41: “He’s still in touch with his piano teacher?”

Tallulah had been dating Chad for a few months. Things were going relatively well, or as well as could be expected considering they rarely saw each other and had only a few things in common. Tallulah wasn’t sure she really cared. She didn’t care that she never saw him and she didn’t really care when she did see him. It was fine and she got the impression that he felt the same way. She was more than happy to continue on this way, perfectly content to be semi-single for the indefinite future. But then Chad ended things so that he could get together with someone else, as she explained to Priscilla, Sybil, and Suze after jazzercise one night.

“He broke things off so that he could go out with his piano teacher,” Tallulah explained to the blank stares of her friends.

“He’s still in touch with his piano teacher?” Sybil asked after a moment, getting to what Tallulah hadn’t really considered the point of the story.

“They have lessons every week,” Tallulah explained in answer, hoping that, now that it had been settled, they would be able to get back on track.

“You mean to tell me that he’s currently taking piano lessons?” Suze demanded, shocked.

“He’s been taking them since grade seven,” Tallulah replied.

“He’s taken them for over a decade?!” Suze retorted, even more outraged than before. “I mean, yeah, he’s clearly just going for the booty. He should be a fucking concert pianist by now.”

Having never heard him play, Tallulah couldn’t really speak to his level of ability. Though, in hindsight, it did seem rather unlikely that he’d actually been getting much practice in.

Tallulah organized a night out for all her single friends. Essentially, that included Helen, Rosalyn, Jemima, and Suze. Jemima brought her friends from work and both Priscilla and Sybil invited themselves. In fact, they invited Bernie and Iggy as well, but Bernie had other plans and Iggy had the audacity to turn up with Miles.

“This is single ladies only,” Tallulah protested to her sister, Sybil, and Iggy as they stood by the door. “You can’t come. You’re not single.”

She was looking directly at Priscilla.

“No, but this is my home,” she pointed out, rolling her eyes.

“Well, none of you are single either,” Tallulah said, turning to Sybil and Iggy with her hands on her hips. Neither of them backed down.

“I feel slightly unwanted,” Miles said.

“Good,” was Tallulah response to that. She even felt that Helen, as she was dating two separate men, was not single enough to be in attendance, but as Helen herself had pointed out, she was far from committed to either of them. She was playing the field. She said this literally every time Tallulah saw her so Tallulah got the sense that it wasn’t going very well, not that she was surprised. Walt was simultaneously the most boring person on the face of the earth and way too interesting for his own good. And Nicholas owned far too many turtlenecks.

Tallulah lead Iggy and Miles into the living room as Priscilla and Sybil headed off to the kitchen to get drinks. Miles was looking a bit put-out, likely because of Tallulah’s fairly harsh welcome. Chances were he had begun to cotton on to the fact that he was about to spend the evening severely outnumbered. As such, he was looking a little sorry for himself, and that was even before Jemima’s new friends from work tore into him.

“Hey, Charles in Charge!” Bobby called out to him from her place on the living room floor. “What’s your damage?”

“Well I don’t love that,” Miles said to Iggy, who only laughed at him.

“You really think he looks like Scott Baio?” She asked Bobby.

“He looks more like Scott Baio than present-day Scott Baio does,” Bobby returned flatly. “I almost wish that Scott Baio had a larger cannon of work for me to reference.”

“Surely he was on Celebrity Rehab,” Jemima offered.

“I slightly resent this,” Miles interjected bitterly, expression grim.

“It’s alright, Joanie Loves Chachi, I’m sure you have many good qualities,” Bobby told him, apparently finding another Scott Baio reference to make. Mo gave her a high-five.

They went to a karaoke bar. Tallulah had reserved a private room. It was small and the walls were lined with fake wood-panelling. Tallulah performed a lot of Queen, but it wasn’t nearly as much Abba as Jemima performed. Of course, there were copious drinks being served, which helped lubricate the vocal chords and did nothing to inhibit anybody. They were asked to leave four times after their allotted time had ended. Even then, it took a great amount of coaxing, and even bribery, to get Jemima to put the mic down.

“Karaoke may have been a bad idea,” Tallulah admitted to Priscilla as they struggled to do up their coat buttons on their way out. “I forgot how much Jemima loves Abba.”

“Jemima loves Abba more than Abba loves Abba,” Priscilla replied and Tallulah laughed uncontrollably until they got to the next bar.

The following morning was a rough one for Tallulah. She was pleased to find that it was a rough one for all her friends, even Miles. He and Iggy had slept on their living room floor overnight and he woke up grumpy as hell and shouting about glitter.

“I can’t remember very much of last night,” Iggy informed her friends blearily, rubbing at the smudged eye make-up underneath her eyes. “All I really know is that we went to karaoke and then to that gay club and I’ve woken up covered in glitter.”

No one was more upset about the glitter than Miles, but he was faring much better than Jemima, who burst into the apartment forty minutes later, red-faced and smelling of the crisp winter air. She was still wearing her coat and Tallulah could see the patterned tights she’d worn the night before. They’d lost her and her friends sometime the night before, but Tallulah was having a hard time recalling when exactly that had been.

“You look good,” Tallulah observed. It was the first time she’d spoken all morning. She could feel her tongue more than normal and it was bizarre. It felt swollen, like it was suddenly too big for her mouth. She had no idea what to do about that.

“I woke up on the steps of that massive Catholic church this morning,” Jemima explained, beginning to take off her coat. “An elderly woman kicked me in the head by accident as she was trying to step over me on her way to mass.”

“Oh my,” Iggy replied faintly.

“I’m also covered in mysterious red stuff,” Jemima continued, showing them her bare forearms to prove her point. “At first I thought it was blood and panicked that I’d, like, murdered a hooker or something, but it seems way too fluorescent to be blood on second glance.”

“That would be a lot of blood,” Tallulah pointed out. “You’d definitely be dead if it was yours.”

It was all over Jemima’s left arm. It really was shockingly neon.

“That’s red sauce from the Chinese place on the corner of Cambridge and London downtown,” Miles informed Jemima. “You must’ve gone there after the bar.”

“And what? Painted her body with sweet and sour sauce?” Iggy snorted.

“Hey, no judgement,” Miles held up his hands. “It happens to the best of us. None of us are at our finest when we go there. It’s not a restaurant fit for sobriety, let’s just say that.”

“I feel a bit ill,” Jemima admitted, coming to sit down next to Tallulah on the couch. “Though it’s hard to say if that’s because of the dodgy Chinese food or because, last night, I drank everything.”

“Probably both,” Tallulah assured her. Jemima nodded tiredly, resigning herself to the consequences of her dumb decisions. Although, she was arguably doing better than Priscilla, who finally emerged from the bathroom after being in their for at least an hour.

“Where the hell did you disappear to?” Iggy asked when Priscilla returned to the living room, throwing herself in one of the armchairs and closing her eyes.

“I took an accidental nap in the bathroom,” Priscilla answered, still with her eyes closed, head tipped back.

“An accidental nap?” Iggy repeated incredulously.

“Do you think I would sleep on a toilet on purpose?” Priscilla retorted, which was very telling.

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