Ugh, waking up drunk just isn’t the same as going to sleep drunk. It seemed like such a great idea last night, but I’ve suffered all day long. I know this is flimsy, but I was dreading seeing Adrian-From-Floor-2 at the lifts this morning. I’d worn my Nicole Richie style white-framed sunglasses to hide my tired eyes. Just in case. But he was nowhere to be seen – which is just as well, because I think a whiff of his Macchiato would have finished me off! It was around 11am when I remembered how intexticated I’d been, and I truly cringed at the recollection of the text message to Ben. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about. Especially as I checked my phone at least every hour today, and he hasn’t even replied!
Early night tonight. I’m signing off for the day…
My dreams are deep and confused, littered with the many men by whom I’ve been hurt or dazzled, ditched or delighted to get rid of. Mike, the recovering alcoholic who’d said, “You looked better when I was drinking,” (and meant it, although, he insisted not in a cruel way. He was so focussed on his recovery; he had no idea what a crap thing that was to say!) Jimmy, who’d taken me on a week-long holiday to the Maldives and then had the nerve to say that the sight of my arse going in to the sea turned him off me. I was only 19 at the time and I remember feeling desperate about myself. I’d suggested that we complete the holiday as friends and go our separate ways when we got home. Which we did, and I kept a brave face on it, but was deeply and privately devastated at his wicked comments. Which were deepened on meeting him 2 months later with a proper ‘fat-bottomed-girl’ on his arm. Alex treated me terribly, until my self-esteem lay in tatters, unlike my knickers, around my ankles. He didn’t want sex and made the most ridiculous excuses not to. We were together for 4 years and, around year 2 he began to turn his arse to me in the bed. He had the nerve to say to me once how he’d had so many women prior to me, that he’d overdosed on sex. I’d looked at him in disgust and retorted, “Funny that, being as Mick Jagger is twice your age and never had that problem!” Needless to say, the relationship was going nowhere and so I jumped – both the sinking ship, and then, his best mate, Carl! Who was the most fabulous indulgent guy that I ever had! Carl was a free spirit who believed in open relationships, and the medicinal, healing elements of sharing his free love…. Which is glorious when you’re not emotionally connected or are blissfully ignorant about his life for those 23 hours a day that you don’t see him. But when you start finding him interesting and sexy and realise that he’s fucking with your head as well as your body, things start to change. And how they did. I became obsessed with Carl and his harem. So when he stopped calling me and avoiding my calls it was clear that I’d mutated into the complete opposite of his free-love paradigm. Bloody ‘Free Love’, what did he think love was, bloody Tibet or something?
I’m woken just after 10am by my mobile ringing and I knock over my bedside glass of water as I grope blindly for it beside my bed. It’s Tamsin,
“Morning Soph. All geared up for tonight?”
“You still asleep? I’ve woken you, haven’t I?”
“Yeah,” I groan, flopping my head down onto the pillow once again and closing my eyes.
“Sorry. Thought you’d be out getting spray tanned ready for our speed dating night.”
“Yuk, I’d forgotten.”
“No you hadn’t. You’re just in denial. Anyway, I’ve been thinking. It’s madness, me coming to pick you up. Why don’t I get Rob to drive me over to you and then we can get the Tube from Belsize Park to Leicester Square. It’s only a few stops on the Northern Line.”
“OK, whatever you think. Will Rob mind though? Bringing you here?”
“Course not. He’s got a big job on somewhere near Belsize Park station and he’ll be heading that way. Some guy with a fleet of cars that he wants repairing. You know Rob, any chance to keep his overalls on and get his head under a bonnet! Anyway, I’ve done so many favours for my brother – it’s about time I started getting some back!”
“Whatever you think, I’m too tired to use my brain. See you about 7.30 still? I’ve leave the door on the latch.”
“No,” Tamsin replies, “maybe 7, as we’re getting the train.”
“OK,” I’m too tired to listen, so I nod and cut her off, “7.30 it is then….”
By 6 I’m compos mentis once again and gyrating to ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves’ around the kitchen in my underwear as I wait for the hair straighteners to hot up. Rooting through cupboards as I shake and wiggle, I look for something to eat but nothing takes my fancy. It’s an unspoken rule, prior to going out for the evening, to avoid wheat to prevent bloating (I don’t want to look 6 months pregnant at speed dating – there’s something unethical about that!), I don’t want anything remotely garlicky, or any food items that requires stirring, flipping or beating. The noodles look decidedly tempting once again, but a glance at my neglected fruit bowl convinces me to go for a large cherry and banana smoothie.
“Standin' on their own two feet, and ringin' on their own bells,” I sing as I throw fistfuls of cherries into the jug along with a bag of frozen chopped banana. Grabbing the vodka bottle, I pour a generous 4 seconds worth in too. Well, a girl can’t go through a trauma like speed dating without a little social lubricant! Pushing the lid down tightly I flick the switch to extra fast and leave the kitchen quickly, the squeals of solid lumps of frozen banana being sucked toward the blades drowning out Aretha Franklins sisterly vibe. My wrap dress lies obediently on the bed, its left arm over its head, like a body from a crime scene and my Moschino sandals wait patiently, toes forward, facing the mirror. Catching my reflection I notice that the Johnson Holiday Tan has begun to take effect, leaving me with freakishly unattractive slices of white on the backs of my arms and left shin. This isn’t good! That’s not what it says on the tin! I despise myself for making such an effort, but it’s a tricky dilemma – going to speed dating, knowing you’re going to hate it, but desperate that someone will like you. Wouldn’t it be deemed as an heinous crime to go speed dating, and for guys to decide they didn’t like you – based on only 3 minutes to chat? It surely doesn’t get much more self-esteem shattering than that! I hadn’t decided to stay single to go to these efforts with my appearance, but I am categorically not going speed dating looking like I intend to be single! As Aretha comes to a halt I’m aware of the blender, still screeching in the kitchen. Walking back through to switch it off my house phone rings so I grab it on the way through. It’s my faux American Mother,
“Hey babeee, I got some fab news honey. He’s asked me to marry him! Can you believe it!”
I adore the American accent, but my mother does it no justice whatsoever, her Irish twang like flat notes throughout.
“What? Hang on, let me turn the blender off.”
“Babeee, what the heck is that? We’re getting married Sophieee, a Christmas wedding.”
“What? Mum! That’s only seven months away. Are you sure? Hang on; I’ve got to turn this off.” Her voice switches back to her South Dublin accent immediately, “Oh for Christ’s sake girl, you wanta get yourself a life! Jesus, you only live once.”
And at that split second, the lid flies from the blender, shooting thick pink smoothie like a chocolate fountain, all over my kitchen.
I scream and close my eyes as the thick liquid hits me in the face.
Momentarily, everything stops, except for cherry smoothie as it leaps from the glass jug.
I open my eyes to see it dripping in gloops from my hair, sliding down my walls and cupboards slowly and hanging like stalactites from the ceiling.
In the sudden silence my Mum screeches down the telephone,
“Sophieeee? Babeee? You OK? You been shot, babeee?”
And then I hear another voice. It’s Tamsin’s.
“Bloody hell, Soph. What happened? You OK?”
And as I wipe the slime from my forehead and eyes and see her standing, with Rob, at my kitchen doorway, I realise that I’m still wearing only my grey underwear and am polka-dotted with fruit juice.