— You don't even know what sophisticatedmeans!
My mother turned on me sharply. I should repeat that she was twenty-one when I was born. I have never been much younger than her and she has never been much older than me. Another school run: Swansea, in the late Fifties.
— Ooh I do know what sophisticated means!
— No you don't. Not what it really means.
— Yes I do.
— Go on then. What does it mean?
I now see my mother's profiled face, lightly frowning in concentration as she listed some of the more attractive attributes that went hand in hand with being sophisticated - all of them worth the aspiration of a bashful country-girl from Berkshire. I said,
— That's not what it really means.
— All right then. What does it really mean?
My mother was innocent. Then experience came, and she experienced it. And then she got her innocence back again. I have always wondered how she did that.
in Experience p.106
Vintage Books, London
© Martin Amis 2000