Tag Archives: hug

Sex, drugs and frock ‘n’ roll (Part two)

After lunch, we go to GAP, trying clothes on in changing rooms that are directly next to each other. It is here that I tempt her with another thought.

‘Slish, I just thought, you know what we could do today?’

‘What?’

‘We could go and get your boobs measured.’

Silence. And finally a ‘No.’

‘That was a very delayed response,’ I say, laughing. It seems, like countless other women in the UK, that she still isn’t fussed about knowing whether she is wearing the wrong size bra. Although I know what really bothers her is getting her developing chest out to a stranger despite my reassurance that she can keep her bra on.

Neither my support nor the thought of that of an enhanced underwire nature, sway her. Still, we go back to M&S. I try on some leggings behind a shoe display before finding her on the floor, wrestling with some strappy heels. I tell her that I am going to the changing room to try on some different leggings. While in there, I get a text: ‘Where you at girl? Xx’ It’s from Slish. With limited phone reception, I quickly redress and find her ogling the same shoes.

We pop over to Waterstones. She follows me around both floors, declaring her lust for the M&S shoes as I try to find the one copy of this particular book that’s suppose to be instore. We leave Waterstones and she looks at me as if she’s just realised Bambi’s mother is shot after all. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ she says, elongating every vowel. ‘Oh, the shoes. Let’s go back before they close?’ I say. Back in M&S, she strides in front of me, questioning everything there is left to question before buying them just as the lights begin to dim and a voiceover tells us that the store will be closing in 10 minutes.

Outside, we wait for her bus. I ask if she’s got everything off her (‘I’m never getting measured’) chest. I go over everything we’ve talked about and tell her that she can always talk to me, not to worry and to keep me updated. I spot the 211 and I put my arm out and keep it out despite the bus indicating. Slish opens her arms to say goodbye. I hug her, saying: ‘It was lovely to see you.’ ‘Yeah, you too,’ she replies. I ask Slish to make sure she lets me know she gets home OK. She gets on the bus and goes up to the top deck. I wave to her as the bus suddenly lurches forward to catch up with the traffic ahead.

We continue texting for the next hour or so (with a brief phone call from Slish after the bus terminates earlier than expected at Fulham Broadway) until she’s safely back in Chiswick. Her final thoughts on the day read: ‘I hope to god that day will never come xxx’ (She is talking about eating toast out of a bowl. Again.)

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Sex, drugs and frock ‘n’ roll with Slish (Part one)

It started with a private Facebook message sent at 20:09 on March 22. Although we’ve regularly messaged since we stopped living together, this particular message from Slish included the following lines:

‘i would like to see you soon my dear, are you free ths Sunday perhaps? i have some boy trouble thats troubling me.
xxxxxxx’

So today,  we went to Frock Me! at Chelsea Old Town Hall. On the bus there, I get a text. Turns out I have a new answerphone message and a missed call from Slish. I ring her and she says where she is waiting and that her dad is also there, which I was not expecting. Arriving at the coffee shop, I feel like Michael Aspel considering the surprise on Crazy Yank’s face (he was expecting Slish’s other friend with the same name.) He gets up, gives me a kiss on the cheek and a hug and tells me I look thin.* Slish gets up and gives me a hug. I sit down. We chat, catching up on each other’s lives for the next 10 minutes or so although we know most of each other’s news as Crazy Yank had also recently e-mailed me and I’d of course replied.

Afterwards, we walk a little down the King’s Road, another kiss on the cheek and hug goodbye and a (slightly) bemused Crazy Yank departs. Soon after, as we walk to a nearby cash point, I ask Slish if she wants to spill her guts to me then, during the vintage clothes fair or afterwards. She starts to offload and thankfully, it’s the usual early teen awkward-boy-situation-where-friends-get-too-involved-scenario. I advise as much as I can not once but several times during the afternoon.

Once inside Chelsea Old Town Hall, we walk from stall to stall, mesmerised by the seemingly endless trinkets, array of patterned clothes and striking characters with every step. She buys two necklaces and I grow balls the size of raisins to “haggle” by asking: ‘Would you consider taking anything less than £18?’ for an oversized sky blue Burberry tartan shirt. (I pay £15).

We creep up the King’s Road, buying semi-identical lunches at Marks and Spencer before sitting among the stub-legged pigeons opposite the Saatchi Gallery.  She fills me in on further teen angst although thankfully it is that of her friends. A lot of it is shocking although sadly not unexpected for a group of well-educated girls and boys growing up in London. She then asks me if I still eat toast out of a bowl. ‘Why didn’t you just use a plate?’ she asks. ‘ ‘Because I liked the bowls,’ I reply. It seems the memory still annoys her as much as the action did itself.

*I’ve always been lean but turns out I’m a little underweight. I also recently learnt at the doctors after having blood tests that I am low on Vitamin D. The doctor advised I take supplements and said how it’s not uncommon considering the long winter we’ve just had. Although, of course, it could be a delayed reaction to having inhabited a bedroom with no windows for such a long time. I did not mention this to the doctor or to Crazy Yank and Slish today. I just hope it doesn’t turn into full-blown Rickets.

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North of the river

It was a Wednesday afternoon the day I moved to Chiswick. It should have been the day before but I hadn’t finished packing. Henry was the only person in the house when Crazy Yank’s Jeep arrived. In between helping me take my combination of suitcase and Duty Free bags (full of my life, not airport frivolities), Henry said: ‘Good luck with Sharky,’ half-grimacing, half-laughing. He gave me a hug. Said something like ‘See you soon’ and I was out of the door. He stood on the doorstep with the same awkward expression that had accompanied our first meeting in the hallway. I put my hand up to gesture a wave but didn’t quite manage it as we drove off.

‘Living with us is going to be easy,’ Crazy Yank began. ‘It’s going to be fun. I mean, it’s a really fun house. I want you to feel at home. Act like it’s your home. We’re easy-going, y’know.’ He repeated these sentiments a few times for the next 10 minutes of the journey (and especially while we were stuck in traffic on the Chiswick Bridge) and yet again before we pulled up at the house.

We dumped my suitcase and Duty Free bags in my room. He went back to his office on the second floor. I stared at the suitcase, the Duty Free bags and this room that had been both a garage and home cinema. The carpeted two-step runway in the middle of the room was a reminder of its former celluloid life. It was a massive space, with an adjoining shower and laundry room. It had plenty of ceiling lights but no windows, which made it feel a bit like a garage. I didn’t bother unpacking that day (or properly until about a year later if that) because I planned to move out two months later to live with a friend from university. In just eight weeks, I’d be living with someone my own age again and my bedroom would have windows. Or so I thought.

This is where the real story begins. And welcome to the start of your education on surviving life as a lowly lodger (plus how to guess the weather to match your wardrobe and prevent the premature onset of rickets through lack of vitamin D caused by no windows for nearly 14 months, of course…)

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