Monday, July 09, 2007

Chapter Fifty Six - The Ice Breaker?

I’ve just trudged home in the rain after a long, thin day. I feel like an overstretched elastic band, tight and ready to snap as I sidestepped the deluge of warped office parties - the women giggling in their ‘party’ office gear - which comprises usual office clothing but in velvet rather than cotton, accessorised with flashing xmas bauble earrings and felt antlers. They look ridiculous - but at least they’re laughing. Which is more than I’m doing. I feel so low that any sound of frivolity is bristling off of me like shards of glass. So imagine how hacked off I am to walk in through my front door and HEAR Jennifer before I see her. She’s on the phone, squeaking and squealing in hysterics.
“Oh Mam, I just CAN’T feckin’ wait. I’ve bought the most drop-dead-gorgeous dress too.”
I kick off my wet shoes and leave them upturned and discarded on the mat as I listen to the pause. It doesn’t last long,
“Noooo! I’ve no intention of upstaging the bride! Mam, as if I’d do that to you! Honestly!”
I close my eyes and blow my breath out as I stand there in the dark. She doesn’t know I’m home and I really wish I could ring Rob and ask if I can go over there. Only I can’t. Because he hates me. If Mum could SEE the slashed-to-the-navel and ripped-to-the-thigh red dress that Jennifer cajoled out of her rogue boyfriend, then she’d shirk at the notion of being upstaged. The fact is that Jennifer is hoping to have ALL the attention. End of.
“Oh Mam, wait till Sophie hears! You’re joking! They got married in Pasadena? Oh My God! And what about your plans for saying your vows on the beach in Malibu? Out the window still?”
I push open the door and want to giggle at the flat slapping sounds that my damp feet make on the wooden floor. I sense Jen frowning at me. It makes me smile a little as I go into the kitchen and pull open the fridge door. You know, she’s home here all afternoon and it’d be nice, just once, to walk in and find that she’d sorted some food. As I root around in the fridge the acrid smell of lemon pinches at my nostrils and it makes me think of when I first met Ade and he bought me the lemon muffin from Starbucks. He’d really intrigued me and I’d fallen for him in a far bigger way than I even admitted to myself. Which made the fall twice as far and doubly painful too. It’s funny, because I saw him at lunchtime, chatting to Ellie on reception and it was as if I truly saw him for the first time without the rose-coloured glasses. He just looked like a good looking city boy who flirts with everyone. It felt good, being able to smile and say ‘hi’ to both of them as I walked past and I was secretly pleased that there were no pangs of lust or loss. It made the day easier, knowing that he’s going to be my first Sophie Dilemma. It won’t be so painful now, knowing that I have no feelings for him. Looking at is positively it might make the first one easier too - that he’s not a complete stranger and there’s no worry that I’m not going to know what to say to him. Delaney told me today that there’s going to be 4 guys on 4 dates and there’ll be the last 2 weeks of work before we split for Christmas. She’s told me that the first date is confirmed to be with Ade, a humorous seasonal coupling in collaboration with Geezer magazine, and it’s going to be a night ice-skating on one of the open air Christmas rinks, followed by hot chocolate and muffins in the 24-hour cafe in the park. Sounds like it could be fun. IF it was with somebody other than Ade. Somebody like Rob, for example. Then there’ll be another date later that week, with another 2 in the following week - the last one is going to be the day before Jen and I fly out to L.A. Which makes me sad. Especially when I think about how I’d jumped the gun and dreamed about Rob coming out there with me. Maybe it’ll do me good to get away for a while. I can recharge my emotional batteries and bolster myself to get through the next 12 weeks wearing the crown of Staying Single.
Jen is still on the phone and I can’t bear being dragged into the conversation so I open a tub of cottage cheese and pineapple and fork out huge mounds, as I hold a pen in my other hand and begin to write my Christmas edition of Relationship Rehab.

Chapter Fifty Five
Chapter Fifty Seven

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