Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chapter Forty Five - My Cartoon Life

I should feel great, but I don’t. I feel depressed and grey. Kind of like the weather. I should wake up every morning like Jennifer does. She’s relentlessly straight into the shower, exfoliating her entire body in preparation for yet another 6 minutes under the sunbed and then in front of the mirror, perfecting her hair for the best part of half an hour with the straighteners. It isn’t helping that she’s got a part time job in the sunbed shop. It’s made her even more image conscious and it’s going to be tough, confronting her and telling her she’s starting to look like Donatella Versace, but it’s going to have to happen soon. Sadly, her presence is having a profoundly negative effect on me and I feel like I did when we were children – as if I’m constantly baulking in her shadow. And to think that she’d came here as a rescue mission! I’d forced myself to be so giving at a time when I really hadn’t wanted to, and now I feel worse than ever. I’m bored and pissed off, opening my front door every morning to charcoal clouds and then rain, which only frizzes my partly straightened hair anyway – so what IS the point? I feel as though I’m living two lives. The life I feel stuck in at the moment is the downtrodden and tired life where I want to move to the country – preferably somewhere hot and exotic like Western Australia – and be hopelessly in love with a macho sheep shearer where I could live comfortably in ripped jeans and white t-shirts. My figure would be fantastically toned due to the physical exertion of being a human sheep-dog and rounding up the sheep, coupled with a to-die-for tan. There’d be no need to choose to stay single or be bothered by men as my muscled hunk would completely love me for who I am and no other guy would dare approach me out of respect for him. And because they would know that our love was indestructible. But instead, I have this life. Schlepping to work, like a reprimanded teenager, every morning in the dark is no fun. I’ve given up trying to put on a plastic smile for the paparazzi and, probably because of this, they’ve become bored of me too. Ironically and bizarrely my quest to stay single has actually made me rather lonely! It’s made me realise that I have been lonely, all along. The insurgence of emails and bouquets was magnificent and overwhelming at first, but the gestures soon revealed themselves as shabby, flimsy bolstering of male ego. So I continue to trudge to Woman To Woman, slowly forcing my good old English ‘stiff-upper-lip’ as I prepare to laugh and charm my co-workers, the general public and the legions of media contacts that I now have as a result of this stupid idea. I trip off the train and march, head-down, along with the other suits as we scurry like robots and dissipate off to our office blocks. I feel like something from a Disney cartoon. We’d all be painted in greys and browns, our offices tall and imposing giants set against a backdrop of, hey, more grey! I’ dream of re-painting myself onto a scene where everybody has a vivid colour to depict a life outside of work. There’d be all the glorious gay guys flourishing in cerise pinks, the lesbian lovers reading magazines like Diva and checking funky sites like Biva as they hold hands and jump over those bizarre rainbows that lesbianism seems to be associated with. The children would be bright yellows and reds and blues and we would all smile as we breezed into work in technicolour. And of course, the sky would be permanently azure… OK, so that made the walk to work slightly more pleasant! Reality check kicks in immediately,
“Regan? Could you come straight in here please? Angela? Any chance of some coffees too? Oh, and could you ring and order some bagels please too, Angela?”
Dear God – why does Delaney do that? It’s the last thing I need – her rubbing AJ up the wrong way, and surely it could have waited until I’d taken off my coat? Time to shoe-horn on my smile and Miss-Happy-Go-Lucky-Personality. This is tedious!
I enter Delaney’s office and am shocked to see that there are two other people already in there. I smile, rabbit-in-the-headlights, at the two gorgeous men who both immediately stand and shake my hand firmly. Delaney chips in,
“Sophie? This is Darren Ellis and Ross Byrne. They’re from a media company and have a fabulous idea to work with us on Relationship Rehab. They’re setting up a website called Sophie Dilemma and they have some brilliant media ideas for us.”
Inwardly I’m groaning. Just when I thought I could hide under a rock for the duration of the winter months and let the days drift into months until this farce is all over! Now I have to change gear and rev myself up! Once again I paste on the cheeky grin,
“Oh, how interesting! OK,” I shuffle in my seat and blush. Darren is exceedingly handsome with his glistening blue eyes, shaved hair, perfect teeth and Ben Sherman shirt. How embarrassing! I can feel my neck and cheeks as they heat up and now even my eyes are hot! I bet he’s super-impressed with me! ‘Sophie Regan the legacy of independent women who choose to stay single!‘ What a joke. What a fool. Thankfully, Delaney breaks the silence but not before I notice her frowning slightly at me, a bemused ‘what the fuck’s going on with you? You’re like a beetroot!’ look sparking in her eyes.
“OK,guys. So tell Sophie what you’d like to do.” Before they can begin, she stands and opens her office door,
“Angela? Any word on those bagels?”
I turn to see AJ scowling as she looks up from her computer screen and half-mumbles,
“They’ll be here in 5 minutes.”
“Great!” Delaney sings and closes the door once again. “OK, Darren, you want to kick off?”
He looks at me and I feel a ping somewhere in my groin, as if my knicker-leg elastic has broken. Only I’m wearing my big knicks and know that the elastic is more than generous. The ping is purely down to Darren’s direct stare.
Just like when I used to look at Adrian.
Oh no, not again!
Jennifer adored living with Sophie again. It was just like when they were children, only better! Sophie was still the sensible one, tidying up as if it was her life’s work and being all domesticated and boring. But Jen figured that it was great - as long as Sophie insisted on keeping the house nice it simply gave her more time for herself. She was looking fantastic - better than she had done for years and she was convinced that this new lifestyle she’d conjured for herself was the complete raison d’etre. And talking of her linguistic skills, she’d met a gorgeous guy in the sunbed shop last week. He’d called in quickly between deals and she’d got chatting to him - after buying a few grams for herself. Sophie would go bonkers if she knew she was still sniffing the odd line here and there, but all the girls and the customers at TanFastic were all doing it, so she would look like a dried up old hag if she didn’t join in. Anyway, she knew instantly that he was not to be let walk out of her life. She’d got chatting to him and he’d asked her what her French was like. She bluffed and bullshitted and basically lied through her teeth as she’d inflated her basic ‘can I have a beer please’ and ‘do you speak English’ into a fluent bilingual talent. He’d gone on to rub his forehead as he’d told her that he’d been over in France to acquire some more ‘produce’ and had parked his car in a public car park only to return and find that somebody had hit it and caused over £12,000 of damage to his Range Rover Vogue V8. He’d laughed it off then, claiming that the money was a ‘drop in the ocean’, but on principle wanted to chase it with the insurance company. He’d parked beside the ticket machine and the surveillance cameras would have been directly aimed at his car too. Of course she hadn’t wanted to disappoint. She’d thought it slightly bizarre that a guy who had so much money around him was fretting over a paltry 12K, but it was evident that he was minted and if that meant that she had to pretend to speak French, then she was bloody well going to pretend she could!
She nodded and smiled at him, looking down at her gel nails which desperately needed filling in and decided at that moment that she was going to do whatever it took to get this man.

Chapter Forty Four
Chapter Forty Six

1 comment:

Christy said...

As someone who lives in Australia, you make me want to move inland to be around those sexy drovers!