There was a time when I walked down the street several paces behind my partner – not out of deference (though he has suggested it), but from the hope of dissociating myself from him.
The source of embarrassment was a litter-picker I rashly gave him after he'd lusted after one I bought for my father, who was having difficulty bending to collect junk blown into his garden. Within days – hours – this mechanical claw was being put to use on the playing fields opposite our flat. It was as if he were auditioning for a parkie's job, not realising such posts went out with Thatcher.
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