He couldn’t help buying me things, he said, among which a sheet, not silk as is my wont but cotton. “What if it doesn’t fit? Do you have the receipt?” He’d left without it because the assistant was being stand-offish, snooty, superior – he didn’t use any of these words but I knew what he meant – condescending, looking down the nose at him. I’d never found Habitat assistants other than agreeable myself. So long as I kept the packaging, they’d take it back, he assured as I was about to recycle the paper it came in.
Once he’d gone I did try out the sheet. It fitted but on my king size bed it was too matt black. It occurred he didn’t have a receipt because he shop-lifted it, another reason for not wanting to receive it if true. His receiptless explanation had, retrospectively, rather too glibly rolled off his tongue. For all he might have, I didn’t want him further incarcerated because of a sheet. After all he was my lover, who hadn’t told me he’d stolen it, if he had. What to do?
First I looked out the alternative to the too black sheet, well-yclept as anthracite: beetroot, a none too savoury colour either. I retreated to consider. The pink duvet cover would go with the beetroot, ineradicable blood stains and all.
Then I sounded out an assistant who thought I might be able to exchange the sheet for another.
Finally, accompanied by Sandie, a friend, I broached the subject and was denied. I’m stuck with a black matt cotton sheet I don’t want but given me, by my lover. At least I wasn’t accused of receiving a stolen good. Habitat had its chance and John’s in the clear so far as I’m concerned whether he stole the goddam sheet as I suspected he might have or not. I’m not even going to ask if he did since I’ve no proof that that wouldn’t be quite unwarranted distrust of him. I will, however, tell him they wouldn’t exchange the sheet and in future to always have a receipt for any gift to me because I’d rather he’d stolen the beetroot one which would’ve suited the green decor better as well as go with the pink duvet cover even if a completely unrelieved matt surface on a huge bed since not silk! I think that should about cover it.
I did say they wouldn’t exchange the sheet. His surprise, even shock, Habitat might’ve changed its policy on returns, deploring that it had, convinced me he hadn’t stolen the sheet.
Visit since, however, he gave me another sheet, cerise not beetroot and too small, with the quasi defiant remark he didn’t stay for a receipt. I must conclude he stole that sheet.