On Friday night I went out with one of my oldest friends in the whole universe.
I’ve known her since I was 14, back when I was blonde, and she was the boys’ favourite. We bonded over singing Nina Simone during P.E. lessons as we let somebody else go up to bat because NO, NO, NO! MISSISSIPPI GODDAMN- LET’S HARMONISE THAT ONE!
She is passionate and beautiful and fun. I met her off the train and couldn’t believe how stunning my friend looked, walking through Kings Cross like a pint-sized supermodel, full of so much life, so much love, and how, after eighteen months without seeing each other, it was as if we’d just done lunch together yesterday.
She told me I looked like a grown up. I told her she looked like someone off the telly. We laughed, and linked arms, and the crowds parted through sheer force of friendship as we started twelve different stories and didn’t finish any of them, battling to the front of the taxi cue with suitcases and bags and witty banter that sparkled with memories.
I was dimly aware of the cabbie watching us through the rear view mirror of his ride as we headed to dinner. He smirked for the entire journey to the restaurant, listening to us, all, so then he said… and then I said… and she was like… and simply nodding, “Let’s just call that a straight fiver, then,” as we didn’t even break breath to open the door into the rain, leaving him to his night so that we could continue on to tackle ours.
We met my friend’s sister and her friend, and OH HEY SEX AND THE CITY. The four of us sat over bottle of wine after bottle of wine, picking up those twelve different stories at intermittent points, examining them in irrelevant detail before somebody exclaimed, NICE NIAL POLISH! and we got distracted by the finer points of Shellac versus mani-at-the-Chinese-place-on–the-corner and OHMYGOD HAVE YOU SEEN WHO JUST GOT ENGAGED? IT’S ALL OVER FACEBOOK! I CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T TELL YOU!
When the waitress came over we had to confess that actually, we hadn’t even looked at the menu.
Forty-five minutes after entering the restaurant we all ordered what we had said we were going to have in the first place, forty-four minutes ago. Of course, after declaring you’ll have the fish you then have to go through everything on the menu by way of elimination, thinking at length about the risotto and arriving back at the John Dory only as soon as the server presses for a decision because GOD IT ALL LOOKS SO GOOD! Could I get a side of mash potato, too? Sorry- what were we saying? Oh yes, so then I text him and said…
It’s not even about the food, really. It’s about what exactly the right face shape for the Scousebrow is. The meaning behind when he maybe-sorta-kinda tried to hold your hand. It’s daddy issues, the difficulties in getting a decent bra that doesn’t cost a fortune, women at work, boys at work, how good the goat’s cheese is. It’s should we have pudding, or another bottle?
By the time the waitress asked us to leave because, urm yeah, we’re kind of closing now, it was unanimously agreed that we’d seek out free drinks where one of us had once slept with the barman, because somebody has always slept with the barman. And goddamn if strawberry shortcake cocktails don’t taste better when they’re free, and the man serving them is winking and blushing a lot.
When girls get together somebody always wants to dance- everybody always wants to dance, past a certain point- and I think it’s the law that for every group of bumping and grinding girls there has to be one allocated Turkish man who thinks he stands a chance. On a proper girls’ night real men know to stay well away. That much I know to be true.
By 2 a.m. one of us wanted to go home, which meant everyone leaving together because that’s what proper friends do. Unite. Unite and stand in the cold, flagging down taxis and looking as night bus timetables and air kissing and laughing from the belly and saying ohmygod, we CAN’T leave it this long next time, love you- kisses- byeeeeeeee!
Whatever the last word is is never actually the last word, though, since somebody has to be responsible for turning around and shouting down the street AND TEXT ME TO LET ME KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE BOY/THE MEETING/THE MOVE/THE APPLICATION.
It was on this Friday night, the one after I went with one my oldest friends in the whole universe, that I had that incomparable, overwhelming brilliant feeling of cor blimey. Girls are a bit bloody good, aren’t they?
I don’t know why we do leave it so long.
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