I walked up to Kate’s door and waited for the man at reception to let me in.
‘Thank you.’ I said, smiling. Looking at the gym as I passed it quickly, walking towards the lift, I thought about how her flat made me want to be a better person.
Once on the fifth floor I walked to her door and knocked. The door opened from the force of my fist and she greeted me in the hallway. ‘Hi!’ She said, kissing me hello.
‘You do know that your flat makes me want to be a better person, right?’ She laughed. ‘No, I’m serious.’
We walked into the kitchen where she had a dinner for two set. ‘So I looked up this band on Facebook. They look quite random.’
‘They’re very good. They played at our company Christmas party.’
‘I like what you’re wearing by the way.’ I said, assessing Kate’s outfit. ‘Is it all one piece?’
‘Yeah, I’m really not sure about it. I can’t even button it in the back. I’ve literally been waiting for you to help me get dressed.’ I laughed. ‘Do you like it?’
‘Yes, a lot. It’s different.’
‘It’s the most Camden looking thing I could find at Topshop.’
I looked down at my rather conservative outfit. ‘Does Camden have a dress code?’
‘I don’t know. Everyone looks like they need a bath though.’
I grimaced. ‘I’m not going to fit in am I?’
‘Probably not, no. Can you help me button this?’
It was a black one-piece, shorts-top kind of thing. It was very pretty, and with Kate being tall and thin and blonde she looked amazing in it. ‘What happens if you need to use the toilet?’ I asked, struggling with the zipper.
‘See, this is what I’m also worried about.’
‘I mean, I’ll totally do this every time you need to go to the toilet.’
‘I think I have to go now. But I think it’s only because I know I can’t once I’m buttoned and zipped in. I should go now.’
‘Fine.’ I said, unzipping and unbuttoning her.
She emerged a minute later, beaming. ‘I got it on myself!’
‘Want me to cut the tag off then?’
‘Yes.’ She said, handing me scissors.
‘So…’ I said, pulling the tag out. ‘How are you?’ Kate had sent me a cryptic text about her ex-boyfriend having been in town and them having some huge fight.
We sat down and she poured us glasses of champagne. ‘Well. My ex-boyfriend came to visit me, and usually we have a laugh and sleep together but this time he basically said that he wanted to get back together now or breakup forever.’
‘Well, I don’t want to get back together now, but I assumed we would always get together again eventually. Basically he was here for three days and there was a lot of crying. Like, I’ve never cried that much in my life. It broke my heart. Letting him leave was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’ She said, her voice getting quieter with each word.
‘I’m sorry.’ I said, frowning. I hate when my friends are unhappy. I wanted to tell her that things would be alright, but I felt nothing but guilt that I was suddenly overwhelmed with feelings of heartbreak myself. Is this what it’s always going to be like? I wondered. I can’t listen to someone’s story about breaking up with someone without thinking about how miserable I was after breaking up with Dale. ‘I wish I could tell you that things are going to be alright, but you just have to accept that things are going to be totally shit for awhile.’ Why did I just say that?! I am a horrible friend.
‘I know.’ She said, putting salad on her plate. ‘I was such a mess when I went to work. I didn’t even try to hide how upset I was. My colleague was like, “Wow. You look like shit.” And I was like, “Yeah, thanks.”’
‘What a dick.’
‘No, actually the guys at work have been great. You’ll meet them tonight at the concert.’
‘Cool.’ I sighed. I literally couldn’t think of anything to say to her. Everything anyone said to me after my breakup ran through my head and none of it made any difference. There was nothing anyone could say to me when I was in that state which was consoling. ‘Kate, I’m really sorry about your ex-boyfriend. I do know how you feel, which is why I won’t try and make you feel better. That’s something that will happen eventually, but probably not as a result of what anyone says.’
‘So, am I going to see the guy from work you slept with?’
‘Yes. He’s pretty awkward though, just to warn you.’
We talked some more and I could see the distracted pain behind her eyes. ‘I think I know of something that might cheer you up.’
I got up and walked towards her laptop, my heart pounding. ‘Have you ever heard of the blog “Sex at Oxbridge”?’ I said, my voice wavering a bit.
‘No, what’s that?’
‘It’s this.’ I said, putting the laptop in front of her.
‘What, did you write this or something?’
‘Well, it’s not “or something”.’
‘Yeah. You’re in it.’
‘Yeah. Remember that weekend Kash was in town and everyone came around to mine and then we went out in Camden?’
I took the laptop and opened it to “The Weekend Trilogy” posts. ‘Oh my God! This is me!’ She said, excited. She read on, laughing out loud. ‘What else am I in?!’
‘I wrote about our night out at Abacus.’
‘Show me!’ She was more excited than I had expected. ‘This is amazing.’ She said, reading more. ‘Write more about me!’
I laughed. ‘I will. It kind of dropped off a bit, but I’m trying to get back into it.’
‘This has made my night.’
‘I’m glad… But, just to warn you – don’t read anything from about March to June of 2011.’
‘It’s all about my breakup with Dale and quite dark.’
‘Well now I have to read it.’
‘I didn’t want to say anything to you, but I suppose if you read it you’ll know that you aren’t the only one that’s felt this way. Though, your relationship was quite a bit more serious than mine was. Still. Um, I don’t know. I guess heartbreak is heartbreak.’
‘Yeah.’ She said, quietly.
‘Should we finish off the champers and head to Camden?’
‘I don’t even know where Camden is.’
She laughed. ‘Really?’
‘No! Of course I know where it is. Have you ever been to the Stables?’
‘It’s amazing. They have a gin house or something named after gin.’
‘Um. I’m in.’ She said.
We finished our drinks and booked a taxi to Camden. Once there we met her colleagues outside. After introductions her work mate said, ‘Oh, the band is just over there, I’m going to go say hello.’ He was clearly the connection between the band and them playing at the company party. I believe he’s flatmates with one of the band members. As he walked towards a group of men one of them turned around to hug him and my heat stopped.
The colour draining from my face, I turned to Kate and asked, ‘Who is that?’
‘Oh, that’s the lead singer.’