Saturday, April 14, 2007

Chapter One

For some inane reason I don’t seem to be able to remain with a guy for long. It’s either me – getting bored with him, or them, dumping me.

Either way it’s just not working.

It was the same before I moved to London. OK, so compared to places like Russia or Australia, Dublin is a village, but somehow it was getting to the point where all my exes knew each other. Definitely time to move on, and when I was offered the opportunity as features assistant on Woman to Woman magazine I wasn’t about to refuse. So here I am, sitting at my desk and having an all too familiar conversation with my sister Jennifer.

Dater-of-Dublin’s-elite Jennifer.

I-Know-How-To-Handle-Men Jennifer.

Nothing like me.

My voice is pleading, desperate for Jennifer and her head-screwed-on approach to agree with my flimsy reasoning.

“Danny Mullins is a complete chav!”

“Valid point Sophie,” I can imagine her nodding in agreement, knowing all too well the punch-line that’s coming, “but not a good enough reason to break his heart.”

“Break his heart? We’ve only been on four dates. It’s no good – he has to go. He buys all his clothes on the market.”

“Bad. Very bad. But still not a valid reason to dump him. You do know that ‘handsome’ is not the sole criteria, don’t you Soph?”

“Of course I do!” I hiss into the mouthpiece. My editor, Maria Delaney is on the warpath today and it’s more than my life’s worth to let her catch me on a personal call.” But it isn’t just that, Jen. His breath smells.”

“Jesus! Well that’s inexcusable! Sophie Regan, what the hell are you waiting for?”

“I know.” At last I could relax, content that I had finally made my

voice-of-reason sister see sense. “I’ll tell him tonight.”

My relief is short-lived though, as Maria Delaney’s voice calls out, a shrill ricochet slicing through the air of the Woman to Woman offices and I slam down my phone in the knee-jerk reaction that I’d finely honed over the last few months since I’d been appointed as Features Assistant.

“Sophie? Got a few minutes please? I need an update on the ‘Women Who Surrender Their Lives For Their Pets’ piece.”

“OK, OK,” muttering under my breath I grapple for the relevant papers on my desk, accidentally knocking the huge elastic band ball that I’d been working on for the last few weeks, down onto the floor. I watch it roll, as if in slow-motion, across the nylon carpet, stopping beside the wicked-
witch-of-the-west-stuck-under-the-shed feet of Angela Johnson as she sits, prim at her desk.

“Bugger!” I hiss to myself, knowing without doubt ‘AJ’s’ lowly opinion of my writing.

“Sophie!” Maria Delaney squeaks once again from her Editor’s office, “Are you coming or not?”

“Coming!” I say in a businesslike manner as I grab a handful of papers, deciding to sort them into something resembling an order on my short journey from desk to Maria’s office. As I break into a trot, my synthetic shoes creating sparks on the carpet, I look back at my phone as it flashes and blasts out the “I need a hero” ringtone from my bag. As desperate as I am to nip back and check who’s calling, I know it’s more than my life is worth to upset the boss. The caller will have to wait.

*

“And so, em, Sophie. Well, it’s, em, it’s Danny. Er, I really wanted to tell you this to your face, but, well, as I’ve got your voice-mail. It’s like this Sophie. You’re a really nice girl and all that, but, well. It’s not you babe – it’s me. I can’t commit just to the one woman, you know? I’m too young for all that. And you know babe? As for the word ‘monogamous’? Surely babe, it's no coincidence that it sounds so like 'monotonous'! So, please don’t be down babe. Like I said, it’s really not you, you’re a cracking bird. It’s just me. Sorry Sophie. Bye.”

*

“Who the hell does he think he is!” I’m yelling down my mobile at Jennifer, blatantly ignoring the pinstripes at Paddington station who are surreptitiously trying to appear as if they’re not listening to my conversation. “A cracking bird? A bloody cracking bird! I’ll crack his bloody head if I ever set eyes on him again?”

Jennifer was trying to placate me.

Unsuccessfully.

“Sophie, try and calm down. It’s the end result that’s important. You didn’t want to see him again. You wanted to call it off, and now it is.

Called off.”

No!!” I’m shouting. I realise that I’m shouting, but I can’t stop. “That’s the whole point. I wanted to call it off. And he got in there before me! That bloody Burberry-capped chav with the smelly breath actually had the nerve to tell me ‘not to be down’! I bet he thought all his birthdays had come at once when I agreed to go out with him anyway!”

“Sophie, try to calm down. People must be looking.”

“People?” deranged now, I hold out my mobile to the crowd of dolly pegs who are suddenly overly interested in the huge London Transport poster advertising the Philosophy Course. “No! People aren’t looking! People are too busy trying not to laugh at the idiot who couldn’t see it coming! That’s it Jennifer! No more men! Never, no more!”

“But Sophie…”

Too late. The train pulls in and I cut her off. Seriously. No more men.

And if you only knew the horrendous experiences I’ve had in the last 6 months, you’d be crowning me ‘queen of the singles’ for making such a fabulous decision.

Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five

1 comment:

tina said...

excellent start. Poor Sophie. But I do sympathise, I've had tons of crap dates too and it does make you wonder if you are better off going it alone? Can't wait for chapter 2.