Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Twenty Three
It’s 4.37pm and I’ve decided that spaghetti bolognese is the only way out of this hole. I can already feel the meaty goodness in my gob and feel an urgency to get it done. I text Gemma but there’s no response. I try Jimmy ‘really fancy spag bol Jimmy boy, you in? x’. His text comes back almost immediately, a thumbs up emoji and ‘will get garlic bread’. I have all the ingredients for once in my life, a result of my epic supermarket trek. My fridge hasn’t been this full for a long time. There are vegetables that aren’t covered in mould or have reduced themselves to a watery mush. You wouldn’t have thought that something like spinach could smell so bad as it disintegrates. I’ve had the correct dosage of brandy, which is actually not very much, a homeopathic dose. I chop an onion and wonder what Sash is doing with her dad right now. It’s at times like this that I miss her more than is reasonable. I mean, I don’t suppose Jimmy is going to hold me like a child and stroke my hair. Her dad takes her on educational trips to museums and stuff. I take her to pub beer gardens or let her sit on the periphery whilst I drink gin in the front room. I tell myself that this is also educational but I’m not sure if she needs to watch her mum drink and smoke cigarettes to have a more rounded upbringing. I know love is not activity based but today I feel like I have let her down in this respect at least. My mum took me to bingo once but I sulked so horribly that we had to leave early, me trailing home in her furious wake. I mean, who takes a nine year old to the fucking bingo? I felt bad after as I knew that mum was trying to do something nice for me, however clueless it was. I should at least start taking Sash to the library again. No doubt there will be a shit load of fines to pay. I used to flirt terribly with a young guy behind the counter at the library and he usually let me off the fines but he wasn’t there the last couple of times. I shall have to find another target.
I watch the onions jiggle in the pan, the heat lifting them up and dropping them back down. I open the packet of mince and put it next to the pan, ready to be browned. I get on my knees and rummage in a cupboard looking for a can of chopped tomatoes. I pull one out and stand up.
“Fucking hell Jimmy!” And there he is stirring away at the onions, his enormity squeezing all spare space out of the kitchen. How a man of that size can suddenly just appear is one of the ultimate mysteries of the physical universe, I’m sure. He looks at me and smiles, still stirring. I really want him to hold me in his massive gorilla arms. I crave safety and validation. I feel pathetic. The next day demons are sticking it to me, even this late in the day. I start breaking up the mince and placing it in the pan and Jimmy bashes it with the edge of the wooden spoon.
“How you feeling Jimmy boy?” I know he’s ok, he’s never had a hangover in his life. He nods.
“Yeah good Marth, good.”
“You don’t have to cook Jimmy boy.’ He nods some more.
“It’s fine, I like it.” I leave him to it and go into the living room to smoke. On the table are two glass bottles filled with something very red.
“Oh Jimmy boy, you legend, you made marys!” I don’t know what he puts in his bloody marys but they are the best. I still haven’t heard from Gemma, she looked fucking rough this morning, chances are she is still suffering. I text her again ‘spag bol and marys if you’re around babes xx’. This time she texts straight back. ‘be there in 15. just stopped vomming xx’ she really is a delight.
She told me all about Martin last night. I can remember the highlights. How he asked her out about 7 times before she said yes, that he came to the pharmacy to buy daft stuff just so he could see her (he panic bought wet wipes one time), how after a couple of months she realised that she actually liked him and how he’s taking her to Paris for her fortieth this year. I’d forgotten about that last one till just now. I was pissed off when she told me, I didn’t say anything, I just gave it away by looking tragically downcast.
“I know babes, I know we were gonna go Tenerife or something but he’s taking me to fucking Paris, you know?” she had said to me. And she was right. Romantic few days in Paris with your fella or doing shots then being sick on the beach in Playa de las Américas? I was jealous. Not of Paris. Not of Martin, obviously. She seemed so happy and in that moment, I fucking despised her for it.