Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Extract - The Difference Between You and Me by Celia Hayes - Blog Tour

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Of course I am! Why do you ask?”

“Nothing – you just seemed…”

“Don’t worry, I’m going to relax for a bit and in a couple of hours I’ll be as good as new”

“Trudy, that’s the balcony!”

An annoying noise brings me back to myself, a sort of shrill bell that pierces my eardrums. I express my irritation with a sort of primordial mewling.

What happened? What time is it? Why can’t I see? Oh my God… I’ve gone blind!


In a complete panic, I jump up and send myself flying across the floor, for I am wrapped up like a spring roll in the sheets. My temporary disability, however, has no effect at all on my persecutor, who manifests his indifference to my wellbeing by continuing to ring that interminable bell.

“Wait… Wait a minute,” I whisper, my voice groggy with sleep, crawling blindly until my nose meets the edge of the bedside table. From there I fumble about until, somehow – I don’t know quite how – I manage to find the switch of the bedside table lamp.

Fiat lux!

Okay, I’m not blind.

“I’m… I’m coming.”

Well, more or less.

“Burn in hell, you rotten bastard!” I shout at the shoe rack when I stub my toe on it as I make my way from the bedroom to the front door in a zigzag, hitting every corner, wall and piece of furniture I encounter along the way.

“Yes!? Who the hell is it?” I snap, throwing the door open to reveal the aesthetic disasters that two hours of sleep and a shameful betrayal had wrought upon my lovely person.
“My goodness! Trudy, what have you done to yourself?” gasps my mother, staring at me in shock from the doorway.

“Put it this way – I’ve had better days,” I say as I move aside to let her in, and, without bothering to close the door, head towards the living room, her in tow.

As soon as I get to the coffee table, I throw myself like a dead weight onto the sofa and start hugging a cushion. I would love to go back to sleep – I desperately need to, but with her here it’s impossible.
My vision still blurred, I watch as she wanders into the room. She’s not comfortable in my house. She never has been, because my mother is a simple person. Old-fashioned, you might say. One of those women that run around the house with flowered aprons and pins in her hair to avoid messing up her hairdo while she tidies the wardrobes. It’s actually quite strange to see her standing there between two black leather armchairs, surrounded by furnishings so modern that they’re practically science fiction. 

The fact is that we are poles apart; she loves hanging curtains and decorating old furniture with decoupage. And I… errr. Well, I don’t.

“Trudy,” she mutters anxiously. “Trudy…” But the tone becomes tinged with reproach as soon as she notices the mess around her. Chaos reigns everywhere – there are clothes scattered on the floor, an empty bottle of wine next to the TV, cigarette packets all over the place, the remains of a pizza on the table and all my photos scattered on the carpet.

“Can we talk about it another time?” I ask, already knowing that my proposal will get short shrift. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that she and I don’t understand each other at all – it’s just a problem of syntax. I have a theory about it: there’s a whole series of phrases which automatically produce an immediate rejection. Each sender-recipient pair (daughter-mother-in-law, boyfriend-girlfriend, mother-daughter) has its own. Seemingly innocuous phrases which inexplicably generate the inevitable response ‘non-existent recipient. Return to sender’. ‘Can we talk about this later?’ is one of them, and, as expected, has exactly that effect. She doesn’t listen to me, no. Rather, she comes and sits down next to me and starts staring at me as though I were dying.

“Darling,” she says understandingly, grasping for the right words to begin. “You know, yesterday Lisa called me. Horace has been there, and he was in a bad place.”

“Oh, Horace was in lots of places yesterday – one of them especially unusual,” I retort, hiding my face under the cushion.

“I think you should at least allow him to explain,” she says, blushing bright red.
Let him explain what?

“Are you kidding? Tell me you’re kidding,” I beg her, popping out from my soft hiding place.

About Celia Hayes

Celia Hayes works as a restorer and lives in Naples. Between one restoration and another, she loves to write. Her book, Don't Marry Thomas Clark reached #1 in the Amazon Italian eBook chart.

About the book

Can stepping out of your comfort zone lead you to ultimate happiness? A feisty rom-com, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Tracey Bloom.
Trudy Watts has everything she's ever dreamed of: a job that she loves, a successful boyfriend and an ultra-modern apartment in one of the most fashionable parts of London. With a long-awaited promotion due to come her way and her wedding just around the corner, Trudy's life is just perfect...
That is until catastrophe strikes and her life is turned upside down. She's transferred to Turriff, a remote Scottish town to manage a small, struggling bank branch.
Her arrival is traumatic and she wishes she was anywhere but here... Until she sees him – Ethan, the charming pub landlord, who seems to enjoy nothing more than to tease her. And it's right there, in that pub, that her life will suddenly change...

Links to buy

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Celia’s previous book, DON’T MARRY THOMAS CLARK is out now!

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