Sadie - Friday
“Darling, let’s go out for lunch to celebrate the last edits of the book.”
“Of course. It’ll help me through this terrible headache.”
“Doug, it’s a hangover, not a headache,” smiled Sadie.
“It is not, I’m tired. I barely had anything to drink. At my age Darling, alcohol can wreck your face.”
“I’ll let you know.”
“Oooh meow, for that you can pay.”
Doug hung his nose over the green curry and inhaled deeply, “mmmm kafir lime leaves, they’re to die for. Someone should bottle these beauties. Oh and talking of delicious food, your audition. Read the menu to me.”
“Massaman nuar - Beef Massaman curry. Slowly cooked with silk road spices, shallots, potatoes, cashew nuts & coconut,” purred Sadie “Pad prig daeng - stir fried red curry, Thai red curry paste with egg fried rice. Served with Chicken, Beef, Pork or King Prawns.”
“I thought Pad prig daeng was an Irish golfer,” laughed Doug. “read more, I like it, I’ve got a semi on already.”
“Excuse me,” said the waitress apologetically from behind Doug.
“Oh darling, you’ll have to forgive my potty mouth.”
The waitress nodded her head and placed the food on the table. Sadie had her head tucked inside the menu, but her shaking shoulders had already given her away.
“Why don’t you give her your menu Sadie?”
“Sorry,” squeaked Sadie said as she handed it back to the poor girl who understood enough to know she didn’t understand.
“We’ll have a bottle of Chablis please.”
“I’m not paying for that, I don’t even drink,” said Sadie.
“Darling, despite your nasty ways you’re not paying for any of it. I’m treating you today. The book sounds amazing, it’s your best to date. Listen Sweets, we’re celebrating your audition, also you’ll owe me when you’re rich and famous. What do you know of Melissa Quill?”
“I’ve Googled her and seen a couple of her shows, but she’s not big here yet. In Australia she’s nearly at the top of the tree. The eucalyptus tree.”
“Well I’ve spoken with a pal of mine and got the lowdown for you. You need to know all about her to maximise your chances. I’ve emailed it to you.”
“Thank you Doug, I’ll have a look when I get home.”
“Seriously Sadie, you could get a better phone out of a charity bin than that thing you use. Has it even got a camera?”
“Look I make calls and that’s it. I don’t need it to make coffee and be able to sing and dance.”
“Flip phones were crap when they came out, and that was about a million years ago. Aren’t you embarrassed by it?”
“Doug, I think we’ve covered this. If people look at me for the state of my phone I’d be delighted, they don’t get that far before the sneer is fixed.”
Doug started flapping his arms to get the waitress’ attention, “could I get a violin here as well please.”
“Violin?” said the waitress with a straight face, “I ask chef.”
“No, no,” said Doug, “I’m joking.”
The girl furrowed her brow, “Sorry, I not understand.”
“Sorry. My friend is an idiot,” said Sadie speaking slowly and clearly to emphasis the point.
The waitress belly laughed, “yes he’s idiot, I see that.”
It was Doug’s turn to be hurt. Sadie was used to Doug and his make up, in fact she didn’t even see it anymore, but to the young waitress it was clearly a sight to be seen.
“Come on Doug, cheer up. Pla kapong rad prig - Fillet of seabass with fresh chilli, lime juice, palm sugar, garlic, vegetables and topped with fresh coriander.”
“Oh Darling,” said Doug with no sparkle in his eyes.
As they progressed through their meal and the kafir lime leaves mixed with the Chablis worked their soothing balm on Doug, he returned to his usual Dougness.
“So, then the little guy started to walk away from the café and into the book shop. I was looking at the steam spiralling off of my coffee and wondering if I let him escape if it was really my fault, after all the mother didn’t know me from Peter Sutcliffe.”
“Actually, your hair is more Myra Hindley.”
“Nice to see you’re back.”
“Whatever do you mean,” he winked.
It wasn’t often that Doug dropped his barrier, even for a glimpse of the shy boy that once inhabited his body. Sadie knew he’d had a tough upbringing, one where loneliness was his only companion, one where the word ‘gay’ was an insult thrown around like a grenade, from one boy to the next until it reached its tearful target. She wondered if the invisible threads of constant bullying had bound their two lost souls together in a symbiotic friendship.
“A tenner for them,” said Doug as he stared at the vacant face of Sadie.
“Inflation Darling, nothing’s worth a sodding penny these days. It’s the kid isn’t it? The little brat’s upset you hasn’t he?”
“Mmm,” Sadie bit her bottom lip to stop her chin trembling. “I thought I’d figured it out, but I’m not mother material, for God’s sake I couldn’t cope for the time it takes to clean a babies bottom.”
“It would be different with your own, well so they say, whoever they are.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t even want to chase after Jamie, he was a sweet boy as well. I was just really bored of him by the time his mother came back.”
“So, don’t have a baby then.”
“Doug. Last night I went to the supermarket when I got off the train, I bought so much that I had to get a rip-off taxi home. Then do you know what I did?” she said slurping up an extra long noodle that then fish tailed and whipped her cheek with coconut milk. “I ate the whole lot. Every single item I bought I ate. I felt sick, but the emptiness won’t go no matter what I do, it won’t go. I hate myself for being so needy.”
“Why don’t you come and lay on Uncle Doug’s couch and read him some porn, wouldn’t that make us both feel better?”
“I’m not in the mood for Vikings and dominant men Doug. I’m serious.”
“Well, I am. He thrust his taut arms around the young man’s waist to save him going overboard…”
“Doug,” whined Sadie.
“Darling, we are what we are and if sitting here crying into our lunch is going to make the slightest difference then you’d best get me a box of Kleenex, man size, with balsam for smooth skin, and I’ll blub all afternoon with you. Alternatively, we can buy me a bottle of tequila and you a box of chockies and you can read me some porn.”
“Ok, but I don’t want chocolate.”
“See there’s a skinny cow in there fighting to get out,” butted in Doug.
“What I was going to say before you rudely interrupted, was that I don’t want chocolate, I would prefer some cheese.”
Doug was nearly doubled over laughing as he beckoned for the bill.
In Soho the sight of Sadie and Doug strolling arm in arm was nothing out of the ordinary, they passed people with pierced faces or stretched lobes every few paces, all of who were individuals. Sadie loved Soho almost as much as she loved Camden Lock with it’s market selling every culinary delight from every far flung place on earth. When she was rich she was going to move to Camden.
“Dougie,” called a voice from behind them.
They both turned to see Doug’s ‘friend’ Stuie hanging out of the door of The Duke of Wellington pub. Doug’s face lit up and he turned to Sadie, “just a quickie Darling?”
“Stuie darling,” said Doug before kissing the man’s cheeks. Stuie didn’t reciprocate, he was the sort of man used to being kissed, the sort of man that was way out of Doug’s league, the sort of man that Doug would fall for, had fallen for.
“I’ll get them darling, what are you having?”
“I’ll have a coke please Doug,” said Sadie.
Doug was gazing at Stuie, “you look great darling, have you been away?”
“I was head stylist on a shoot in Sydney last week, a fabulous chef over there is going to be launching here, we had to make her image transcend the Pacific Ocean and beyond. It was amazing, I just love Surry Hills and Tamarama Beach, I could easily live there.” Studie glanced at himself in the mirror behind the bar. “Maybe that’s what I should do, half a year here and half there.”
“It sounds amazing Stuie, but London would miss you, London needs you.”
“True,” he shrugged his cashmere shoulders.
Sadie looked at the lemon floating in her glass and wondered if it was a miserable as she was. Watching Doug fawn over the vile Stuie was more than her coconut curry could handle. She knew, probably as well as Doug did that Stuie would drop him as soon as someone better came along.
“Sadie has an audition next week for..”
Sadie kicked him to silence him, the last thing she wanted was Stuie meddling in her affairs, he didn’t like Sadie as much as she didn’t like him.
“I’m going to make tracks,” said Sadie.
“Elephant’s,” Stuie muttered under his breath.
“Sorry what was that Stuie? I didn’t hear you because I was distracted by your bald patch.” Instinctively Stuie’s hand touched the top of his head.
“Bye then,” added Sadie breezily before Stuie could recover with a really nasty taunt. “Call me later Doug.”
“I don’t know why you hang around with that fat boiler,” Sadie heard as she was leaving.
The deli on the corner was about to close, the counters were wiped clean and the fridges covered.
“You’re closing early. Am I too late?” said Sadie glancing at her watch.
“Not for my favourite customer,” smiled Alonzo.
“I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for, Brie or Camembert,” she stood wondering for a moment, feeling that making a decision was beyond her. She wondered if Stuie drained anyone else the way he did her. Sadie noticed Alonso look at the clock on the wall over her shoulder.
“So what will it be, the Brie or the Camembert? And these are new in and are delicious with baked cheese,” he said holding up a box of luxury flatbreads made with Himalayan sea salt and black pepper.
“The Camembert please Alonzo, and a box of those.”
“Good choice and I’ll throw in a box of the charcoal crackers too, I don’t want my favourite customer getting indigestion now do I?”
“You’re too kind.”
The walk to the tube was made easier by the thought of the baked cheese that would be waiting for her after her Friday bubble bath. She might even involve her waterproof Lovehoney vibrator, but that all depended on how nasty the journey home was. She made a deal with herself; if she got a seat she would, if she had to stand the Lovehoney would stay in the drawer. The carriage was full but not packed, as Sadie made her way into the train she noticed Mr Handsome standing with his back against the opened window at the end of the carriage, she’d have to brush past him to get inside. He always roused her, but today even more so by the sight of his strong suited arm clasped around a large soft toy bunny. Sadie hoped the Lovehoney had new batteries, seat or not.