"Oh hello, darling, guess what."
"What?" I muttered sulkily.
"How would you like a little baby sister or brother?"
I shrank under the duvet, shaking.
"A little baby!" she yelled. " A new life! Imagine!"
"And would that be a little pink Daddy-style little baby or a great big Kikuyu Tribesman-style little baby," I wanted to snarl. But instead I didn't say anything.
"Bridget," she said icily. "You are not to go quiet on the phone. It is not funny or clever. It's just silly."
"Where would the lovely baby brother or sister come from?" I said, sulkily. "Under a gooseberry bush?"
"Nobody eats gooseberries any more, darling, it's cranberries now. I'm going to have it. It's amazing what they can do with the eggs these days. They can actually get them out and freeze them like quiches."
A horrible vision flashed before me of some Orwellian-meets-Delia-Smith Ladies' Luncheon with Mum, Una, and Penny Husbands-Bosworth and several Portmeirion egg-coddlers inventing new ways with oestrogen, cranberries and post-menopausal eggs
"Did you hear about the woman in Brazil who had her little baby in her late sixties or was it 70? Look at Helen Mirren, the sexiest woman in the world at 51! Even better than Babyspice or Babywatch (sic) or whatever. Everything's just moving on now darling. It's so much better to give birth when one's ready rather than women wasting their young lives having children in their thirties and forties. Ooh. Must whizz. Una's left a pan of milk on."
Humph. She doesn't say all this stuff when Una is torturing me about the biological clock does she? "Tick tock tick tock." It is one rule for her, and one rule for everybody else.
Anyway do not care as am going for lunch. Monday 26 May Lunch was non-vg not the least because Jude had asked bloody Rebecca along.
"I bet she arrives on the phone," sniggered Shaz, and sure enough, Rebecca drew up with one finger on the wheel and the other holding the phone to her ear. She got out, rolling her eyes at someone who had the nerve to be walking past when she was on the phone, crossed the road without paying any attention to cars so they had to screech to a halt, did a little pirouette as if to say "F *** off everyone this is my personal space," then walked smack into an old lady with a shopping trolley and completely ignored her.
"Hi! How're yew?" she said, sitting down and immediately starting to dial again. "Hi. Oh God. Like, how are you?"
Next thing Jude's phone rings. "Richard!" she goes, then starts talking in a low voice and glowering at us as if to say, "Look. I am trying to talk to Vile Richard. Could you all just, like, leave."
"Hi, how're yew?" Looked up in alarm to find Sharon was now talking triumphantly on her portable phone .
"Yup, yup, yup, yup," went Rebecca.
"I just simply don't see why, after four years we can't spend the night together," hissed Jude.
"No!" shrieked Shazzer. "I don't believe it."
I sat quietly, wondering what to do. It is not that I have never had a portable phone but after I left it in a phone box in Ledbury Rd in March I have not been able to afford another.
"Oh God sorry," said Rebecca, putting the phone down on the table. " Oh. Hang on," She took out her Filofax and started jabbing about with the buttons.
"What are you doing?" I said, by way of conversation.
"Programming in my 10 frequent numbers. Really, really interesting choosing, actually. One of the few occasions - almost like rite of passage - when as a single person one is able to recognise," she looked up as if noticing me for the first time, "and to an extent formalise, categorise one's 'family' in the sense of urban support network."
Then she went back to the jabbing and flicking. I watched expectantly. Surely she would turn to "J" soon? "Have you got Tom's number?" she barked. I muttered the six digits and she programmed them in. Then she snapped the Filofax shut with a self-satisfied grin and popped the phone into her bag, at which it started to ring again. I stared crestfallen into my Campari. Rebecca had not put me in her list of 10 numbers. After 45 minutes of a not very satisfactory time, I decided to go round to Tom's as had promised to do his fake tan for him.
"Won't be a mojo, Bridgelene," he yelled, changing into his swimming trunks.
I looked immediately for the phone. Hah! Sure enough. Tom had list of numbers programmed in. He at least would surely have me quite high up.
This is what list said:
Greg (I mean who in the name of arse is "Greg" when he's at home?).
Francesca (fright-witch who walks his dog).
Did not like to say anything as knew Tom would just lie that I was such a good friend he never forgot my number. But truth is, in people's extended family of Singletons am clearly sort of redundant maiden great half aunt or lunatic. Got back home miserable to find answerphone flashing.
"Oh hello darling. It's Mum here. Una and I were wondering how you'd feel about being a surrogate! A surrogate! Imagine."
Humph. Maybe that is only way left of finding someone who really loves me. Pretty much everyone puts mother first on list of phone numbers. I wonder how much Mum and Una would be prepared to pay? Think will have a little drinkynReuse content