
I love your new do, she says. Are you still going to Kim Robinson?
I am, I say.
Yes, she says. Kim’s always been wonderful with more mature hair.
Personally, I’m going to Ken Qi myself.
Well, we have a bit of a chit-chat about what she’s been up to. She’s still on the Ladies’ Committee of the Hong Kong Ballet, so she’s basically trying to get me to buy tickets to their next gala. Now I love culture as much as the next person, I used to take Jenny all the time – she adored the ballet – but Melvin’s never free these days and they always ask where he is and if he turns up he starts snoring during the pas de trois and, frankly, it’s not like you don’t know how The Nutcracker is going to end anyway, so I said I didn’t have my diary with me and could she possibly send me an invite?
My Jenny’s back next week, I say. I’m over the moon.
Charming, she says. Mango’s home next week too, she says. Jenny didn’t come back from London at Christmas, did she?
No, I say.
Easter? she says.
No. She had a very important dissertation to finish, I say. Is that a bespoke Hermès? I ask, looking at the little bag on her arm.
Yes, darling, she says, showing me the bag. Yolanda and I go way back when. It’s a Kelly, she says, a little too loudly. A waiting list of like forever.
I’m looking at the bag and thinking there’s something a bit funny about the buckle. Something-not-quite-right about it.
Mango popped over on the Eurostar for the weekend and put my name down, she says.
Oh really, I say.
Yes, Yolanda says, then adds, quite unnecessarily, All the way from rue du Faubourg, Saint-Honoré. Je t’adore Hermès.
Excuse me, says the woman behind us. I’ve been talking to my friend and I’m sure it’s you. Are you Josephine Wong?
Yes, I am, I say.
Oh, I knew it. Can I get an autograph please? she asks. What was the name of that song you sang?
‘Golden Moonlight, Silver Tears’, Yolanda says, smiling.
That’s the one, the woman says. My mother used to love it. She used to listen to it all the time. Totally deaf now, she says. Can’t hear a thing. Can you sign on the back of this?
Of course, I say, taking her Biro and signing my name on the back of her magazine.
Thank you, she says. My mother will be ever so pleased.
So, I’m standing at the counter with the Anna Sui Dolly Girl gift set and the Jimmy Choos – I’d managed to put back a pair of gorgeous chunky wooden Lanvin platforms so I was feeling pretty angelic – and Yolanda’s going on and on about how well Mango’s doing at the London College of Fashion. How her second-year show was apparently a total success. How they might set her up with a boutique or even her own label when she graduates. And how Boris, the elder son, is doing terribly well at HKU studying medicine. I’m inviting them all over to dinner with Jenny and Mango when the little Harvey Nicks assistant interrupts and quietly says, I’m deeply sorry, Mrs Wong, but, unfortunately, your account is temporarily blocked.
Yolanda shuts up and the woman behind us who I gave the autograph to turns right around to listen.
What? Can you try again?
Well … madam …
Is it your computer … again?
I do apologise, she says, looking like it’s the most fun she’s had since the property market crashed. I can hear the woman and her friend behind us tutting. Actually, we’ve tried three times already, the really rather dumpy assistant says.
So of course, as you can imagine, I’m absolutely mortified. I’m standing there in the shoe department of Harvey Nichols looking at the fat little assistant and Yolanda Li is standing next to me with her serious charity face on looking like Mother Teresa, if Mother Teresa ever had nails as long as Cruella de Vil’s, and those nasty cheap new tits of hers are pointing east and west and I’m thinking, God, is this not the worst Thursday afternoon in the world ever and at least Joyce Ma or one of the Harilelas or, God help me, Pansy Ho, hasn’t walked past, and just get me out of here and to my salsa class. I hand over a platinum card, sign the slip and off I go. Just let darling Paco put his strong hand on the small of my back on the parquet floor on the eighteenth floor in Causeway Bay and everything will be all right.
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