Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chapter 69 - The Thighs The Limit!!!

Tam was gushing about the log cabin and Rob could feel the muscles in his cheeks twitching as he tried to hold his fake grin.
But she was relentless.
Unstoppable.
She'd gone from hugging him so tightly and thanking him for letting her go, to pacing the kitchen, uncorking a bottle of wine, dragging him to the sofa where she pushed a too-full glass into his hand, to grappling in her bag for her camera, turning it on and now she was racing through a series of snapshots of snow scenes.
And all without a breath!
So how come he was the one who felt suffocated?

He couldn't get Sophie's 'Dilemmas' out of his head and that clip where she took Ade's hand and climbed into the helicopter with him was just replaying again and again and again in his mind. Torturing him.
"And Rob, you should have seen the fireplace in the cabin! It was colossal! And there's nothing as cozy as the sounds of the wood crackling and spitting and the flames were huge! It was just like one of those Christmas music videos. We need to go again next year as it would be just fantastic with a crowd. We could ask Sophie too. Honestly, she'll just love it! We just need a crowd of us!"
He grabbed his wine glass and downed the drink in one, standing abruptly and sliding his jacket on. Tam was surprised.
"Where you going?"
"Oh, I've, erm… gotta go."
"You're fumbling! What's up?"
"Nothing! I'm just tired and shit. You know. Long day. And I only came to get the heating on and stuff. Ready for when you got home."
Tam nodded toward her laptop, "and use the laptop?"
"Yeah," he realized he'd left it open at www.sophiedilemma.com and was pissed off about it, "yeah, to use your laptop." He walked toward it to close the open tab but Tam jumped up before him.
"S'ok. Leave it on. I need to catch up on some emails too. And I want to get some of these photos up on Facebook."
"No, it's ok. I need to log out of that site anyway," he bluffed, desperate for Tam not to see that he'd been following what Sophie was doing.
"Rob?" Tam stood in front of him. "Are you OK?"
"Yep. Fine."
"So why are you all jumpy and weird?"
"I'm not! Just tired. Look, let me just close down that page I was in."
Tam calmly walked across to her laptop and didn't see Rob cringing behind her. She bent to see what he'd been looking at, half fearing that it was something xxx-rated or some weird porn fetish site that she didn't want to look at OR think that her brother was into. He watched her as she bent and then stood, turning to face him.
"It's Sophie's stuff."
"Yep."
"Why are you looking at that?"
"Dunno."
"What is it? The first of her 4 'dilemma' dates?"
"Dunno. Yeah. Some crap like that."
Tam pressed on the video and watched her ice skating with Ade and then both of them taking off in the helicopter together afterwards. She felt sick. It was weird.
"So….. Why are you looking at this?"
"Dunno."
And there was something about the sadness in his eyes, the sag of his shoulders that suddenly made sense.
"Oh… My…. God…. You're in love with her aren't you?"
"Yeah. And it's shit."
He slumped down onto the sofa and as Tam slumped down beside him she agreed,
"Too right it is…"

*

If my inner thighs could talk they'd be screaming in pain.
As if it wasn't tough enough, gripping for dear life with my hands, my legs were like steel rods as they tried to balance on the trapeze swing.
Jonny was great – which made the whole fa├žade a little easier, but I'm now *officially* bruised both on the inside and the outside.
Ade managed to make me feel battered emotionally and Circus Space has seen to it that I have:
a bruise the shape of South Africa on my upper left arm
another bruise – a little more like China with perhaps Ireland joined on to it – just above my right boob (don't ask me how that got there!)
legs that refuse to climb up or down a staircase without turning to complete jelly. (My muscles are in total rigor mortis!)
blisters on the palms of both hands (from hanging on for dear life to the trapeze swing)
So.
There you have it.
A mess on all counts.

To be honest, for a moment there I thought the aching thighs might have been from my sexual shenanigans with Ade.
And then I remembered.
He was crap.
And *it* didn't really happen.
Not in the real sense.
I have another 2 days until the next date and I know it's going to be hell as it's Ballroom Dancing with Hassan SomebodyOrOther. I desperately need some TLC and pampering before I take that on so perhaps this is the perfect moment to book my evening at the spa. I'm going to go for the whole shebang too. I wanted to book in for a leg and armpit wax for Mum's Christmas L.A wedding and I wanted a St Tropez session, so I think I'll go for a full body massage and wax and then book in the spray tan for next week.
I'll be a great tangerine, what with my orangey flecked dress too.
Mum will be delighted!

Chapter Seventy
Chapter Sixty Eight

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chapter 68 - Swingers & Mingers

Chapter 68 - Swingers & Mingers

I was right about Jonny. He was nice and easy-going and as soft and velvety as his black curls. Like a milk-bath, a vanilla-scented spa treatment or an afternoon with your favorite uncle - he was JUST what I needed. No fake laughter. No bull. We were both clumsy and awkward with the diabolo, either failing to catch the spinning object on half inch of string or sending it flying off at random angles.

I have to admit, as predicted, I DID giggle. Especially when it nearly hit the loudmouth that I'd thought was Jonny. And, NOT as predicted, Jonny WAS funny. Not in a laugh-a-minute, joke-cracking way. More of a slightly 'off-the-wall', observant way. I didn't want to crack a smile and be predictable but I couldn't help it, what with his daft comments and playful jibes. He was a funny guy!

Ross and Darren were slightly annoying as they kept stopping the cameras from rolling and asking me and Jonny to face left, or face right so that the angles and shots were good, but with Jonny's soothing way I soon found myself not so aware of them and, I have to admit, I actually DID start having some fun. The loudmouth turned out to be a regular at Circus Space and, I imagine was more of a clown in his real life than he could ever pretend to be in a circus. Of course, once the cameras were rolling he was drawn to the spotlight like a moth to the headlamps and it was only a matter of time before he started appearing, by 'accident', in the background. Jonny could see that Ross and Darren were getting annoyed and handled it expertly, turning to face the guy and charming him into the action.

"Hey, c'mon over here. You look like you know what you're doing."

Of course he was delighted and couldn't get close to us quick enough.

"Right," Jonny smiled, "show us how you do it."

And the guy obliged. With each hurl of the bean-filled juggling balls he mutated into the clown. And with the camera crew zooming in on Jonny and his new friend, at least it took the pressure off of me!

"You're a natural!" Jonny encouraged him.

"Thanks!" he guffawed.. And then proceeded to mutate into that clown even more. I glanced down to notice his wide-legged stance to see that his feet were huge! All he needed was the red nose.

"Hey," he chortled, mid-juggle, "why won't cannibals eat clowns?"

"What?" Jonny frowned at him, and then us, and then back at him again.

"Because they taste funny!"

We all rolled our eyes but the camera was specifically on ME when I did. Just my luck. Bet I look ridiculous!

Our collective groan clearly didn't deter him, as he rolled out another line,

"You know, my dear departed uncle was a circus clown before he died…"

Suddenly he stopped juggling and stood, motionless, the juggling balls cupped in his hands as the animated version of him ceased and we saw his shoulders sag as he stared down at the floor.

That makes sense then! It's all falling into place. It's obvious now! His uncle was a circus clown and he wants to continue the family tradition. I can just imagine him as a kid, sitting in the big top clapping and grinning, full of pride for the funny uncle, the favorite clown in the entire troupe. A little boy, like in those Hovis adverts, in his hand-knitted, woollen jumper, clapping and cheering louder than any child in the crowd….

Just as I began to feel a little empathy for the guy he broke his trance and spoke, his voice quiet this time….

"Yeah… He was a great circus clown before he died. I remember all his friends came to the funeral in one car!"

We paused. Then it sank in. And the guy burst into life again, laughing as he shouted, "Honk Honk!" in a loud nasal impression of a car hooter.

He was awful.

Nobody laughed.

And then just when we thought we were stuck with him Jonny surprised me by grabbing my hand and pulling me over to the trapeze net and ladders.

"OK, so who's going first?" he smiled at me. He has the most stunning blue eyes. I can't help but notice.

"Not me!"

"OK, let's go up together. That ladder looks scary."

"I don't want to go up there! It's too high."

"C'mon," he took my hand and squeezed it, "let's go up together." Then he leaned in so close to be out of the microphone pick up zone and whispered, "and we ARE supposed to be on a 'date'. At least let's flirt a bit, hey?"

He's lovely.

"OK," I agreed and took his hand as the cameras followed our steps to the base of the high ladder leading to the trapeze swings.

*

I squealed at the trapeze - my god, they are just SO high. It's been years since I've been on a playground swing, never mind perched on a thin rod suspended 50 feet in the air. Net or no net - I was petrified! Of course, I fell. About 9 times. And Jonny was there, at the side of the huge bouncy net to help me down. In a strange way it was all rather therapeutic. The suspending myself in the air, the concentration required to try and juggle three balls at a time… It was almost like those team-building events where, regardless of the egg-heads you work with, you still come away feeling a little better about yourself, slightly more at peace with who you are.

And I have.

Jonny has, unbeknown to him, restored my temporary loss of faith in menkind.




Chapter Sixty Seven
Chapter Sixty Nine

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chapter Sixty Seven - don't crack your cheekbones

Fake smiles.
Canned laughter.
Forced hilarity.
It's all bullshit.
And that's what this date is going to be.
The last thing I want to be doing tonight is going out with a comedian. The 'funny guy'. Like salt in the wound his cheesy grin and slapstick crap is just going to make me feel worse. In the shadow of the Ade fiasco this is painful.
Jonny Kowlowski? Never heard of him. He's an 'up-and-coming' comedian. Whatever that means. And so I'm standing, trying to take deep breaths of the stinging, cold night air as I brace myself outside Circus Space.
OK.
I'm going in.

I spot him immediately. The wiry guy standing by the crash mats, hands on hips as he guffaws whilst dropping 3 juggling balls.
Idiot.
Doesn't say much for his sense of humour if THAT makes him laugh.
And why are comedians NEVER good-looking? Name me one! Is it a kind of warped chicken-and-egg syndrome? Are they funny because they've HAD to be? Or does their ugliness simply add to their funniness?
Funniness? Is that a word....
I don't want to go over there and I'm relieved to notice Ross and Darren, fumbling about with their video equipment near the back wall. Thankful for something resembling a half-friendly face, I walk across to them, nearly getting my head chopped off by a passing trapeze artist swinging particularly low.
"Careful!" she shouts at me as she tarzans her way across the room.
I mumble under my breath at her. I sound like Muttley from the cartoons.

I'm wondering who the curly-haired guy is with Ross and Darren. Probably an assistant or something, or maybe our contact at Circus Space. He has that friendly look to him. You know, the kind of look that makes you know you'll feel comfortable with him. His dark curls resemble the guy who won Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph competition and he looks casual and relaxed in his rugby polo shirt and jeans. They look up at me as I get closer.
"Sophie!" he smiles a dazzling wide smile and reaches out his hand to shake mine.
"Hi." I can't help but smile back but when Ross and Darren both stand to greet me I have to admit that I'm cringing as I wonder whether they know what a shit Ade was after the last date.
"OK?" I announce bravely, "what we doing then? I've seen him already. Over there making a complete fool of himself. I hope you're not expecting me to continually laugh at his crap jokes, cos I'm really not in the mood."
Darren smiles a strange smile at me, "No. We're not expecting that. Not at all. Em, what are YOU expecting Sophie?"
I shrug, a stroppy teenager refusing to make eye contact, "Well by the way he's carrying on over there I doubt he's going to be a laugh a minute is he? But don't they say that's always the way with comedians? They try so hard to be funny all the time that they're actually boring as hell?"
The assistant placed his arm around my shoulders as he leaned toward me and whispered in my ear, his curls tickling my cheek, "I promise I won't try to be a laugh a minute. Although I can't guarantee that you'll find it hilarious watching me try the static trapeze and tight-rope walk."
Frowning, I turn to face him. "Sorry?"
"I didn't get the chance," his voice was deep but soft as he extended his hand once again, "Jonny Kowlowski. 'Up-and-coming' comedian who doesn't continually tell crap jokes or make a complete fool of himself. At least, not all of the time."
I feel myself blush. Furiously.
"Oh."
"Yeah," he smiled, "oh. No problem. But I have to say, I'm rather disappointed that you thought I'd look like HIM over there!"

Maybe this won't be the disaster that I'd expected. Jonny seems relaxed and at ease with himself and as I watch him taking in the diabolo spinners, the jugglers and trapeze artists I come to the conclusion that this date might actually be fun. I'm not sure that he knows about the grand gestures and horrendous date I had with Ade, maybe he knows that I'm feeling fragile and running on empty, but maybe he doesn't.

Either way, he seems like easy company.

And that's a great first step...

Chapter Sixty Six
Chapter Sixty Eight

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chapter Sixty Six - Roll Up, Roll Up!

In theory, this should be easy. After all, I've spent my life keeping spinning plates, juggling my social life and balancing my work life.
So here we go - a few deep breaths and I'm going in.
Circus Space?
Bring it on!

Chapter Sixty Five
Chapter Sixty Seven

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm Back....

Phew, that was a long break.
Severely traumatised and extremely nervous, it's taken me this long to get my head together.
And I apologise.
But I'm back...

It's gonna be fun catching up again....

Sophie.xxx

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Chapter Sixty Five - Juggling Act & Spinning Plates

The afternoon I’ve just had at work has been the hardest ever! I feel completely rejected and downtrodden. I can’t eat, I can’t drink, I can’t smile or even answer the phone properly. I have absolutely NO conversation and even AJ’s smirking isn’t grating on me like it usually does. I know that Delaney had sussed that something was wrong. It was blatantly obvious anyway, but I think she guessed that I’d spent the night with Ade. She even looked at me sympathetically a few times, but that steely glint still left me in no doubt that I have to see this next date through. I’m so emotionally fragile and keep crying, which is made worse by Delaney’s sales pitch. She called me into her office and starting hyping me up in preparation for the next dilemma tomorrow! As if I didn’t have enough of a dilemma to contend with at the moment. The brief is this - I have a date with up and coming comedian Jonny Kowlowski, and guess where we’re going? To The Circus Space, near Old Street tube station! Fuck, how could this be worse? I feel as shit as I do - broken and busted up, sick at myself for giving myself to Ade so easily and making a complete fool of myself and believing that he liked ‘me’ and, and and......
And now.
I have to pretend that it’s laughs all the way.
I have to learn to juggle and ride a unicycle and walk a fucking trapeze.
With a comedian.
Shit.

*
One hot bath and 2 glasses of wine haven’t helped me to relax or feel remotely better about things. I hate Ade for doing this to me, but hate myself too for falling for it all. HOW could it have been just insincere words to him? How? I feel shattered and am having serious trouble remembering that he’d said he was looking for something ‘different’, as my brain continues to recount his words as looking for something ‘better’! I’d NEVER have got into that situation with him if it hadn’t all been reinforced by the foundations of a relationship. It had taken a big leap for me to feel comfortable enough to get naked with him - and now look! I knew he was a player but didn’t dream that he was playing ME! What was behind all that about making it up to me? Why the helicopter and stuff? Did it mean that much to him to prove a point? Or was it because he couldn’t handle the fact that I really liked him too much? I was being a hundred percent genuine.
And he was simply taking the piss.

*

Tam’s cab pulled up outside her house and she was warmed to see the lights on inside. Rob had said he’d call in and turn on the heating but she wasn’t expecting him to still be there.
“Fantastic!“ she squeezed her rucksack in excitement, “he is SO the best brother in the entire world dot com. I can’t wait to tell him how gorgeous the log cabin was.“

The sounds of Tam shuffling in through the front door and dragging her luggage behind her broke Rob’s concentration. He’d been lured by her computer and, despite being glued to www.sophiedilemma.com, he wished he’d never turned it on. He knew she had her second date tomorrow and wondered how things could possibly get worse? He’d watched her slow dancing with Adrian Ford and saw the helicopter landing and her hesitating. And then he’d felt sick as he watched her catch Adrian’s hand and get into the chopper with him as they’d been filmed taking off and flying off into the London night sky. He was having trouble watching this and knew now that he could never compete with a connected guy like Adrian. He thought Sophie had been somebody that he could rely on and thought he knew her - how wrong he was. He hated the whole cosy notion of Christmas too and was having problems walking past the florist shop down the road, loaded with sprigs of mistletoe and Christmas bouquets. He’d had such high hopes for their first Christmas together and was gutted that he’d had to give the log cabin treat to his sister. And here she was - with a huge smile on her face as she stood ready to tell him all about it. He took a deep breath before fixing a smile on his face and spinning around on the chair to face her.
“Hey Tam,” he breezed, “how was Scotland?”
“Oh Rob, you really SHOULD have been there. It even snowed! It was SO romantic....”

*

OK, so tonight is my next date and I feel even more crap today than I did yesterday. I hardly slept at all last night and have called in sick today. Delaney had been shocked when I‘d told her,
“I‘m sorry, but if you want me to go on this date tonight, then I can‘t come in today. I have to get my head together. I‘m sorry.”
Her silence had shocked me. I‘d never known her lost for words. And so I‘d continued, in a calmer tone,
“I need to sort a few, em, ‘things‘. In my head. And I am finding it difficult to concentrate. I need some time. To prepare. Ha ha, and to, em, dust off my red nose and leotard maybe?”
Her voice was unexpectedly calm and balanced,
“Sophie. Take the day. You need some time to recover from Tuesdays, er, ‘date‘. I know. I understand. Go for it. Maybe get some sleep and perhaps a couple of hours in the beauty salon might help you to relax? A nice massage and facial maybe? We need you at The Circus Space for 6pm. OK? Ross and Darren will be there too. See you then.”
Which was really nice of her.
I tried to take her advice and climbed back into the soft warmness of my bed, willing myself to catch up on some more sleep. After all, when I’m sleeping then I can’t torment myself with the same old questions that I have no answers for. My eyes are clamped closed and yet a faceless voice relentlessly asks me the same tirade of questions:
How can a guy go from talking about all the things he wants to do with me, all the places he wants to take me, to the sending a text message saying that he’s looking for something ‘different’? I mean what was it about me? That spot on my arse cheek? My slightly jibbly tum? Was i too unparticipative in bed? No! I wasn’t, I know I wasn’t!
How dare he say he’s looking for something different! And there I was, ready to be so understanding at his lack of technique and ultra skinny willy!! I was even prepared to put up with his small dick and crap sexual techniques! I was all up for working on the small stuff over the following weeks, but now I’ve been ceremoniously dumped AND am plagued with the horror that I might be BIG ‘down there’!

I am having to accept that I will never be able to fathom what changed from that long night together in Ade’s arms and how we were together that following morning - to how things shifted that afternoon and that sudden, bizarre rejection.

All I want is a friend.
All I want is Rob.
To hold me and hug me.
To tell me that everything will be OK.
And that Adrian is a TOTAL arsehole - just as he’d always told me.

But there is no Rob.

There is nobody.....
No shoulder to cry on.
No Rob.
No.
Rob.


Chapter Sixty Four
Chapter Sixty Six