Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Seventeen
By the time Martin and Gemma have left and I’ve checked out how the wine fridge is looking, it’s almost half twelve. I just made £6. Enough for 2 jars of posh white sauce. I’ve done the square root of fuck all. Are there jobs like this, where you have to just be there but you don’t need to actually do anything most of the time at least? I wish someone had told me earlier. I have another look around my silent domain. There’s a small desk, it’s white, obviously and a stool that I already know will never allow me to be comfortable. It’s one of those sixties style bar stools with the arse cheeks moulded into the plastic that were not made using a mould of any human that has ever existed. The emptiness of the space feels a bit oppressive, like it’s pushing me around. I take a long look back at the cubby hole that is full of wine and go for a walk up to the far end where I went with Martin earlier. I fold my hands behind my back and try to walk just like he was when he was probably massively patronising me, if only I had been listening. There are 4 paintings by the same artist, huge ink and watercolours of naked women with huge tits and fine round arses. I hadn’t noticed them before, fuck knows how, they’re huge and beautiful. I look up the artist on my phone. She’s Chinese but lives right here in town. I’ve seen her picture on her website now. Maybe she’ll come in one day and I can tell her how much I loved her tits and arse.
I sit on my horrible stool and pick at the skin around my nails. I wish he hadn’t mentioned the wine, I can hear it screaming at me. I had brought an emergency tenner in case I had to nip to the shop and get myself a whisky miniature, hoping I wouldn’t have to, not on day one for fucks sake. There’s 3 bottles of Pinot, decent stuff too. I don’t think I’m likely to see him down Aldi anytime soon. My hand twitches like it’s already holding the glass. It makes me laugh, my invisible wine being pulled by strings in my head. A woman comes in, closing the door very carefully behind her. She looks vaguely in my direction but walks to the far end of the gallery. She stops by the big tits and takes a closer look. Is this how rich people get off, like the equivalent of the old top shelf mags? Maybe she hasn’t heard of the internet. The woman looks closely at all 4 of the paintings. She walks back through the gallery without looking at any of the other art and leaves. She didn’t even look in my direction. Now some people would be offended by that but I think this is going to suit me down to the ground.
I cave into the wine temptation at 2.17pm. I think that’s fair and frankly, for me, it’s a fucking miracle. I used to read the Guinness Book of Records when I was a kid. I always wanted to have an entry in there, even if it was for the most stupid thing. I’m not sure they’ll have a category for ‘being near alcohol when feeling very anxious and bored out of my head’ but I might ask anyway. I stand in the small kitchen with a glass and take sips. I stick my head out of the kitchen door to check that no one has come in. I feel like I’m in the cupboard under the stairs in my mum’s house, I’m 12 and I’m trying to drink her sherry. Not that I did any of that but if I had, this is how it would have felt. I did drink some of my dad’s barley wine when I was about 6 which I think nearly killed me. It tasted so sweet at first but after that I was just vomiting for ages before I staggered downstairs crying, mum sat watching the telly as I wailed. I don’t think she took her eyes off Coronation Street for even a second. I gulp the last of the glass down as I am starting to feel claustrophobic in here. I stand in the window. Look at me, I’m Martha I’m a fucking work of art.
I get a text from Gemma about half three.
You ok? How’s it going? xx
All good x
I don’t know how I feel about her fucking Martin. Or how I feel about her not telling me. I think that’s why she only got one kiss back. I guess I don’t tell her who I’m fucking. Which is no one anyway. A couple come in and say ‘hi’ in unison. Sweet. They cling to each other as they sidle around the gallery. They stop by a huge arse and kiss each other. I hope they’re as happy as they look. Sex can play some pretty special tricks on the mind. I’ve had 3 glasses of wine and it’s nearly 5pm now. I wash up the glass and put the mainly empty bottle back in the fridge. I hear the door go and step out of the kitchen. Martin is there,still in black, still smiling.
“So, how did it go?” he says. I smile too. I know he’s been at it with Gemma since I last saw him. I feel jealous. Not that I would ever want to fuck him. I’m jealous that she might have found what she wants, that she even knows what she wants. I know she wants a bloke with money cos as much as she says she doesn’t mind being at the pharmacy, that girl has ambitions.
“It's good Marty, I like it here I think.” He puts his hands on his hips.
“Well, that’s great Martha, really great. So, I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“You know what Marty, I reckon you will?”