I've got her right hand. It's the hand she paints with, she makes deals with when someone falls in love with her art, the hand with which she wanks Robert off, and probably it's the hand with which she wipes her arse too. This hand says it all. And I'm supposed to decorate it, to body paint the picture. That's what the official invite said, after I informally confirmed that I would be coming to her party.
For my 30th birthday, I'm asking you, as one of my closest friends, to body paint a picture of one of my body parts. It can express the way you see me, or the way you think you've influenced me. Please bring your picture to Sunshine Manor, the 30th of May, at four o'clock. Love, Shania.”
Sweet Shania, my sweet Shania O'Sullivan. This is my chance to put a ring on her finger. A thin silver band with a tiny pearl on her elegant finger. Would she mind if I decided to provide her with jewellery, rather than body paint her skin? She will be studying the end result closely, after all the guests have handed in their piece of artwork, gotten smashed or Shania's new collection of cocktails, stayed the night in her atelier, enjoyed Robert's builders breakfast in the green garden of Sunshine Manor, and returned to their own dull lives. She will analyse every brush stroke I did and didn't leave on her lovely right hand. A ring would be a blatant declaration of love – and a declaration of war with Robert. A war he's already won before it even started, since Shania is the prize, and she chose for him after a one-week-relationship with me, four and a half years ago. I've always said that we were meant to be friends, and our intercourse, inevitable and overwhelming as it may have seemed at the time, didn't do our relationship justice. I was happy to stay in touch with a woman as wonderful as Shania O'Sullivan. No hard feelings. I promise.
Honesty and intimacy, that's what she asked for. I'll take the veils of friendship from my true feelings and present her my heart as I've been carrying it since we met. She'll understand at once when she sees that silver snake clenching her elegant finger, reflecting the desperation with which I've held on to every phone call, every lunch date, every opportunity to hear her cheerful voice and see her sparkling eyes. A sliver snake it is, with tiny pearls as eyes.