‘Wow, you look rough!’
That was how she greeted me, she was right though.
I nodded without taking my head out of my hands. Ellie made the order, hovered at the counter smiling judgmentally in my direction, and eventually brought the two steaming mugs over to where my body sat decaying.
‘Mate, you stink too!’
I didn’t react.
‘So, what happened that required the breakfast SOS?’ Ellie finally asked.
I raised my eyes, and offered a fraction of a smile.
‘Tim,’ I sighed.
‘Again? Jeez, Sam…’ my full-time friend, part-time counsellor, shook her head, as I deserved. ‘I won’t ask the gory details, how have you left it?’
She knew how I’d left it, it was barely mid-morning and I was sat with her in a coffee shop, slowly dying. Well, she knew the gist, she had no idea about the full ordeal. How I’d woken when the window cleaner bumbled against the uncovered window, staring in, as if we were some nature exhibit. How I’d lay there anyway, naked, with a clammy human draped over me, too busy trying not to weep or vomit to worry about his peeping. How it hadn’t been long before the pressure from my bladder, and the desire to leave, forced me to deal more actively with my situation. I could tell Ellie how I twisted with olympic standard finesse until Tim’s limbs were no longer weighing on my own. How I’d pulled my head into enough focus to survey the room, spotting my dress and shoes across the floor, my bag hanging from the doorknob. Ellie would probably be quite impressed by the delicate athleticism I’d displayed to gather each item as I stepped around the bed and towards the door. Turning to look at the wheezing lump I’d left behind, I’d spotted a ball of off-white material stuffed under one of his thighs, which could equally have been my knickers, or the dirty hanky he carried everywhere. I hated that thing. Either way, I wasn’t venturing to find out, so, unwilling to risk the noise of Tim’s ensuite, I’d slipped out of the room. I could tell her how I rolled the dress over myself, tip-toed down the stairs, and turned the key, reliably left in the door, to set myself free.
I could tell Ellie how, having achieved one of my needs, I instantly felt the overwhelming pressure of the other, took four huge strides round the corner of the house, hitched up the hem of my recently re-adorned garment, bent at the knees, and released.
I could tell her how it was there I began my Saturday, red-eyed and crouched over a drain while my bladder rapidly voided, with only a potted conifer concealing me from the bungalows opposite, and steam of my own making clouding around my bare backside.
‘I left him asleep,’ was all I said.
‘Cash on the bedside table?’ Ellie laughed at me again, and we both paused to drink our coffees.
‘You best get home and shower,’ she followed. ‘It’s Abbie’s christening at twelve.
My head dropped so fast toward the table that Ellie had to yank my mug away before I ended up face first in flat white.