She watched her friend’s train pull away with an odd mixture of hope and hassle. In a way it was the ideal parting that left no time for ever-increasing goodbyes to work their way up to the size of a tumbleweed that they’d have to awkwardly hug around; but ultimately disappointing that there wasn’t enough time to hug at all and pay homage to her brilliance with snotty tears and rambling. There is no greater compliment. Her friend has a supernatural knack of transforming her tiny house into that little bit more of a home whenever she visits. Just by being in it. Like an open fire everyone warms themselves up against. And that sort of magic transcends earthly description. But thank her, she did. And for pushing ajar the doors of their pasts and helping release some unwelcome residue back into the psychological wild.
Even her wee one continued to grieve her absence all week. She would lie up on her parents’ bed and look out through the window forlornly declaring that she missed her, as an apropos of staring into the middle distance. All very film noir until the thumb was popped back in the gob. She’s so wonderful with her, and the little one only revels in her rays of good humour that detonate her own in return.
It’s now day three of their new healthy living pact but she’s feeling the benefits already. She got such a fright when she stepped on the scales that it knocked the hunger pangs clean off her. They must’ve skedaddled a right distance, even in their grossly unfit state, as there’s no sign of them re-appearing. Not even for a sneaky Curly Wurly, or a muffin, which is closer to the wholesome home-baked goods end of the confectionery spectrum and other misinformation for which she also has a fatal weakness.
No, make no mistake, she thinks, (She stole this from a colleague as it sounds a convincing opener. But then she also once believed that female police officers couldn’t carry guns during PMT) this is a novel shift. Less the temporary euphoria of her usual new beginnings of yore, than a recognition of a change of enemy. She teared-up on the scales but hasn’t looked back since. She drove home, past the petrol station she had eyed-up on the way over, counting up every pound as a self-inflicted stab-wound on her worth. So whatever way she’s managed to reconcile emotion with reason, she’s already feeling lighter, and willing to plod the long road back to health.
Fear not, she emphatically has no notion of defecting to the evangelical side, and vows to continue scoffing mildly at the group talk while clapping a little too enthusiastically at John shedding that four pounds. “Round of applause for John, everyone”. Come on. That’s still pretty impressive whichever side of the sneering fence you’re sitting on, she thinks, forgiving her stray into high-fiving territory. She also thinks there’d better be serious whooping and hollering for her next week. It’ll be like re-writing school history. Take that, Sr. Gabriel! Two fucking pounds!
No, she hasn’t surrendered the compulsion to find the comedy in everything. But sometimes the jokes aren’t funny anymore, not even the one about her Jack Charlton comb-over; and no-one laughed at her crying. Just wait till she gets that half-stone pink certificate and then they’ll all see who’s the loser.