Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Sixty Two
Obviously Monty’s place is amazing. It’s a flat but it is the size of a house. I reckon the square footage of one of his rugs is about the same as my entire flat. Sash spent the first minutes here in a state of shocked awe, her mouth open, floating from room to room, completely ignoring Monty’s presence. Eventually she came into the front room, well, one of the front rooms and joined us. Monty and I had been drinking what I imagine was champagne and chatting, the picture of the smug man above his head as we spoke. It did look fucking amazing in this place, it’s also amazing that he could spot that it would look so much better here than in the gallery.
“Sooooo, did you sell anything today to some other unsuspecting passerby?” I giggle into my bubbles like a teenager.
“Ha, Monty, unsuspecting you are not.” He throws his head back and laughs.
“Yes, yes, fair enough my dear,” he sips a tiny sip, “so Sasha, I hear you are the great art salesperson in the family.” Sash looks straight at him.
“No, mum sold those, I just talked to the lady a bit.” I feel something warm in my chest as she fights my corner, even if it didn’t need fighting.
“Mum’s a brilliant artist too.” Fucking hell Sash. Monty raises both eyebrows and turns his gaze from her to me. That warm something inside me is now very much outside me too.
“I used to do art,” I reply.
“She still does Monty, she’s just being shy.” Sash blurts triumphantly. She’s getting into her stride. I’m fucked here.
“You should come round and I’ll show you.” No way is he coming around to my dark basement flat. Nope, nope, nope.
“Sash, I’m sure Monty doesn’t want or need to see my pictures.”
“Oh Martha my dear, I would like to see them, of course. You see if someone as bright and intelligent as this young lady thinks that they are worth seeing, then see them I must.” Like I said, I’m fucked here, she’s turned me right over. I gulp some champagne and am grateful that I wore my hair with a fringe today to hide under.
“Maybe bring them to the gallery tomorrow Martha? Could you help with that Sasha?” Bless him, he’s trying to help me backtrack a bit. I mean, sure come to the gallery and look at my ridiculous art, just not in my flat, not after this
“Oh, I can’t tomorrow, I’ve got to go to Chingford.” Fuck, I didn’t tell Martin I wouldn’t be in tomorrow, “and I have just realised that I didn’t tell Martin about that, sorry, just need to message him.” I fumble about for my phone. I hate forgetting stuff, getting shit wrong. Stupid girl.
Martin was fine. When you say that your dad died then anything after that is a free pass. I’m going to Chingford on my own. I haven’t even spoken to Gemma about any of this, so I couldn’t really just then ask her to pitch up and chaperone me to somewhere that is definitely Essex and not London. I could have asked Jimmy and that would have been lovely but he keeps taking time off work, often because of me. I think he might literally be an angel sent to save me from myself. So I need to get it together and have a plan. On the way home tonight I shall buy the posh ready mix gin and tonics for the train, none of this 5% bullshit, good solid 6.5% of juniper flavoured chemicals that cling to your tongue. I’ve some nicotine patches and I will have an emergency Tramadol or two on me. You’d think I was going to trek to a pole, for fucks sake.
I drink with Monty and Sash is entertained by his luscious TV. He doesn’t mention my drawings again and that is sweet. He tells me more about his life and I smile and nod. I don’t say much, I’m content absorbing. I am listening but the words don’t matter. I love his verve though, it’s uplifting. The champagne is horribly good, horrible in that I will never drink that shit Prosecco that Gemma brings round again. Except that I will. My mind wanders off to train stations and all the seemingly impossible barriers they will present tomorrow. Little bubbles of dread rise and pop in my throat. The champagne is too good and I know I have drunk way more than is sensible at this stage of the evening. I look over at Sash, sat on a footstool, kicking her legs up as she wallows in the light from the screen. I sense her utter abandon and wonder if I was ever like that when I was a kid. Perhaps my abandon was cancelled out by, well, the fucking abandonment. That seems too trite but it also makes sense right now.
“Come on, Sash, we should get off.” Of course she ignores me and I have to go to her and coax her away with promises of pizza and the posh garlic bread. I thank Monty for the drinks and for inviting me. He hugs me in a drunken, yet entirely sincere way. Me and Sash walk down the street hand in hand. So much is changing, so much is the same.