John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Tuesday 3 July 2012) Love hangover

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Tuesday 3 July 2012) Love hangover

Roy woke with an erection the like of which he had not experienced for quite some time. He lay back, closed his eyes and thought hard for a while about Joanne Browne.

After that he weighed himself nude. Still 13 stone five.

He dressed and spent the morning at home, listless, distracted and depressed. He opened the wedding photo album again. How ever had he and Holly got involved?

They’d met at a golf club dinner-dance. Roy had worn a beige suit whose broad lapels and flared trousers had yet to attract the fatal mothballs of fashion ridicule. He had A-levels in economics, chemistry and maths, had rejected the ivory towers of university – Brian’s sort of thing – and instead stayed at home, been taken on by a local firm and got his qualifications on the job.

The world of work had suited him and introduced him to the world of golf, a sport whose great attraction for Roy was that, unlike most others, you could play it very averagely without being mocked, ostracised or dropped.

Roy had just turned 22, his handicap was 23 and he was starting to make headway in the world.

The dinner-dance was a New Year’s do. Don and Gwen had been there too and the evening’s ballroom phase had morphed, via the bump and the jive, into a full on disco finale. Holly, aged 17, an optician’s assistant, had asked Roy for a dance. Roy was shy, but he’d obliged, trucking gamely to You Should Be Dancing and joining a Love Hangover conga, in which Holly had got behind him and held his hips.

This was a signal that she’d like him to buy her a rum and black. At the bar she’d talked and he’d listened. He’d liked her green butterfly collar spilling out from underneath her velvet smock dress. He’d liked her bubbly laugh, the feathered cascade of her hair. They’d made a date, gone out several times then got engaged. It was just after Crystal Palace’s famous Cup run. Charlie’s Angels were on the telly, Boogie Nights was on the charts and in the air. Holly had breathed it in.

Roy closed the wedding album and wandered down the garden in the rain. Why had Holly got so angry with him, why had he ever thought it would be otherwise? She was hungry for late nights and good times, Roy wanted to tend their little nest in Horsham, bought with a bit of help from the two Banks of Mum and Dad. He winced at the memory of Holly’s impatience, the raucous girls’ nights out she began to taunt him with, the many of her needs he couldn’t meet.

He blamed himself for everything. He didn’t want that big, flash wedding. He didn’t want to dance till dawn. He couldn’t bear Holly’s increasing, implied rebukes that he was a slave to dull conformity. Roy had realised far too late that he and Holly were hardly acquainted at all; that each had projected hopes on to the other that neither had been aware of at the time, let alone able to fulfil.

Rain interrupted Murray at Wimbledon, but in the end he cruised past the Croatian, Cilic. Roy remained subdued.

All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE.

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Categories: Culture, Roy's Summer of Sport

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