Sadie - Thursday
The handsome man was sitting opposite her this morning so if omens were anything to go by this week should be a good one. He usually stood at the end of the carriage with the window open, letting the draught bounce off the paper and into the carriage, like the Thru the Wall game on the school’s Spectrum ZX she’d played as a child. She notices there’s something different about him today, apart from his seating position, there’s a crinkle in his brow, a heaviness around his eyes that she didn’t notice before. Maybe the omen for the rest of the week isn’t good, she hopes not.
Her agent had called last night with news of an audition for a newcookery show. It had been pitched as a ratings war against the BBC’s Masterchef and Bake Off. The host of the show was going to be an Australian woman called Melissa Quill who was already famous ’down under’ and was ready to take Britain by storm. Sadie had spent the rest of the evening fantasising that she would land the gig, becoming wealthy and secretly famous along the way. The audition was on Tuesday, which left plenty of time to watch all the cookery shows she could, even though she’d seen most of them already. Sadie watched cookery programmes like porn, her eyes feasting, devouring the food presented. This job was one in a million and she really wanted it. She was busting to speak with Doug, he’d advise her and build her ego to a point where she’d be confident and calm, maybe he could even come to the audition with her. She had called Doug late, but couldn’t really get any sense out of him, he was fretting he said, as he was going to Café De Paris and was getting ready. Doug took hours and hours to get ready Sadie knew that.
“Come with me darling,” he had said “you could wear some Madonna tit cones and be fabulous. Oh yes Sadie do come avec moi.”
Sadie knew he wasn’t even joking and could very well point her in the direction of some extra, extra large tit cones. Never in a million years would Sadie parade her body around, leggings and a baggy jumper were her standard uniform and she was happy with the look. Sadie wore black, purple and dark grey only, never white and certainly never gigantic tit cones.
She rummaged in her bag and found her book, the one she was reading for Blind Books. ‘The light between Oceans’ was such a good read that Sadie didn’t mind one bit that she’d read it twice over the weekend already. Sadie liked to be well versed on the story she was recording so that it flowed from within her, rather than, was read by her. The book had made her think, question herself and what she thought she knew for definite, Sadie wasn’t sure, but she thought she might be getting broody. She needed to speak to Doug, he’d talk her out of such nonsense of that she was sure.
At Stratford Sadie spotted the narky cow from yesterday get on. She wasn’t looking too fresh either, her face looked bloated and over made up Sadie was pleased to notice. She watched her as she scanned the carriage for somewhere to sit, her eyes stopped at the handsome man opposite Sadie, then they flicked to her, followed by her automatic sneer when her face caught up with her vision. She shimmied down the carriage and stood directly between Sadie and Handsome.
“Please don’t offer her your seat,” wished Sadie as she watched her wiggle and squirm, even bending over to retrieve something non-vital from her bag. Handsome didn’t look up from his paper until after she had got off at St Pauls. The omen for the rest of the week was looking good again.
“Oh darling you’d be a fantastic mother. I love the idea. Now who can we get to bang you?”
“Really, I thought you’d hate the idea and talk me out of it.”
“Behind every fabulous gay man is an even more fabulous Mama, don’t you know anything dear. Oh yes and the wee infant can suckle your enormous hoolies until it’s a teenager.”
“Doug, be serious.”
“Oh, but I am being serious. Your body swollen with child will be like a Renaissance work of art.”
“Carry on, I might have an ego big enough for the audition at this rate.”
“My agent called and said there’s going to be a new cookery show. I tried to tell you last night.”
“Who? Where? When? Tell me more immediately,” squealed Doug, “why darling, we must forget all about babies and talk about this instead. Sit,” he said patting the chair beside him “and tell me everything.”
Sadie started at the beginning, only embellishing the story a tiny bit. “you’ll be perfect you’ll have them running for the biscuit tin or cracking one off as soon as they hear that voice, it could turn me straight.” They both laughed, as they knew how unlikely that was.
“Quiet weekend for you then young lady,” said Doug as they finished for the day. “We’ll get this ironed out tomorrow, it shouldn’t take too long if we get to it, and then you can have three days voice rest all ready for the audition.”
“Thanks Doug, you’re a real pal.”
“Pal is for dogs darling, anyway you’re going to be my claim to fame,” he double air kissed her before she pulled on her coat and headed out.
The metal grill across the entrance to the station was pulled closed, overcrowding was the cause. Sadie didn’t mind, she’d rather wait an hour for it to calm down, it was better than being the last person wedged in before the grill had closed. Those omens once again were working in her favour. She headed round the corner to a bookshop with a coffee shop within. The staff knew her and often pointed her in the direction of a book they thought she’d appreciate. Even in such a big store they could remember her, she was pleased and tried not to think about the words they’d use to describe her to one another; the massive woman that’s here a fair bit, or cake face or maybe just the fat lady. She hoped it wasn’t too cruel. Tonight a tiny wisp of a girl greeted her warmly as she came in.
“Good evening Ling,” smiled Sadie.
“Good evening Sadie,” replied Ling “you should try this one today maybe?” she said in her Chinese accent with a hint of cockney.
Sadie took the book Ling had suggested and went to get a coffee and muffin.
“Skinny?” asked the new lad behind the counter before he looked up and saw the size of Sadie, “the muffin I mean. Skinny muffin is what I meant.”
“Yes that would be perfect, thank you,” smiled Sadie trying to ease the poor boy’s shame even though she hated the taste of artificial sweetener.
Once she was seated comfortably in the corner of a large sofa, with her hot drink, muffin and book the world seemed like a happier place, until she heard the baby crying. She couldn’t see a baby until a harassed young woman came around the corner with a buggy overloaded with bags, a wandering pre-school boy and the crying baby.
“Do you sell smack?” she joked, “ok double espresso will have to do. Jaime,” she called to the small boy “do you want a drink of hot milk sweetie?” Jamie ignored her and carried on crawling around under the tables. “Jamie get up please dear,” her voice was fractious, “Mummy won’t buy you anything if you don’t come here now and get off the floor.” Jamie didn’t come here now, neither did he get off the floor but she did buy him the hot milk. “He’s probably just tired” she said to the lad to excuse her son’s bad behaviour, “he’s only three, it’s been a long day.”
Meanwhile the baby in the buggy was growing noisier and noiser, ear splittingly loud. Sadie tried to bury her head in her book but could find no peace in there either. Suddenly the baby went red and started making funny noises, the mother was loading the tray with her espresso and Jamie's hot milk, plus enough sugar to rot a whole primary schools worth of children’s teeth.
“Jacks doing a poo Mummy,” Jamie announced.
As soon as he said it, the room filled with the smell of Jack’s poo. Sadie instinctively wrapped her muffin, skinny as it may have been, in a napkin to protect it from any airborne particles.
“Sorry,” she smiled at the lad. “Come on Jamie we’ll have to all go to the toilet.”
“I’m not coming” said Jamie who was once again under the table.
“Yes you are. I can’t leave you free range in a coffee shop can I?”
“Jamie,” she warned “if I count to three there will be a major problem. 1….2….3”
Jamie didn’t come out from under the table. “For the love of God, please help me Jamie. Your baby brother is sitting on a pile of poo and that poor lady is trying to enjoy her coffee,” she pointed at Sadie, “she does not need us and this smell ruining it,” she smiled apologetically at Sadie.
“No,” called Jamie.
“I’ll watch him for a moment if you like,” offered Sadie.
“Oh thanks, would you?”
With that the harangued woman, the baby, the buggy and the smell disappeared into the toilets.
“Jamie,” called Sadie, “can we have a chat please as I’m here on my own and I don’t have a brother like you do.”
Jamie hopped out from under the table and sat right next to her, he looked her straight in the face and said, “your hair is nice,” he then slid off the leather sofa and sat on the floor next to Sadie’s feet “your shoes are ugly.”
“Never mind my shoes, how are you? Where have you been today?”
The child got back up and sat on the sofa, he fiddled with the edge of Sadie’s coat. “I like your coat, its soft. I have a soft blanket at home, its called Blankie. I’m not allowed to bring it out in case I lose it, but Mummy carries a small square of it in her bag in case of emergencies. What are emergencies?”
“Times that require immediate attention.”
“Oh. Thanks I didn’t know that. So if I need Blankie right now that’s an emergency?”
“Yes that’s it.”
“Mummy,” yelled Jamie “there’s an emergency.” He jumped up and started banging on the toilet door “emergency, emergency.”
The mother opened the door, her eyes as wide as the 50p coins, “what’s happened?”
Sadie could see her stretched across the room, one hand holding the poo covered baby on the changing mat and her leg holding the door open.
“I need Blankie, its an emergency.”
“”Oh Jamie, come in. I need to clean Jack up.”
“No,” he said and skipped off leaving the door to slowly close on its own, letting more of the foul odour escape the cubicle.
“Jamie,” called Sadie, she wanted to rescind her offer of childminding and it had been less than three minutes so far. How long does it take to change a nappy she wondered?
Jamie looked up. “Shall I read you a story?”
“Yes please,” replied Jamie climbing back onto the sofa and touching Sadie’s coat again. Sadie reached one of the children’s’ books that were in the pile on the small table, opened it and began to read.
“Stop,” called Jamie, “not that one.”
“Nope.” Jamie then proceeded to look through all the books. “None of these, lets go over there to the better books,” he pointed to the main body of the shop.
“No Jamie we need to stay here for Mummy.”
“No” he said and started off in the direction his finger was pointing.
Just then, the mother appeared from the toilets, sweating and bright red.
“Jamie,” she called. He looked around but carried on walking. Satisfied that she had handed back the child to its mother, Sadie opened her book and took a sip of her well earned coffee. The mother neglected to get her espresso, Jamie’s hot milk or her bill.
“Dew want it?” called the lad from behind the counter.
“No thanks,” Sadie called back before she took an enormous bite of her skinny muffin, that actually wasn’t bad.