Wednesday, December 28, 2005
It's all going on chez Sara.
Here I am. It's Christmas, and I'm clean and sober for the first time in years. This is not to say that I've given up the booze as well as everything else, it's just, like, everything in moderation, you know? Kind of a scary thing for me.
Most of the Christmasses I've experienced over the past ten years have been spent in a haze of alcohol, starting with champagne for breakfast, moving on to wine at lunch and a naughty vodka or six before dinner. Last year, if I recall correctly (and my powers of recall are certainly not that reliable) was the year that Helen and I shrugged off our families and had Christmas together; we started with a line of coke each for breakfast and the day deteriorated from there.
So this year has been a bit of a shocker. Just Mum and I in our echoey old house, all glammed up and nowhere to go - my mother being a bit of a stickler for formal dress (her idea of casual is a heel lower than three inches). Turkey for two is a difficult act to pull off at the best of times and resulted in a fist-clenching, gritted teeth show of forced cheer. But we got through the day without killing each other, something I never would have thought possible.
No word from my father and the Ice Queen. I guess they wouldn't want to interrupt their month-long holiday in the Far East to lick a stamp and slap it on an envelope. Oh well, whatever. Merry Christmas, you old bastard.
I spent today being elbowed viciously by the hordes of desperate bargain hunters rooting around the sales racks in Selfridges, in the vain hope of finding something drop-dead sassy for New Year's Eve. Forget it. It's the same thing every year, and every year I neglect to remember all these garments are cut-price for a reason - that nobody else considered them hot enough to pay the full price before Christmas.
I'm seeing in the New Year with James. I'm a bit nervous about it considering that his friends are, on the whole, a bunch of gormless twats. However, it's either that or spend New Year in an orgy of narcotic excess with my friends - not a good idea considering the pain I went through last month to detox myself after years of enthusiastic abuse. So James and I will be swanking around some crumbling country pile for a sit down dinner and God knows what else. And I have to survive the whole thing without the comforting fog of being utterly shit-faced. This promises to be a true test of my resolve.
Wish me luck!
Friday, December 23, 2005
I've moved into the new flat, which despite being the size of a postage stamp and next door to a guy who enjoys top-volume Dire Straits first thing in the morning, it's kind of great. I miss Helen though. You get used to someone being around all the time, and although we see each other and talk on the phone a lot, it's not the same. Plus I can't scrounge a ciggie from her when I'm too lazy to go to the corner shop to top up my supplies.
And as for James... it was a little awkward at first but we sorted stuff out, up to a point anyway, and I think he's turned into my boyfriend. It's weird and scary to be in what could be termed as a relationship - I keep getting freak-outs that he's going to start suggesting Sunday afternoon trips to B&Q to look at paint charts - but I've resolved to take it as it comes. We'll see what happens.
I'm spending Christmas with my mother, oh joy, followed by major New Year's Eve party action.
I'll try to post again soon, in much more detail.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and looking forward to a new and shiny 2006.
Monday, December 12, 2005
I will be around over the next couple of weeks but unfortunately my broadband isn't due to be connected until 21st December so posts will be sporadic until then.
And as for James? Let's just say that it's looking brighter. A full update will be forthcoming, I promise.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I was away for a bit longer than I originally intended but it's taken me a bit longer than I thought it would to sort myself out to the point that I feel human again. I think I'm almost there.
It's been an emotional whirly-gig of (almost) a month. So much has been going on in my head that I couldn't describe it here, not without sending you all to sleep. So here's the abbreviated version: a month of hurdles and facing up to some unpleasant facts about myself; a month of re-evaluating this skewed blueprint for life that I seem to have developed over the years; a month to realise that I have wasted a lot of time, hiding from everything and anything and anyone likely to cause me pain, or likely to force me to do anything but coast. I've come to the conclusion that my lifestyle is not big, nor is it clever, and there have been some changes.
First of all, I've stopped taking drugs. Not an easy process and it's left me feeling quite ill - which is partly why I've stayed away for so long. The withdrawal process, even for someone who couldn't really be classified as a serious addict, has been unsettling - emotionally and physically. I won't go into the gory details but let's just say it hasn't been pretty. Since I hoovered up my hopefully last-ever line, I've been suffering from a permanent cold and extreme fatigue, which tells me my immune system is totally up shit creek. Funny, isn't it, how an unhealthy lifestyle only really hits home once you've given the stuff up? I'm popping multi-vits like crazy and keeping my fingers crossed.
Secondly, Helen and I are moving out of our semi-squat on Wednesday. Our landlord finally gave in to a lucrative offer from a property developer and we're out. So Helen is moving in with Karen and I've found a studio in Earl's Court. I'm really sad about it because I'm going to miss Helen badly - we've lived together for years -but she is a major stoner and my partner in all kind of crimes and misdemeanors, so it's probably for the best. My self-control only goes so far.
And James... well, that's a whole other story. I'm seeing him tomorrow for the first time in a long time, so you (and I) will just have to wait and see...
Thank you for all your comments while I've been away - it's meant a lot that you guys have been out there wishing me well...
Sunday, November 13, 2005
My life is a fucking mess, and I'm a fucking mess, and something has to change.
I've been coasting on empty for so long I think I've forgotten what it's like to live, to really truly live, to grab every moment as it comes and to experience, to really experience, to open my arms out wide, to open my heart, rather than hiding behind that oh-so-effective protective layer of mine that keeps me safe but doesn't let much through. I need to pull myself off my hamster wheel, dissolve my comfort zone and let myself feel, properly feel, probably for the first time since Sam broke me.
I need to let myself heal. I need to really look at myself, to meet my eyes in the mirror and not be afraid to look into the depths. I need to learn to like what I see.
And I know I need to stop the drugs and all the other excesses I indulge in to keep myself emotionally numb.
I'll be back when I've managed to make a dent in that Teflon hide of mine.
In the meantime, I found a poem today which I wrote after Sam left all those years ago. I'm not sure it's particularly good but it probably says quite a lot about me, so I thought I'd share it. What does make me laugh a bit is that when I wrote it I obviously imagined myself to have achieved some kind of high-powered business-type job by the year 2005. I guess my life hasn't quite turned out like I imagined all those years ago...
Alternative Vistas: 2005
It is your eyes I see when I close mine
and pull you out of the dark recesses
of my mind at the end of each long day.
Finally relaxed, shards of light slanting
through the blinds on to the bed, I lie back,
shedding suit, briefcase, reams of paper,
smart shoes; my uniform, my armour,
guarding raw flesh, smothering me,
saving me from harsh real world life, forty-five
to fifty hours of every working week.
When I smell you on strange passing skin, you
leap out of the cubby hole constructed
for sometimes longed-for long-gone lovers.
The soundtrack of my life swells with
bitter-sweet thoughts of could-have-been.
I walk to work, city smells surrounding
my fragile frame; my mind filled
with alternative vistas and the look
in your eyes when you realise that you
could, possibly, might well have, loved me.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Ok. So maybe, just maybe I've been a little stubborn. Maybe I am a bit pig-headed. Maybe I am somewhat unforgiving.
As some of you have pointed out, maybe I need to look at recent events from James' point of view.
But you know, I hate the fact that James was so bloody mean about my friends. Life has taught me that men come and go but your friends are always there for you, to help pick you up, dust you off and set you back on your feet - whenever you lose your balance. I love my friends, and they love me, and I do not like anyone, even a sexy washboard-stomached naughty-eyed sex-god, saying that they are a bunch of losers.
Yes, I realise that maybe James hasn't had the best of times in my company over the past couple of weekends. Yes, I realise that being punched by the idiot boyfriend of one of my best friends is likely to have put a downer on his evening, but... still...
So I sat down for a bit and stared at the infamous shag-pile, and came up with a list of pros and cons.
The Case For James:
- he's indecently sexy
- he's scarily intelligent
- he makes me laugh, a lot
- there's an incredible physical connection between us
- I'm (usually) comfortable in his presence; being with him feels very natural
- there's something about him that I find fascinating
- he's a great kisser... and the rest...
- did I mention that he's indecently sexy?
The Case Against James:
- I'm starting to think that maybe he's a bit of a snob and overly concerned with appearances
- he is capable of sulking, big time, which is not terribly attractive in a man
- in many ways, we couldn't be more different, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing
- his friends suck (but then again, it seems that he thinks my friends suck too)
- I have a feeling that there may be more negatives yet to emerge
Don't want to call him, but also not sure if I'm ready for it to be over yet...
Why does it always have to get complicated? I really should just stick to one-night-stands; all the physical fun and none of the emotional bullshit. Much more manageable.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Then James goes, Sara, what are you doing hanging around with those people? I'm like, what do you mean by that? And he goes, well, you know, they're kind of, well, a bunch of losers. I say, hang on a minute, James, that's incredibly rude. And anyway, it's not like your friends are so fucking great, is it?
We sort of glare at each other and I'm sure more unpleasant words would have been exchanged if the cab hadn't chosen that moment to pull up outside my front door. I flounce out of the cab, chuck some money at the driver and start the usual long search for my house keys.
I live in quite a nice area; green and leafy, and like most of London, it's being overrun by property developers with pound signs in their eyes. However, our house is the black sheep of the street. Like a once glamorous movie star past her prime, our house stands firm in its resistance to the 21st Century home-improvement madness. The weed-festooned front garden alone signals a heartfelt fuck-you defiance to the Farrow & Ball colour palette and Zen gravel arrangement of next door. And it's not much better inside. Helen and I could hardly be described as house proud.
I open the door and usher James in. It's like I'm seeing the place for the first time. The green shag pile carpet looks even shabbier than usual, set off nicely by the drift of junk mail Helen and I always talk about clearing away but never get any further than kicking into the corner. The bare lightbulb (the lampshade went missing after one of our wilder parties, we meant to replace it, but...) highlights the peeling anaglypta on the walls. The sitting room sofa is one of those nasty Dralon affairs. There is a patch of damp on the wall next to the bay window. The curtains sag.
Yeah. It's a dump.
I can tell that James is less than impressed, although I'm not sure that the pained expression on his face is down to my lack of des res or his rapidly swelling jaw. I sit him down and decide that the only option is to anaethetise him with vodka. Even if it doesn't numb the pain, at the very least it might cheer him up.
Bad idea. James gets even moodier.
Eventually I reach the point where I've had enough - I am in no way a glutton for punishment - and offer to call him a minicab. He accepts without any hesitation, and the silence while we wait for it to show up is acute. James practically leaps up when we hear the toot of a car horn outside - showing an insulting level of haste in my opinion - plants a passionless kiss on my lips and throws an, I'll call you, over his shoulder as he races out of the door.
In my experience, that can mean only one thing: Game Over.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
I took James along to Nadia's party last night. I was feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of introducing him to my friends; James is so different to my usual type that I had no idea how they would react. My usual type is creative, unconventional, radical, with a definite edge - the total opposite to James. So I was working on the assumption that he might come as a bit of a surprise.
By the time we get to Nadia's flat - she lives in this really cool factory conversion in Wandsworth - the party's been in full swing for a couple of hours. All the usual suspects are there and they're all very well lubricated. It's like the Fall of the Roman Empire with Ikea furniture. I find Nadia, give her a kiss hello and introduce James. She looks him up and down, gives me a wink and goes, very nice. Where did you find this one then? I'm like, oh you know, just another conquest from The Club. You know I like to keep the punters happy. James gives me a look. I look back, smile and say, James, I'm joking. Sometimes I don't think he quite gets my sense of humour.
By this point, the rest of the posse figure out that we're here and within minutes we're surrounded. All my friends have heard about James, with varying degrees of detail, so naturally they all want to take a look at him. It all starts off well. My friends behave themselves, refrain from dropping any major clangers and the piss-taking is mild. The girls are drooling over him, James is loving the attention and on a total charm offensive, and even Joe and Paul are more friendly than they usually are to any of my men (they're kind of over-protective and extremely suspicious of any new testosterone invading their patch). So I'm happy, relaxed and knocking the wine back like it's going out of fashion.
Then Dave, Evie's other half, rocks up. I like Dave but when he's drunk he's unbearable; a fully paid-up member of the Angry Pisshead Club. And Dave is totally hammered tonight. As usual, he launches straight into his favorite subject, football, directing a slurred, Who do you support, mate? at James. James goes, Chelsea. Who else? Dave, a lifelong Arsenal fan, goes ballistic. I won't go into the details, suffice it to say that James gets all pinched around the mouth and starts frowning, there's a fair bit of swearing, aspersions are cast as to Frank Lampard's sexuality, to which James' rejoinder is that Thierry Henri couldn't kick his way out of a paper bag. Dave loses it and throws a punch that lands right on James' jaw.
I mean, for fuck's sake! What is it with men and football?
As you can imagine, being physically assaulted totally kills James' party spirit, and since Evie has dragged Dave home for a major bollocking he can't even get his revenge. So I call a minicab and take James back to my place.
And that's when it all started to really go wrong.
I'm too knackered right now to write any more so I'm off to veg in front of the telly. More tomorrow.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Oh yes, and I took all your advice and played hardball with the texting thing - I simply refused to respond. It took two days for James to crack but now he seems to have the hang of this calling and talking thing. Much nicer. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I also seem to found myself another job. In addition to working behind the bar at night, I've been talked into helping out in The Club promotional office during the day - yes, it makes my soul rebel to even say the word 'office' but now and then the promise of a fistful of filthy lucre is a great persuader - so I'm finally feeling reasonably solvent, an unusual state of affairs for me.
There's a party happening tonight and I'm taking James along. I have a slightly unsettled feeling about James meeting my friends but what the hell... let's see what happens.
|You fit in with:|
Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live. Humanists do not generally believe in an afterlife, and therefore, are committed to making the world a better place for themselves and future generations.
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com
Thursday, November 03, 2005
OK, I confess. This pic was not taken specifically for HNT so it is kind of cheating. But my digital camera is on the blink so it's either this or nothing...
I like this picture because it reminds me of how much I love Thailand. It was taken on Ao Nang beach (near Krabi) early one morning after watching the sun rise. Good times.
I don't think that beach exists any more - the whole of the Krabi coastline was badly hit by the Tsunami.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
For some inexplicable reason I decided to tidy my room this morning. Actually, it's not that inexplicable. The flash point came when I couldn't locate one matching pair of shoes - and I have lots of shoes. Even I can't cope with that level of utter chaos.
Here is a list of things I found under my bed:
One pair of Calvin Klein boxers (scarily last century - and I have no recollection of their owner, even more scary)
One pack of Rizla
Two (empty) boxes of Durex Fetherlight
Four ripped up tube tickets
One set of furry pink handcuffs
One concert ticket - The Pixies, 1st September at Ally Pally, London (it was GREAT)
One g-string, pink, with ribbon ties
One slightly grey sports bra
One (empty) bottle of Bollinger
One (empty) bottle of Jack Daniels
One (empty) bottle of Absolut
One (almost empty) bottle of Vittel
One copy of Scarlet magazine
One copy of Vogue
One copy of Penthouse (I swear, I have NEVER seen it before)
One half-eaten Walnut Whip
My favorite pair of Earl jeans
One black stocking, slightly laddered
One dog-eared copy of Mil Millington's 'A Certain Chemistry'
One bottle of massage oil
One blonde wig
I'm not sure what this says about my life, except that I'm a lazy cow who never does any housework.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror for half an hour this morning. Trying to find myself. Trying to meet my own eyes.
I'm not sure I like what I see.
Text from James this morning: THNKNG OF U. J XOXOXO
You'd think James would have realised I'm a bad investment by now. Remind me not to put any share portfolio I might have in the future in his hands. He's obviously not very good at his job.
Helen is taking me shopping. The purchase of new shoes is the only effective cure for the comedown blues.
Monday, October 31, 2005
I also feel like a bit of an idiot.
James was lovely on Sunday morning, especially considering that he was probably expecting a night of torrid sex and all he got was a frozen physical wreck who wasn't up for anything more than a cuddle. I mean, let's face it, you treat a girl to a swanky hotel in the hope of a supremely dirty weekend, she talks you into dropping your first e and then she freaks out. Not the best scenario, is it? If I were him, I would probably never talk to me again.
But James was Mr Super Considerate. I really can't figure him out. Took me home early on Sunday morning as requested, helped me into the house (yes, I was that fragile), looked me deep in the eyes, and told me that if I needed him to just call and he'd be over like a shot. Then he kissed me gently and took off.
All this perfection - it's almost too much for me.
God, I'm a cow, aren't I?
Sunday, October 30, 2005
James picked me up yesterday in his ancient rustbucket (apparently it's a classic - an Alpha Romeo GT something - all I know is that it smells of damp dog, the heating doesn't work, and there's an annoying leak located directly above the passenger seat) and whisked me off, as promised, to a secret location in Sussex.
I was expecting a Bed & Breakfast in the finest British tradition - the kind of place done out exclusively in man-made fibres and melamine, presided over by a grim-faced blowsy bottle-blonde with American-tan clad cankles. I was wrong. We turn off the main road down a long gravel driveway and park up in front of a beautiful manor house, its old stone walls covered with creepers. James grins at me, what do you think? I'm like, well, yeah, I guess it'll have to do.
A gaggle of liveried flunkies compete to wrestle the tatty overnight bag from my hand and we're whisked off to a room the size of your average London flat. I love hotels and I doubt that I've ever stayed anywhere quite as nice as this; as soon as we're left alone I race around like an over-excited puppy while James sits on the edge of the four-poster bed, watching me with what can only be described as amusement. A tin full of home-baked biscuits! Chocolates! Two sofas! A desk! A decanter of port! A hand-written note from the manager! Flowers! A basket of fruit! Big squishy towels! A balcony! I'm in hotel heaven. I turn to James and smile, OK. I'll admit it, I'm impressed. He smiles back, that was the intention.
We order drinks from room service and sit out on the balcony. The hotel garden is massive, stretching out as far as the eye can see. I sigh happily and decide that if Helen and I ever get evicted from our almost-squat we'll be relocating to the South Lodge Hotel.
So, James goes, what's this surprise you mentioned? I can tell from the anticipation in his eyes that he's hoping it'll be some sort of sexual kick. I'll go get it, I say, don't go anywhere. I head back into the room, quickly find what I'm looking for and go back outside. Close your eyes, I say, and give me your hand. James does as he's told - I do like an obedient man - and I place the surprise on his outstretched palm. OK, I say, you can look now. James opens his eyes, sees the two white pills and goes, Sara, what the fuck are these? I go, isn't it obvious? James goes, yes and that's what's freaking me out.
Last time James and I went out the conversation turned to drugs. It seems that James is a bit of an innocent - beyond experimenting with mushrooms at boarding school and a few lines of coke here and there, he's barely done anything. However, I got the distinct sense that he's more than a bit curious.
I'm like, oh come on James, don't get all coy with me. You seemed very interested in the whole e thing the other night. And what could be a better setting than this? I gesture around the room. I'll take care of you. Plus, I have a cast-iron guarantee that these are top-quality pills. He looks uncertain until I say, and anyway, shagging on e has to be experienced to be believed. I wink, trust me, it'll be a positive experience. I obviously choose the right tactic because five seconds later James has swallowed his pill. I do the same, order more drinks, and sit back and wait. I haven't taken a pill for a while so I'm quite looking forward to it.
Coming up while drinking vodka and ginger ale and enjoying the rolling green of the South Downs is a surprisingly calming experience. I savour the usual pinpricks, the tingling that starts at the base of my skull, spreading warm and tender, then warmer still. I turn to James, can you feel that? He looks uncertain, I think so...he rubs his neck, maybe. It's taking a long time, longer than usual. I'm starting to think that maybe I'll be having words with Marty The Dealer when I get back to London, no way is he getting away with selling me substandard goodies, when it hits me like a truck.
My ears register a long-drawn-out moan. It comes from me from deep inside me the moan of a child in pain cold air squeezing my skin... unbearablepressure... waveafterwaveafterwave crashing crashing... hits a spot in the deepest centre of my brain...won'tstopwon'tstopwon'tstop... sick... sick...sick to the core...got to lie down... too much green too much sky too much space it hurts to look at all that space i have got to get inside lie down wrap myself in duvet hide... feetlegsarmsbodywon'tmove .. stucktomychairgottomovecan'tbeartostayhere.. toomuchspacetoomuchairtoocold.. ithurtsithurtsithurtsohgodithurts .. ihavetoliedownwhywontmyfuckingbodylistentome? I have to fucking well lie down...nownownownownow
a lull in the pressure, in the fucking awful thing pressing down on me freezing me numbing me with painpainpaintoomuchtoomuchpain.... and I drop from the chair on all fours across the carpet sinking into the carpet my hands are dissapearing into this fucking shag-pile luxurious blood-red hotel carpet have to keep going across this widewidewide pool of blood swimming wading keepgoingkeepgoing pull hands out keepgoingtheefforttheeffort arms so heavy legs so big so heavy and i get to the bed pull myself up one big surge of effort never knew i had it in me god this is sososososososo hard and im on the bed the softest bed ever to cradle my body under the duvet so warm im shaking juddering a fucking power drill in my spine splintering driving fleshandbone and dark warm dark warm...safe safe safe its ok im safe icanbreathe i can breathe
What could be an hour or five minutes later - I don't know, time has gone to a place unrelated to any part of me - my brain slowly starts to settle back into my skull and I register the feeling of foreign skin pressed up against my back, strong arms holding me tight, warm breath steady on my neck. I stir, feeling my way. James' voice whispers in my ear, Sara, are you alright? I whisper back, yes. He says, I was really worried about you, you freaked. Are you sure you're alright? Yes, I say. I'm fine now. Didn't you feel it? That was the strongest pill I've ever taken. He says, I felt it. It was fine, nice. But I kind of put a downer on your high? I ask. You could say that, he replies. And then he squeezes me gently and it feels like the best thing in the world. Safer than I've ever felt. James and I are so close it feels as if we're sharing the same skin. He kisses me gently but I'm washed up, wrung out, exhausted. All I'm good for is lying curled up in that soft, soft bed, James against me, contact from head to foot, just feeling, sensing, listening, a sponge, absorbing, no energy to respond.
I think that might be the last pill I'm ever going to take.
What a waste of a four-poster bed.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
We walk down the Tottenham Court Road before we turn into Soho. The streets are filthy, littered with boxes and cans from the kebab shops up the road. Every other shop doorway serves as a shelter for the homeless, buried in makeshift nests of cardboard and tattered blankets. Hollow eyes peer out of the dark as we pass the discount bookshop, an expressionless voice asks for some change. As always, I try to meet the eyes with mine before I say, no sorry, before I walk on. Being ignored, steps quickening, faces averting, being refused any kind of acknowledgement because you lack the security of bricks and mortar, that must be the most painful cut. I might not be able to give everyone money - I try to limit it to a daily delivery of sandwiches for Billy who lives in the doorway of the Empire, and buying the Big Issue from my local seller - but at least I can give acknowledgement. And sometimes I think that feeds the soul more than a pound coin ever could.
Our drinking club is not exactly legit; the fact that it doesn't announce its presence to passers-by can make it hard to find. All the doorways in this (seedier) part of Soho look the same; dented and rusty metal, smelling of piss, neglected, unmemorable, anonymous, without name or number. As usual, we ring the bell and a hatch slides open to reveal a pair of suspicious eyes. Our faces pass muster and the door swings open. We squeeze past the bouncer, a granite-faced boulder of a man, into a narrow corridor and head up the stairs.
Except for the blacked-out windows, it looks like the worst kind of student sitting room. Tatty old sofas, vinyl armchairs and chipped formica tables jostle for space. A makeshift bar, built by someone with only a passing acquaintance with D.I.Y. runs the length of the room, topped with bottles of rum and whisky and a couple of plastic cool boxes filled with beer. It’s not the sort of drinking establishment that has Apple Martinis on the cocktail menu, but as usual, the place is packed.
The first time I came here I was scared shitless. A lot of the punters wouldn't look out of place in a police line up and there is a distinct odour of menace in the air. Ready rolled spliffs are sold from a box behind the bar, useful for those nights when you’re so mashed you can’t speak let alone skin up anything thinner than a retro-sized tampon. And if you fancy a line nobody bats an eyelid if you chop it out and snort it up straight from the table. The only thing they don’t like is the really hard stuff. Not a problem for me. I have some limits.
We grab a table and send Danny over to get the drinks in. Suze is like, I so need a drink. Five auditions this week and nothing to show for it except a bruised ego. And to make it even worse, Ty dumped me. Suze has been going out with Ty for as long as I’ve known her so this is big news. I go, what happened this time? Hoping that my pleasure won’t show on my face - Ty is one of the biggest arseholes I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. Suze goes, he’s been fucking some tart who, he says, makes me look like an amateur. She sneers, although frankly, I find that hard to believe - it's not like I've ever heard him complaining when he's got his cock in my mouth. Suze's words are hard but her eyes are wet. It hurts me to see her like this. It hurts me to see anyone like this. I put my hand on her arm, are you alright Suze? She's like, what do you think? Of course I'm not fucking all right. She shrugs me off, oh fuck it, he'll be back. He always comes back. He always comes back when the thrill of fresh pussy wears off. She smiles but it's hollow, shrugs, like, you know, whatever.
It really pisses me off, the way Ty treats Suze. And I’m even more pissed off at her that she lets him get away with it. Every time he comes back, tail between his legs, full of self-pity, excuses, protestations, and there’s Suze - welcoming arms wide open, so fucking grateful to have him back that she’ll forgive him anything, wipe the slate clean, present herself to him like a gift when what he really needs is a push in the direction of the door. It’s way past pathetic. All that love stuff, it sucks out your brain and leaves a vacuum instead. Whatever happened to self-respect?
I'm so glad I'm out of that game. I am so, so glad.
I don't stay at the club for long that night. I guess I've kind of lost my appetite for it.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
He's been texting me every day, which is kind of nice, but also a bit of a cop-out as you don't have to say much, you can't say much, via SMS. But today James sent me a text saying that he wants to take me away this weekend - to a hotel in Sussex. I guess I'll be swapping some shifts with Suze because that's an offer a girl just can't refuse.
But I'm also planning a little surprise for him...
Wait and see.
Suze, Danny and I are the regular barstaff and ancient in terms of the usual job longevity - I've worked here for almost two years, Suze for coming up to three years, and Danny for ten months. The rest of the bar staff come and go so quickly it's barely worth the effort of remembering their names. Suze, Danny and I get on pretty well. I wouldn’t say that we’re best mates or anything but we’re united by our wish to witness the total humiliation and downfall of The Fat Bastard. So far, it's proven to be a superglue bond.
Suze is a wannabe actress who'd shag her granny on live telly if she thought it would get her name up in lights. So far, fame has proven elusive; Suze spends her daylight hours at castings, lining up with everyone else like a herd of cattle on their way to the branding shed. She’s resigned to having world-weary eyes flicking over her for a split-second followed by a clipboard-brandishing casting agent telling her that she’s too old, too young, too short, too tall, too ugly, too attractive, too big-titted, too small-titted, or just plain not right for the part. It’s not quite the stuff dreams are made of but she’s working hard at it.
Danny is, well, he's just Danny. He's just another no-hoper without a dream to call his own, waiting, hoping, for the call to something, anything, better than this.
We're usually out of the club by 3.30am, unless Don, the owner of the joint, is having a lock-in. On the lock-in nights one of us stays behind to tend bar and keep the Don posse happy - it's not too bad, there's usually a couple of notes in it for us and a taxi home. But on the nights when Don is nowhere to be seen, and when we feel up to it, or need to chill in likeminded company, we head for a private member's club hidden in the back streets of Soho. Don't get me wrong, it's not along the lines of the Groucho. Our after hours drinking club is the kind that you don’t need an exclusive membership for; you just need to look like you’re not a copper. We don't go there that often, or at least, I don't anymore - my energy levels are running on empty more often than not these days. But Suze and Danny did manage to drag me there last week. I'll post about it later.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Another memory. I am small and sitting on a child sized chair. I have an orange in my hand and I am peeling it. My mother tells me not to swallow the pips or a tree will grow in my tummy. I wait until she leaves the room, swallow three pips in quick succession and wait in terrified anticipation for a tree to burst out of the top of my head. Nothing happens, so I eat the rest of the orange.
I am at school. I must be around five years old. My nose starts to bleed and I am sent to the sanitorium. The nurse sits me on a chair and gives me a tissue to hold to my nose. She tells me not to move. Then she leaves the room to go to the nurses' office. I can hear her talking loudly to the sanitorium sister. Time passes. I need a wee. I really need a wee, but I can't move, the nurse told me not to. I call out but she doesn't come. I wee myself. I sit there, crying, nose bleeding, watching as the wee pools under the chair and trickles out in thin lines across the linoleum. I listen to the loud conversation from the next room and wait for her to come back.
I am seven. There is something nasty under my bed. I have to jump from the far edge of the rug stretched by the side of my bed onto my duvet. It's a long way. If I trip or miss the edge of the bed it will grab my ankles and pull me underneath. My heart pounds, my cheeks burn, my head buzzes. I back up until I am level with the wardrobe, steel myself for the olympian effort I am about to undertake, then run, faster, faster, faster... edge of the rug, leap, feet leave the floor, I am flying, flying through the air, and land, thump, safely slap-bang on the centre of the duvet. The relief is immense. Then, careful that no part of my body even peeps over the edge of the bed, I squirm under the duvet and tuck it around every part of me. Then I stare at the curtains and tap my feet until I fall asleep.
I am ten. My parents have stopped speaking to each other. They talk through me instead. Breakfast is the worst time. My father asks me to pass the milk, which is next to my mother's elbow. My mother asks me to pass the sugar, which is in front of my father. My mother's eyes look blank. My father's eye twitches. I pass the things they ask me to pass and eat my breakfast quickly. Then I go upstairs to my room and wait until I hear the front door slam and my father's car spraying gravel in the driveway.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
- My mother is a suburban socialite, a vision in Jaegar, addicted to the application of Mr Sheen to her rosewood furniture, and a WI paragon. I am the source of her lifelong shame.
- My father is a cosmetic surgeon, the type who advertises in the back of glossy magazines; heroically dedicated to making female dreams of thinner thighs and bouncier breasts come true.
- Neither of them know this blog exists. I hope to hell that they never will.
- My parents got divorced when I was quite young.
- I got a pony to soften the blow of Daddy disappearing into a shag-happy sunset with a younger, blonder version of my mother, who, thanks to my father, sported bouncy tits and thinner thighs. It seemed like a good deal at the time.
- My father is the classic story of a middle-aged man growing old disgracefully. It's kind of shamful to be seen in public with him at times.
- And yes, I am embarrassed at being given an allowance by my daddy at the grand old age of twenty-seven, but sometimes a girl's moral high ground disintegrates at the prospect of a life without blow or new shoes.
Anyway, Lighterate recently asked why I've been cut off from the paternal purse strings, so here's the story.
My suddenly reduced cash-flow poses a big, big problem considering that the rent is due next week, Helen has about as many pennies to rub together as I have (so, not a lot), and there's this great big credit card bill sitting on my desk getting redder by the second. Whatever, I'll figure something out, but this is all the fault of my stepmother, aka The Bitch.
Since my parents got divorced my father has gone through women like I get through packs of Marlboro. The initial affair, the one that struck the hammer blow for my parents divorce, lasted all of five minutes and then he was on to the next. He has a particular type, my father, which he adheres to it like a religion. All the women kind of merge into one; blonde, botoxed, silicon from lips to tits and preferably very, very tall. For this reason he is particularly keen on Russian women, and since my father is kind of wealthy and enjoys flashing his cash about, Russian women are particularly keen on him.
Unsurprisingly, The Bitch is Russian. She has the flinty eyed gaze that comes from generations of her people freezing their asses off on the Steppes and the kind of haughty high-boned face that always looks bored. In my more twisted moments I imagine her eyes looking out from over my father's shoulder, him in the throes of passion, her dispassionately examining her manicure and fantasising - Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany, Bulgari, Cartier....mmmm. I don't know what he sees in her, apart from the fact that she is very, very beautiful. Actually, that is what he sees in her. I shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that my father is any less shallow than he initially appears to be; he's not.
So I go to meet my father for lunch at Daphne's, a long-standing tradition, partly introduced by the fact that The Bitch can't stand having me in their apartment for more than five minutes. The moment I catch sight of his face I know I'm in trouble. He's usually pretty jovial-looking but this time he has an unmistakeable set to his jaw. I pretend not to notice, smile brightly and drop a kiss on his slowly thinning head (he's about two seconds away from hair transplants). He's like, sit down Sara. Uh oh. I'm like, is something wrong? I desperately rack my brain for what he might have found out about; nothing comes up. As far as I'm aware he thinks I'm squeaky clean.
He pours me a glass of wine, then says, Iryna is very worried about you. I'm like, what? I mean, let's get real here - The Bitch would like nothing better than for me to dissappear into thin air, preferably extremely painfully and with no hope of return for a number of lifetimes. I'm way too much of a threat to her anticipated retirement fund. Yes, he says, Iryna is worried because a friend of hers saw you at Embassy last weekend and you were, how can I put this... inebriated on something other than alcohol.
I'm speechless. I haven't graced that place with my presence for ages, and anyway, how the hell did The Bitch find out about my little weakness? It must have been a stab in the dark that hit home; she may be borderline evil but, as demonstrated by her latest little stunt, she's certainly not stupid. She knows what will push my father's buttons. He may be engaged in the ridiculous and futile activity of chasing after his lost youth, but he is, and always has been, fervently anti-drugs. I guess it comes from repairing too many celebrity septums over the years.
Daddy, I say, trying to smile through gritted teeth, I don't know what you're talking about. Iryna is mistaken. I don't think so, Sara, he replies, Iryna says her friend saw you stagger out of the bathroom with - he delicately traces a moustache on his upper lip - a trace of white powder just here. She was quite specific about the details.
By this point I've lost my appetite, a shame since the food at Daphne's is usually something I look forward to. I knock back my glass of wine and make a last ditch attempt to regain parental favour. Daddy, I go, I haven't set foot in that particular club for a long time so I really don't think the accusation is grounded in reality.
My father narrows his eyes at me, are you trying to say that Iryna is lying? Why would she lie to me, Sara? I shrug, I'm sure she has her reasons. Big mistake. I forget that my father takes any slurs about The Bitch very, very personally; I don't know what kind of hold she has on him but I suspect a tight vice around the balls is involved. Sure enough, he throws his napkin down and hisses, look me in the eye and tell me that you have never taken cocaine.
There is a brief moment when I think that maybe I can pull it off. I look him straight in the eye, open my mouth to protest my innocence, and then my eyes fall away, I blush, and all that comes out is a stammer.
My father's face is pure thunder. His lips are tight as he shoots me a filthy look and says, I thought so. He stands up, pushes his chair back, gets his wallet out from his jacket pocket and throws a handful of notes onto the table. This, Sara, is the last you'll get from me until you've straightened yourself out. I've reached the end of the line with you. Then he walks out.
Fuck. Talk about hitting me where it hurts.
It upsets me so much that I cry a bit on the bus home. And jeez, I hate crying in public.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Heading through Portobello Market this morning, feeling rather chirpy and more than a bit shag happy, I walked past a music stall. The track blaring out of the stall's oversized speakers made me feel like dancing, so I bought the CD.
Helen and I have been shaking our booties to it all afternoon. It's seriously good although CD1 is more mellow than CD2 if you're not heavily into dance music. I thought I'd share it with you... click here for a preview.
We meet up at the Portobello Gold (yes, Notting Hill again, but hell, I was expecting a sleepover and there's no way I'm running the risk of taking him back to my place - to say it's a dive would be an understatement). The Gold is this laid-back pub/restaurant right on the Portobello Road - looks like a pub when you first walk in but there's a restaurant in the back with a glass roof and so much foliage it feels as if you're in a jungle. I'm liking it, and I'm liking being with James because damn, he is so hot. You know how sometimes you forget the finer details when there's been a few days of absence? Well, that's how it is for me and as soon as I lay eyes on James last night it hit me like a punch in the face; he is seriously good looking and there's something else about him as well, maybe in the way he stands, or his mannerisms, but just looking at him makes me feel a bit funny. Which is kind of odd as I'm pretty laid back when it comes to guys.
So we're standing around for a bit while the waitress pretends that she's really really busy, and James goes, oh fuck it, I know where our table is, let's go sit down otherwise we'll be here all night. I'm like, sure, lead the way. James smiles at me and points upwards. My eyes follow the direction of his finger, up a ladder, and there's a bloody treehouse up on stilts in the corner of the room. Yep, it turns out that there's a table in there, really low, with cushions for seats. They call it the 'hippie table'. How cool is that?
I love being surprised and I really love it when a guy makes an effort - not in the flowers and chocolates kind of way, too boring, but when a guy shows he's put some thought in, when he does something with the express intention of making me smile. And it worked; that smile stayed on my face right through two courses, pudding, and two bottles of Rioja.
Then James gets close to spoiling it all by saying, so Sara, tell me why you work in a club? I don't want to be rude or anything but it's not exactly a career is it? I'm like, no, I don't think you could describe it as that. And he says, so what's the big deal? Why don't you get a proper job?
I have had this conversation many times over the years and I still find it as unappealing as the first time. But since I'm hoping to get laid tonight I decide I have to play nice.
James, I go, the very thought of being confined in an office for the rest of forever makes me itch. I tried it once and I didn't like it. I did not like being a tiny cog in a huge wheel. I did not like being told, not asked- told - to make coffee for my lardy-arse boss and then criticised on my coffee making skills, like it really makes a fucking difference in the great scheme of things if I brewed the bloody stuff for one minute too long. I didn't like getting the wild eye from the office bitch if I turned up late. And I really didn't like the general attitude that I should be grateful for the 'opportunity' - as if shuffling paper and trying to type crappy letters about nothing much was some kind of vocation rather than a fast track to Hell on Earth.
James is like, oh. OK. I guess that pretty much explains it then. I go, I guess it does.
But he doesn't give up. Halfway through pudding, he goes, are you planning to still be working behind the bar when you're fifty? Or do you have a fallback plan? I'm like, what are you, my mother? Let's talk about you James, because I have to be honest with you, this line of conversation is starting to seriously bore me. And there's nothing I dislike more than being bored.
I guess I'm coming off as a bit of a bitch, but the job thing really bugs me, and other people's reaction to it really bugs me, like I'm some kind of loser because I'm not willing to trade my freedom and my brain function for the prospect of a gold watch and a kiss on the arse in thirty years time... anyway, whatever... it's a sore point, let's leave it at that.
Fortunately it doesn't seem that James is easily offended so we get back into flirting and subtle innuendo mode - much more enjoyable - and as I'd planned, we end up at his place.
James goes, want to come back for a coffee? And yes, there is a twinkle in his eye. I'm like, no thanks, I don't drink coffee. He looks a little downcast. I feel a brief stab of pity so I decide to stop screwing with him and add; but I'd love to come back to your place for sex - if that's also on offer.
It was. And afterwards (no, I'm not giving you the details you bunch of pervs; I'm sure you can figure it out for yourselves) we had a bath together, with red wine and a spliff, and he washed my hair. Excuse me for getting excited but this is, in my experience, a rare and beautiful thing. Having your hair washed by a naked man, properly, with your head slowly, oh so slowly massaged, along with the occasional nibble on your earlobe, is an amazing feeling. Sensual, gentle, and incredibly, incredibly sexy.
As I type this I can still smell James' shampoo in my hair.
I think I kind of like him.
Friday, October 21, 2005
The slinky dress is one of my favourites. It's a great dress; I can just throw it on and it always looks good, and it doesn't need ironing - a huge plus as I'm kind of lazy. And with the FMB's? I think that might be just about perfect...
I very rarely wear lipstick. This might sound a bit odd but I never quite look like me when I have lipstick on, which kind of freaks me out. A slick of gloss is about as far as I go. I have no idea what that says about me; low-maintenance? I don't know.
Perfume? It's has to be Chanel Coco Mademoiselle; warm and subtly sexy. I'm not keen on my perfume entering the room before I do.
My hair? That's a tricky one. It does one of either two things; up or down. And since I'm not very good at putting it up I think I'll wear it down tonight. I would love to be the kind of girl who can do things to her hair, it looks as if it would be a whole heap of girly fun, but like I said, I'm kind of lazy. Now and then, if I've got a spare half-hour and nothing else to do (which is rare, especially since I started this blog), I blow dry my hair straight but that's about the extent of it. Any tips?
Surviving Online Dating also said: What things do you do for just YOU? It doesn't involve men, dating etc. Do you have girlfriends or a best girl friend? I get the sense you prefer the company of men.What inspires you-as in feeling good about yourself, makes you like the world, your job etc? How about your favourite childhood memory? Or you could just write about breasts-those are always good :)
Things I do for me: long, long, long baths, book in one hand and glass of wine in the other. I've also been known to smoke in the bath, although it's not entirely to be recommended as a soggy roach is not a pleasant thing. I like to stay in the bath until my toes turn wrinkly and/or I drop my book into the water (both are inevitable).
My best girlfriend is Helen - see the September archives for more details. Helen is my soul mate and would be perfect for me, except that, unfortunately, I am not a lesbian (well, I guess I could describe myself as bi-curious but that's about it). So, yes, I prefer the company of men to women when it comes to shagging, but in terms of pure friendship most of my very good friends are female; and they're all clued-up, fiesty, intelligent, and exceptional women. However, I do have one close friend who is male - I've known him since we were fourteen and he was my first snog. According to him it was that experience that turned him gay, although I prefer to think that the real truth is that he never recovered from the heartbreak of me chucking him and moving on to Eddie Soames from class 4b. I have posted about most of my friends on this blog, but not for a while. It's all hiding in the archives!
As for inspiration? Well, my main problem is that I haven't found it yet. I've been looking for that Sara-shaped niche for a long time. I know it's out there, somewhere, and I just need to get off my lethargic butt and hunt it down.
I'll talk about childhood memories and breasts some other time... :-) Right now, there's a hot bath calling out my name.
Positronic asked - What are you wearing tonight?
That is a very good question, Pos, even if it makes you sound a bit metrosexual, and it's very topical since I have just been through my entire wardrobe trying to solve that dilemma. I'm suffering a bad case of choice paralysis (to steal a phrase from my one true intellectual love, Douglas Coupland).
So Pos, you decide. Here's the 'hot date' shortlist (bear in mind that I don't want to look as if I'm trying to hard):
- dark blue jeans, a sheer cap-sleeved top with a kind of ruching thing going on (sounds dodgy, looks great) and a kick-ass pair of heels
- a black wrap dress, kind of slinky, and a kick-ass pair of heels
- a denim skirt, top as above or a polo neck with a cut-out thing in the back, and a kick-ass pair of FMBs
But do guys really pay attention to clothes? Beyond checking out if a girl has a great butt? And you've got to remember that we're talking about the UK here... most guys don't have any interest in women's clothes (unless of course that's their own private peccadillo) beyond quite liking a woman in uniform (usually, and boringly, school girls and nurses, yawn).
Lighterate asked - Why did your father take away your allowance?
Because I am a very naughty girl. Well, no actually. It's more to do with my new stepmother. I'll expand on this over the weekend as I don't have time right now.
and WDKY asked - Would you consider a long weekend in Florence?
That would be lovely, thanks WDKY. Can James come too?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
There, that'll make you think twice before you hot-foot it off to your friendly neighbourhood dealer, now won't it?
He called me just as I was about to start work, not a good thing since I was already running late. Nothing would please The Fat Bastard more than an excuse to fire me, and since my dad has cut my allowance recently (that’s a whole other story) I really need that job at the moment.
So I’m standing on the Tottenham Court Road, trying to think of a way to hurry up this phone conversation because the minutes are ticking away, when James goes, my friends think you’re lovely, by the way. I’m like, huh? Say what?
I mean, get real. There is no way on this earth that his friends are seriously singing my praises. I don’t need a degree in psychotherapy to know that we didn’t exactly hit it off. But tactful is the way to go if I ever want to get laid again, and boy, I so want to be laid again by James; this guy has really got it going on. So I’m like, Oh, that’s nice.
But then I can’t help myself, I fucking hate hypocrisy. I blurt out, and what did Kate say, James? Because I don’t want to be funny here but I got the distinct impression that Kate didn’t find me lovely at all.
I can hear his brain whirring away at the other end of the line. Then he goes, hmmm, well, Kate is kind of possessive of me. It’s just how she is.
I’m like, so what did she say, James? Go on, I can take it.
There’s another silence. Then he goes, well… Oh OK. Kate said that I can’t go out with you because you’re too skinny and too quiet. So I suppose you’re right. Kate doesn’t think you’re lovely.
I laugh so hard I nearly choke. Then I say, I thought so.
Anyway, we’re going out again on Friday night. On one condition - none of his friends will be there.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
My day is ruined.
I just went to the corner shop to get my usual supply of smokes and the shopkeeper tried to palm me off with this dodgy silver packet instead of my usual Marlboro lights. I'm like, Benny, you know I smoke Marlboro Lights, what's with you today? Late night, was it? Benny goes, these are Marlboro Lights.
And sure enough, those sneaky buggers at Philip Morris have only gone and done a major rebrand without giving me adequate warning.
Doesn't customer loyalty mean anything these days?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
My first e.
Becca, my best friend at the time, was also my drug buddy. We started with cigarettes and cider at thirteen, graduated to spliff at fourteen, acid at fifteen, and then we were like, what next? We couldn't afford cocaine and heroin scared us, so it had to ecstasy.
So Becca and I go to the local nightclub (along with practically everyone from our year at school - there wasn't a huge amount of entertainment in the area where we grew up) buy a bottle of water each (a bow to the drug awareness posters of the time) and smiling slyly at each other, neck our pills.
Standing on the edge of the dancefloor, we wait to come up. Becca goes, do you feel anything yet? I shake my head, no.
Then we start to feel it. An almost imperceptible fraction of warmth running through my neck. A shiver up my spine. A prickle swirling around my scalp. A looseness to my limbs. A trickle in the stomach. And then... intensifying, gathering strength, knees buckle, golden syrup pours through my veins, jack-knife of molten something rips through my head, spine spasms, neck melts, eyes refracting, tiny bubbles of joy zipping up from my toes to my groin to my face to my... FUCKINGfuckfuckohmygodfuckingHELL ... and the tide recedes, leaving me gasping, trembling, warm to the core, amazed.
Becca and I stare at each other, mouths open with pleasurable shock, then we laugh, jump up and down, scream, and tumble onto the dancefloor. The rest of the night passes in a blur of colour and bliss and love and pure fucking delight at being alive in this very moment and living and feeling and touching and the astounding delicious delightful sensation of experiencing everything as if for the first time.
I've had many e's since, some good, some bad. I've seen fur growing from the walls, sunsets at midnight, rainbows in the bath, heard a dog say hello, had blackouts, hallucinations, out of body experiences and seen the devil in the eyes of a friend.
But none have ever got close to that first time.
Monday, October 17, 2005
I got seriously sidetracked by the pub yesterday afternoon so by by the time I get to the King's Road and manage to find the flat where this bloody dinner party is taking place, I'm unfashionably late, mildly hammered and feeling more than a bit harrassed. And I'm also unsettled from thinking about Sam. Not a great start to the evening.
I ring the doorbell and James answers, looking very pleased to see me which makes me feel better for all of two seconds before I'm led into the kitchen for the Big Introduction. James goes, everyone, I'd like you to meet Sara. A sea of curious faces look up and there's a murmer of, hi. Then James thrusts a glass into my hand and disappears, leaving me next to this enormous rugger-bugger type with a neck like a bull and a face like a beacon.
Ollie-the-rugger-bugger spends the first five minutes laughing heartily at his own jokes - which, by the way, are about as amusing as a Brazillian wax - and gives me a blow by blow account of his latest rugby team triumph. Yawn. Then he asks me what I do for a living. I'm a barmaid, I say, in a West-End club. He's silent for a moment, a blessed relief, and then goes, har har har! He turns to Sophie (who, it transpires, has the misfortune of being married to this buffoon) and bellows, hey Soph, did you hear that? Sara says she works in a nightclub! Har har har. I'm like, yes so what? He goes, what? really? You're not joking? I go, no I'm not joking. And he goes, oh.
By the time dinner is served I'm already ready to go home. James pulls me into the chair next to his, thank God. On the other side of me is Kate. I sense immediately that Kate does not like me. She makes a point of speaking over my head to James, cutting me off when I try to get involved in the conversation. I notice that when she speaks to James, she smiles. She doesn't smile at me. Fuck her, I think, and leave her to her issues. I'm not getting into this. So I sit, drink, try to eat, and occasionaly tune in to the rest of the conversation.
At one point, noticing that I'm playing with my food rather than wolfing it down, Kate goes, no wonder you're so skinny. Don't you ever eat? Then she looks down at her chest, squishes her tits together and adds, James likes a woman with curves. Bats her eyelids, coos, don't you James? I just smile politely, while imagining how much fun it would be to feed her, bit by tiny bit, into the waste disposal unit.
I try to engage Penny, who's sat opposite me, in conversation about a book I'm reading, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. She looks at me blankly and goes, oh I haven't heard of that one. Then she shrugs, anyway, I only read books on holiday.
When Kate finally relinquishes her monopoly on James, he turns to me and says, quietly, are you OK, Sara? You seem kind of quiet. Huh, no kidding.
These people all know each other very, very well. It's a bit of a closed shop, a happy clique, and it's obvious that I am very much the outsider. I am different. And that makes them nervous. They don't quite know what to say to me and I don't quite know what to say to them. Their conversation, which seems to revolve around children, their work, holidays and other people they know, punctated by in-jokes, is incomprehensible to me.
What the fuck is James doing with this lot? Is there something that I'm missing here? Is it me? He's the same person that I've got to know over the past couple of weeks, saying the same things, behaving in the same way, but he - it- looks all wrong in this setting.
I leave after pudding and before coffee. Alone.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I used to walk our dog every morning before school. At this point I was going to a crammer in South Kensington since I'd been kicked out of the local high school the year before; I used to get up really early to make sure that Jack got a good run in before I had to leave to catch the train in to Central London. So Jack and I would head up to Richmond Park shortly after sunrise, the best time to be there - so few people around that that the fields belonged to us. It was something I looked forward to, even when it was raining, even when it was freezing cold.
Most mornings I would see the same guy jogging, following a similar route to Jack and I. A few weeks passed, by which time this guy and I had moved on from pretending not to notice each other, to nodding hello, to saying hello. One morning he stopped to catch his breath by the duck pond and Jack bounded over to him and stuck his muzzle in the guy's crotch. It was the perfect introduction.
Sam and I met up for a drink that night. I guess we connected in all the right ways because that night I ended up at his place - we stayed in bed for the next three days and by the time I left his flat I was totally in love with him. Madly in love. Crazy in love. The sort of infatuated headfuck all-encompassing love that it's only possible to feel at the age of seventeen, when tomorrow seems a long time in coming and a year fast forwarded might as well be another lifetime.
Sam and I stayed in our bubble for the next three years.
Sam graduated when I was nineteen, the year after I'd failed my A'Levels for the first time. He got a job and we moved in together, into a flat on the Holloway Road. All I wanted at that point was Sam. He was all I cared about, all I thought about, all I dreamed of. Nothing else mattered. That tiny flat made me feel safer than anything else ever had.
In hindsight, I was blind to anything that didn't fit the blueprint I'd etched out in my mind.
Three years after we met, something clicked out of place. He became distant, angry, irritated, tense, short in words, long in angry glances. He stopped meeting my eyes. He stopped holding my face when he kissed me. He stopped holding me at night in his sleep. Nothing I did made it better. Nothing I did brought Sam back.
I started to feel the cold.
The night everything dissolved, I should have been in Brighton. I was due to go down to visit a friend for the weekend but I cancelled at the last minute. Sam was acting weird and I wanted to be with him, decided that we needed to talk, thought maybe if I could just get him to talk then it would be OK, we could get back to where I wanted to be.
He didn't come home after work and I couldn't raise him on his mobile, but I just figured he was out drinking. So I waited, on the sofa, TV on, bottle of wine. Waited for him to come home. Waited for him to come home in the hope that I would see something in his eyes that I could cling onto, that I could pull that something out of, reignite, make things whole again.
Lying in bed still waiting for Sam to come home. Hear the key in the lock, the sound of stumbling, banging, something being knocked over in the hallway. I smile to myself; Sam's drunk. I get out of bed, stand in the open doorway, wait for Sam to come into the sitting room. He doesn't. I can still hear sounds in the hallway. I am about to step forward, to go see if he's alright. A girl tumbles through the door, laughing, her face turned towards Sam who's right behind her, pressing up against her, he's laughing too, looking at her. And then he puts his hands to her face, holds her face like he used to hold mine, and he kisses her, deeply, like he used to kiss me.
I start to shiver.
I start to feel more sick than I have ever felt.
They must have heard me, must have heard my fucking heart cracking, shattering, falling to the floor in a thousand million tiny pieces, because they turn, look straight at me. Sam's face goes white, mouth slack, still holding on to the girl. Hot red tears spilling up falling splashing down my face and as he meets my gaze all I can see is shock, anger, annoyance, and maybe possibly a hint of shame. All I can see is a black gaping hole where the love used to be.
I won't go into the long and tedious details of the fallout, recriminations, harsh words, spitting out blame like bullets, me moving out, the days weeks months I spent crying under my duvet, walking through the world out of step, a monochrome, joyless, numb fucking existence. I won't go through the details of how I found myself again, reclaimed myself, built myself up again brick by tiny brick, filled out my skin as Sara; Sara-separate-from-Sam. All I will say is that it took me a long time to feel normal again, and once I got back to that state I promised myself that would never never never never happen to me again. I would never allow myself to lose sight of who I am and who I want to be. I would never allow myself to be consumed by someone else, to the point that life wouldn't seem worth living when they decided to walk away.
But I still see his face when I close my eyes. I still sometimes smell him on strange passing skin. And it still makes my heart skip, despite myself, if I see an element of him, a walk, a word, a gesture, a look, in someone else.
That was really hard to write. I'm feeling kind of bummed out. But life goes on.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
This is my first meme...tagged by NYCpaganchick.
7 Things I Plan To Do:
1. Eat sushi in Japan
2. Crowd surf at a Pixies concert
3. Learn to fly a helicopter
4. Snowboard without bruising my arse
5. Find a job I enjoy that doesn't involve sitting in an office all day kissing butt
6. Find my groove
7. Grow up
7 Things I Can Do:
2. Roll the perfect spliff
3. Laugh wholeheartedly
4. Enjoy life
5. Ice skate
6. Play backgammon
7. Speak French
7 Things I Can't Do:
1. Play tennis
2. Tell people what they want to hear
3. Tell jokes
4. Keep a plant alive
5. Cry in public
6. Lie convincingly
7 Things That Scare Me:
1. Getting married
3. George Bush Jr
4. Global warming
5. Pain - emotional and physical
6. My mother
7. My monthly bank statement
7 Random Facts About Me:
1. I have double jointed fingers
2. I have never kissed a woman
3. The palms of my hands have so many lines on them that I once freaked a palm reader out (my hands have always been like that, since I was born)
4. Sometimes I eat cereal for dinner
5. I never wear the colour yellow
6. I have three scars
7. I hate mushy peas
7 Things I Say The Most:
2. Helen, can I borrow a fiver?
3. Thank you
4. I'm sorry, but...
5. 20 Marlboro Lights, please
6. Oh yeah, and a pack of red Rizla
7. Sorry I'm late
Apparently I now have to tag 7 people. I don't want to tag but I would be especially keen to read the answers of amourosity, Chav Mum, wdky, TJ, NewYorkMoments, Dr Marcus Khan and Network Chic to this meme.
She colourblind tired eyes
Her hallway aching
She’ll never move him - likes it that way
He’s just a walker and he’ll never stop walking away
It’s not too soon he said, it’s not too soon at all
You might as well be dead he said
If you’re afraid to fall, I said -, I know her
She said - why do you stare so hard
Wrapped up like a doll in bad dreams and broken arms
Make these old bones shiver
It’s not too soon he said, it’s not too soon at all
You might as well be dead he said
If you’re afraid to fall, I said - I know her
The last time I saw you, you were standing in the dark
And with a freezing face, I watched you fall apart
It’s not too soon he said, it’s not too soon at all
You might as well be dead he said
If you’re afraid to fall, I said,
Done your time, been in your place
I couldn’t look you in the face
And tell you that it turns me on
It makes my stomach turn
I know her
Friday, October 14, 2005
Due to various distractions, I haven't been able to get in my usual 'this is what I think of relationships' talk. Which is kind of dumb of me because I know from experience that if this conversation doesn't take place right at the start of something then I am in for a whole heap of trouble.
So when James called me last night I decided I had to dive right in there and tell him how it is and how it's got to be if he wants to hang out with me.
So I go, James, I’ve got to tell you. I don’t do relationships. Not in the conventional sense. He's like, what does that mean? I go, well, committment doesn't exactly figure big in my life. It's a no-go area for me. He's silent for a beat, then says, well, I'm not in the market for anything heavy but maybe you want to spell it out for me. Does this mean the other night was a one-off?Because I have to tell you, Sara, I hope that's not the case. I go, James, I would love to do that again. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that I don't stray into serious territory. My way of looking at it is that we have a good time, we enjoy what we each have to offer, and then when the fun fades we move on. No recriminations, no bullshit, and no emotional fallout. OK? James goes, do you have some specific timeframe in mind? I'm like, no, I'm not that organised. Then I say, I just can’t see the point of keeping something after the sell-by date expires. He laughs and says, who would?
But that's the thing. Lots of people do. Lots of people just keep on in there, thinking that anything is better than being alone, anything is better than having to go out there and find someone else who might turn out to be worse than what they have right now. My way of thinking is that it’s better to enjoy something while the spark lasts and then let it go, move on. At least this way you leave with good memories and good experiences.
I go, you're kidding me, right? Look around you. I can name at least five people in relationships who are doing exactly that. Personally, I don’t have the patience to wait for things to go sour.
He's like, pissy-voiced, so you don’t think that it’s worth hanging on and trying to sort it out? You judge it to be terminal, so you press the ejector seat button and bail out? I go, that's right. Maybe one day I’ll find someone so amazing that I’ll allow myself to wallow in vats overflowing with emotional angst but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t believe in fairytales. There's a long pause and then he says, no, nor do I.
Anyway, I'm not convinced that he entirely got it but it's been said, so at least he knows where he stands and won't start pestering me to go meet his mother or anything similarily hideously vile.
But he did talk me into going to some dinner party a friend of his is throwing on Sunday night. I'm not looking forward to it much as 1) I can't stand dinner parties and 2) James' mates sound like a bunch of twats. Oh well. The stuff you go through to get a shag, hey?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Do I have a prize for your landmark visit? Well, no... sorry. But you do have my undying gratitude and that's got to mean something, right?
It's a subject overripe for a heated debate.
Helen told me this morning that her new guy (from the party, remember? He's practically living at our house at the moment, much to my disgust) has a thing about pervy underwear. And I mean pervy underwear. If he has his way Helen will be spanking her student grant in Ann Summers and trussing herself up in the sort of outfit a bargain basement hooker would kill for. But then again, Helen's new guy is ex-public school so it's to be expected. As I told her, it's only a matter of time before he starts squeezing himself into his own peekaboo bra and crotchless thong.
Personally, I favour comfort; after all, there's nothing worse than being on the tube wearing knickers that threaten to cut off your circulation. Is there a polite way to tussle with your underwear in public? I don't think so.
I just called Karen to ask her opinion on the subject. Apparently, her last boyfriend liked her to keep her bra on during sex. I told her that she should take that as a personal insult.
What's the general consensus? Ladies AND gentlemen please... (and guys, do note that I said "gentlemen"...)
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Fun with Archives
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.
My result: Why? I'm not entirely sure.
I guess that says it all.
I'm not going to tag anyone, so help yourself if you'd like to use this.
I had a good night. A very good night. And I am pleased to announce that James is definitely NOT gay.
We met up at the Walmer Castle in Notting Hill - the best place for Thai food in West London. It felt as if I hadn't seen him for ages but in reality it's only been a week. But then I guess a week is a long time when you're buzzing with sexual frustration.
Last night felt different from the moment James kissed me hello. The other times we've been out he's been a little distant; charming, funny and attentive, but definitely physically remote. Last night he was making contact from the outset, doing all those little things that really make an impact when you're wondering if someone is truly attracted to you; stuff like touching my hand, lighting my cigarette, feeding me from his plate, brushing a stray strand of hair out of my eyes, touching me in the small of the back when we go upstairs. I'm not sure what's happened the past week but I have the feeling that he suddenly decided that it's OK to be into me. For whatever reason, he's stopped holding back.
Hey, I'm not complaining.
We settle the bill and he tells me that he's got a great bottle of wine back at his place and would I like to share it? I go, well... Like I have to think about it, like it's a tricky decision to make, but since he's made me wait for longer than is truly necessary I'm thinking that the least I can do is play hard to get for all of, oh, three seconds.
So we head over to his place (which fortunately is close by since I took TJ's advice and pulled the out the va-va-voom stops, which for me always means the highest and most impractical shoes I own). His flat is gorgeous, in fact it's so gorgeous that I start wondering about his sexuality again as soon as I see it. It's about a million light years away from the hovel I live in. We settle down on his sofa, he puts the stereo on on (Transglobal Underground, not a bad choice) and we demolish a kick-ass bottle of red wine (can't remember what it was apart from Margeux, Chateau de something, French), and the flirt factor starts revving up more than a few notches.
One spliff, most of the wine and lots of conversation later, and James gives me this really intense look. I'm like, OK, what's happening here? He reaches over, takes the glass from my hand, his eyes still fixed on mine, and places it on the floor. Then he pulls me to him.
I thought that the last kiss was pretty good but this... this is incredible. It’s a showstopper. A truly Technicolour vaseline-lensed Hollywood moment. I smell his shampoo and something else, deliciously peppery-sweet. I melt.
Yep, we did it right there, on the sofa.
Maybe because it's been a while, maybe because I'd almost forgotten what sex is like, but this was truly amazing.
Throughout, I felt shrink-wrapped, insulated, my mind numb, all energy diverted to the senses, knife-sharp, crystal-refracted, like the moment before the parachute opens, before bare feet leave the warm edge of the highest diving board, when pure impulse and adrenaline kicks in and everything else shuts down.
Yeah, it was that good.
And afterwards, he holds me close and says, promise me you'll want to do that again.
And as you'll know if you're a regular to my blog, I very rarely break my promises.
BUT, I like this guy and that really freaks me out. Whatever, I've got to keep a grip on this; I've just been shagged stupid by a hot piece of ass which means I'm hormonal soup right now.
It’ll end up being just another experience for me to notch in my memory, on my bedpost, another story for my friends to laugh over, another layer on my history, another chapter, another verse, another stanza in The Saga of Sara.
I have not undergone some strange seismic shift in the past couple of hours.
And the important thing to remember is that I never, ever, allow myself to believe the hype.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I met him on a train. I had no idea who he was and to be honest even if I had it wouldn't have made all that much of a difference; one thing I am not is a groupie. I was idly checking out the other people in the carriage when I see this guy. He was kind of plain but endearingly scruffy and he was reading Jay MacInerney's Story of My Life, one of my favorite books of all time. He must have sensed me staring because he looked up and smiled. It was the smile that got me. I've never seen such a great smile - it totally transformed his face. So I went over and we got talking. He was a bit shy and almost too polite. But that smile... so we swapped numbers, he said he'd call me, and that was that.
One month later, I'm at a festival with this other guy I had something going with at the time, coming up on e, and my mobile goes. I'm trying to balance a beer in one hand, cope with insane shivers going up my spine, my head's about to explode into a rainbow, the other guy is licking my neck, and at the same time I'm on the phone to the rock star, who I'd pretty much forgotten about by this point, attempting to hold it together enough to have a conversation. The reception is really bad, so I'm like, where are you? It sounds like there's a squirrel chewing the line. He's like, oh I'm in New York, it's the last night of our US tour. So of course I go, what do you mean, US tour? And he goes, all casual, oh didn't I tell you? I'm the drummer with (insert famous band name here). By this point my vision is refracting and the other guy is starting to do a silent winge, plus I'm thinking that having to act straight is seriously interfering with my high, so I go, great, that's cool, look I really have to go, when are you back? And he says, next week, let's hook up.
We went out when he got back to London, got on fine, had amazing sex; it must have been because he played drums for like twenty hours a day but whatever the cause, he really knew what to do with his hands. He understood the fine line between soft and hard, he knew when to be wild and when to be gentle, and he understood sensuality. We had a great time.
He kind of turned into my boyfriend for a while. It worked well because he was on tour for most of the time which meant we spent a few days a month together, either where he was playing or he'd come back to London. There was no hassle, no grief, no time to get bored. And he had so many other diversions, if you know what I mean, there was no way he was going to get possessive.
That was the perfect non-relationship. If only the band hadn't split up, leaving him in London full-time...
The last 10 albums that have graced my CD player (yeah, I'm still kind of old school when it comes to music):
- The Pixies - Bossanova
- Primal Scream - give out but don't give up
- Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
- Salmonella Dub - killervision
- Journeys By DJ, Nicolas Matar - Latitude 40degrees
- The Cure - Disintigration
- Death in Vegas - The Contino Sessions
- The Pixies - Doolittle
- David Bowie - Christiane F.
- Buddha Lounge, Volume 4
However, my latest musical enthusiasm is for the Arctic Monkeys. They're going to be huge. First single is out on 17th October. Check it out.
I'd love to offer sound as well as words but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Can anyone advise?