WARNING: Contains graphic vomiting images and scenes of a cringe worthy nature.
And there they were. As sharp and painful as expected. The very words that sum up every girl’s worst nightmare:
‘He’s got a new girlfriend’.
In true female fashion, the word had gotten round to me about the new girl quicker than I could find out her name, facebook stalk her and figure out a way to kill her. So in all fairness, I had been warned. Mum’s wise words are the only ones so far that have stopped me carrying out any plans for murder: ‘Your heart may be broken darling, but as long as you move on with a little grace and dignity it won’t hurt quite as much’.
We’ll see about that.
Mutual friends meant that of course I knew there would come a time where such a social situation would be unavoidable; I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. Ten years or thereabouts seemed a far more reasonable amount of time for me to have stopped crying myself to sleep every night, and every morning, and every time one of our songs came on the radio…
Five of us cram ourselves in front of the mirror, nestling between each other’s arms and under legs to find a space; we almost have the girls’ night out routine perfected, minus the occasional mascara-brush poke in the eye. Dressed in full ‘meeting the ex for the first time’ attire – that being, not a lot at all - I position my breasts as close to my chin as I can get them, straighten my hair for the fifth time and apply another layer of fake tan.
‘Jonny Allsop’s gonna be there tonight Jen.’ Katie exclaims excitedly.
The girls nudge each other and coo at the thought of being in the same room as the guy we so creatively call ‘all abs Allsop’.
‘Oh...right.’ I reply, not able to feign even a hint of enthusiasm.
‘Oh right? He’s fit Jen.’
‘He’s also a bit of a twat.’
‘Well he likes you.’ Katie insists.
‘I don’t think so.’ I reply dismissively.
‘And Richard Marden never stops talking about you,’ Lauren pipes up.
Well he’s as straight as a hula hoop.
‘Nice try girls,’ I smile weakly.
The taxi journey consists of a bottle of pink zinfandel going from full to well, not so full, given five minutes in my hands - and just as the gushing of bubbles down my throat begin to blur my vision, we arrive. I pull my tight black dress up to make sure my bum is completely covered, then down to ensure my cleavage is as visible as possible, then up again before my breasts fall out for all to see. Then, with a supportive push from my friend I stumble through the doors to the party.
And that’s when my heart stops beating.
I haven’t had a seizure and fallen to the floor, unfortunately. I’ve just clocked my gorgeous ex-boyfriend with his muscles bulging like balloons ready to pop under his bright white t-shirt. His tanned skin a deep chestnut brown and those bright blue eyes resemble the Aquarius gemstone I never take from around my neck, courtesy of the man himself. Oh those eyes. Those eyes I’d looked into longingly for years, eyes that caught my attention the very first time I saw them, eyes that now look at me in the exact same way as everyone else’s as I stagger through the door. Yes, those eyes.
I make my way towards the bar as gracefully as possible in black 6” stilettos and prop myself up against it. I recognise my friends gathered together in a ‘we’re not talking about how awkward this is…honest’ kind of way.
‘Where is she then?’ I slur a few decibels louder than intended.
I follow my friends’ stare across the room and…Ohhh. There it is. That kick in the stomach I’ve been waiting for. It hurts a lot more than I’d imagined.
He twirls her golden curls round his long slender fingers and runs them down her furry cheeks as her shrill hyena laugh echoes through the room. He gently strokes her arm and then her back until moving his hand down towards her...oh this is brilliant, her gigantic arse!
Well, didn’t her mother ever tell her that horizontal stripes do nothing for the figure – especially not for such sizeable females. I thought this was common knowledge? I had obviously been brought up far better than this and was very much aware that if I had two tyres settled around my stomach like that, I would still be running a million miles from such black and white striped disarray. How could I have been far too focused on her perfect blonde tresses to notice that her muffin tops had muffin tops? Note to self: must be more observant, even in drunken state.
I smile to myself and stare into the dregs of wine I’m circling round in the bottom of my glass. A heavy arm is thrown around my shoulder and as a low familiar voice speaks at me, a warm gust of beer burp blows into my face.
‘Nice to see you’re all right with this’, he says.
‘What’s that?’ I ask, fully aware as to what he is referring.
‘Y’know, Lewis and his new Mrs, he seems really happy don’t he – says she’s a fantastic shag!’
Lew’s best friend Sam - tactful as ever.
He points to the pair as they’ve found themselves a quiet corner, to stare into each other’s eyes and exchange saliva.
‘Come for a dance later babes’, Sam slaps my arse and stumbles towards the dance floor, his pint of beer spilling from the top of his glass with every step.
Please tell me it’s raining in here, else the torrents of water falling down my face right now would imply that I’m crying, and that’s the last thing I need.
The actual last thing I need at this very moment is for Lewis to tap me on the shoulder. He taps me on the shoulder.
‘Oh Hi’ I blurt, in as convincing an ‘I didn’t know you were going to be here’ voice as I can manage.
‘Long time no see’, he whispers as he wraps his big arms tightly around me.
My legs go to jelly.
‘Wow, you look so skinny’.
Really? Might that be because I feel sick at the sight of anything edible since you dumped me twenty-four days, 3 hours and fifteen minutes ago?
I look down at myself, pull my dress up again and half smile.
What do I say, what do I say?!
‘It’s really good to see you Jen.’
You’ve still got nothing? Really?
‘I’d better go, shall we catch up later?’
‘OK!’ I manage to call after him.
Brilliant. Well that went well.
In my friends’ true supportive, or more accurately, gossip bitch style, they are straight over to drag me to the loo; firstly to put away my bra, secondly to wipe the lipstick from my teeth and finally to unpick the ins and outs of that awkward conversation.
Now a bottle of wine and three sambuca shots up, I’m blubbering at myself in the mirror.
‘He did say I looked skinny!’ I snivel, wiping the snot from my chin.
‘Well…there we go then!’ a well-rehearsed chorus from the girls.
‘Why is he even with her? I mean, she might be all right to look at, but she’s crammed herself into that dress!’
‘Oh come on, someone laugh – please?!’
As I look up at the mirror to rub the tear stained foundation back into my blotchy face, who stares right back at me but her - Blondie.
I guess I should be scared, an angry looking thing twice the size of me with raging bull eyes staring my way. But only one thought comes to my mind as the first real smile of the evening reaches my lips.
‘I’m sorry, but those stripes aren’t doing a single thing for your big fat arse.’ I exclaim, as I stumble towards her, and vom, all over her dress.
Yes, that’s right, sick all over her dress and she laughs.
‘I think you missed a bit’ she comments calmly and smugly, pushing a pudgy hand towards me to display an enormous diamond ring attached to her fat finger.
I’d heard of the green eyed monster, but I didn’t know it was physically possible to turn such a colour. Pink zinfandel gurgles in my stomach again and does an Olympic champion somersault before sending bubbly red lava gushing to eruption which explodes profusely, covering the tiles.
A few wretches and groans echo round the walls before a large lump of toilet roll is forced into my hands and I wipe it across my mouth. Taking a deep breath, I remember Mum’s advice. I fling my long auburn locks over my shoulder and march out of the toilet in silence through the gap in horrified females that has been made for me.
You’re right Mum, there’s nothing like moving on with a little grace and dignity still very much intact.
Not sure it counts when it’s all over the floor, though.
Please note: This is not a representation of real life events. Well, not really.