Monday, September 14, 2015

Cassie's story - Letters To Myself

Hi guys, here it is, Monday again. It’s been a busy week for me, with moving to a new apartment, and then travelling to the UK. Here it is around 20C cooler, but has been sunny at least. Today however is overcast with occasional showers, very different to the unchanging weather of Hughada. My allergies are kicking in with relish – all this grass and pollen is making the membranes in my sinus’ swell in protest. My eyes are itching, my nose is running and my throat is itchy. And that is with taking antihistamines. But in a couple of weeks it will settle down somewhat. Nothing is perfect is it? I love the grass and the flowers, but I’m highly allergic to grass, can’t walk on it in bare feet or sit on it, and the pollen is attacking my body with what feels like single minded determination.

Well, since it’s Monday it’s not about me, it’s about Cassie, and today, Saffron, who has been enjoying the alcoholic choices at the restaurant with reckless disregard for the next day.

I studied the flushed cheeks and glassy eyes of Saffron with concern. I had tried with the bread starters and a pasta main to help her soak up the alcohol but it did not seem to have had much of an effect. Saffron had knocked back her cocktail, insisted I finish mine and then proceeded to drink most of our bottle of wine. Now, despite the physical evidence of inebriation, she was studying the dessert menu with what seemed to be a steady hand and eyes that could still decipher the printed word – in fact she seemed to be steadier than I was. I had no head for alcohol, especially spirits, and drinking two cocktails plus the wine had caused a decided shift in my centre of gravity.

Leaning over the table Saffron pointed to something called Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cake. “That looks amazing don’t you think?”

I read the description – hot chocolate mud cake drizzled with marshmallow and topped with cream, ice-cream and chocolate sauce. “It looks rich and sweet, and must have a bazillion calories. Do you think it’s a good idea?”

Her flushed cheeks became even more rosy as Saffron glared at me. “Yes I do. Who am I trying to look good for anyway? A husband who’s never home? Bah, I want chocolate and I shall have it. What about you Cassie, chocolate too?”

I shook my head, I was feeling light headed and was sure a rich dessert would curdle in my alcohol soaked stomach. “No, I like the look of the strawberry cheesecake.”

“That’s boring Cassie, you should try something different. If you want strawberries why don’t you have this? It’s a strawberry meringue cake.”

I looked at the menu. It did sound nice, and was probably lighter than cheesecake. “OK, I’ll get that.”

Saffron waved at the waiter and called out, “Yoohoo! Cute waiter guy! Yes you! Can we order dessert please?”

I cringed back in my chair as heads turned to look at us. Hoping that none of tonight’s patrons were customers at the coffee van I tried to disappear behind my menu as the waiter approached, a huge grin on his face. I watched as Saffron flirted with him, batting her eyes and pushing out her generous bust. He seemed to love the attention, I hoped he wasn’t going to try to get her phone number.

I groaned inwardly when she added another bottle of wine to the order but didn’t say anything until the waiter had hurried away. “Are you sure we should have another bottle Saffie? It would be nice to have coffee to finish off the night.”

Saffron narrowed her eyes at me, which given their glassy state gave her an expression akin to a serial murderer. “What gives Cassie? You’re being a spoil sport tonight. We don’t have to work tomorrow so it doesn’t matter if you have a bit of a hangover. How often do either of us have a blowout?”

“Well, not very often that’s true.”

“So come on Cassie, let’s relax and forget about everything, just for a few hours.”

I studied her for a long moment. How long had it been since I enjoyed a night out without worrying about consequences? Since I married Nathan, never – it didn’t pay to drink too much with him, I had always had to stay alert and aware. I hadn’t realized until this moment how much of a habit it had become. Dinner with Matt was probably the closest I had come to forgetting myself.

Perhaps it was the alcohol already consumed, but I heard myself saying, “You’re right Saffie, it will do us both good to relax and enjoy ourselves.”

Saffron beamed at me, then turned to the waiter who had chosen that moment to return with the fresh wine bottle. “Did you hear that cute waiter? We are going to have fun tonight!”

He smiled at her, his gaze lingering a little too long on her cleavage, which was displayed to advantage in her low cut top. However his response was proper waiter talk. “That’s good news madam, I hope you both have a good night.” He poured the wine into two fresh glasses and left to attend to some other people.

Saffron’s gaze followed him across the room. “He’s very cute isn’t he? I wonder if he has a girlfriend.”

Oh dear. “Here comes dessert Saffie, we had better eat that before we drink any more or the wine is going to taste horrid after all that sugar.”

Fortunately she was distracted by dessert and seemed to lose interest in the waiter. We finished our delicious treat before starting our wine, and while it felt odd to be drinking wine instead of coffee or a liqueur after dessert, I decided to just go with it.  

 “You know you’re my besht friend ever don’t you Cassie.”

Saffron came around the table and enveloped me in a perfumed hug. She hugged me so hard I was in danger of asphyxiation by cleavage, but I was touched by the gesture.

“You too Saffie, I don’t know where I would be now without you.” Overwhelmed by this moment, surely a moment I would remember forever I felt emotional tears spring, and wiped my eyes on the edge of her top before extricating myself.

“We are invinshable together Cassie, invinshable!”

I nodded, I agreed completely. “We are invinsh, invinsha, invish – amazing together!” My tongue seemed to be having trouble forming certain words, probably because the wine in this new bottle was so icy cold.

Saffron beamed at me, her smile seeming to spread out across her entire face. I squinted, no, it was right where it normally was. That was reassuring. Her gaze switched to the side of the room. “Cassie, look! They have a DJ! We can dance!” She watched, entranced, as the preparations were made to change the restaurant to a night club. No, that couldn’t be right. Surely there would be people coming in wanting dinner. I studied my watch with more intensity than I usually needed because the numbers seemed to swirl around before settling into their accustomed positions.

“Saffie, it’s 2 am! How did it get so late? Didn’t we only have one bottle of wine after dessert?”

Saffron glanced at me and shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe more than one.” As the music started she jumped up, stumbled and sat down abruptly, stood up again and swung around to pull me to my feet. “Come on, let’s dance!”

I looked at the dance floor, the dim lights, the people already dancing, and threw what was left of my caution to the winds. Picking up my glass I drained it before following her onto the dance floor. I was having fun, who cared about tomorrow? 

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