Kate had been one of those people at Oxbridge that had always been in the same circle or friends but whom I’d rarely associated with. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her, it was just that I was closer with other people like Lad Boy and Ube. That all changed when we moved to London.
It started when Lad Boy had a dinner at my house and Kate came along. I quickly realised that she was basically a taller, blonder version of myself. She had been in a relationship the entire time we were in Oxbridge, but had since split from her boyfriend. It was only when she started telling us stories about guys she brought home that I came up with a brilliant plan. ‘We should definitely go out one night together.’ I suggested.
‘Absolutely.’ She agreed. Our love of German men and drinking had made us immediate best friends.
It took about a month for these plans to materialise, but we had decided that one magical Thursday not too long ago would be The Night.
When are you finished with work? xx I had texted her.
Five. Want to meet at Old Street? We can go to that German bar! xxx
That plan … is … BRILLIANT. See you at 17:30 xxx
At 17:35 I was teetering in heels towards the Shoreditch Cafe where we had agreed to meet. I spotted her sprinting out of one of the exits at Old Street. ‘Kate!’ I called. She turned around and I mocked a panicked face. ‘I’m laaate!’ She started laughing and stood waiting for me. I kissed her hello once I reached her and said, ‘Where to, Miss Kate?’
‘To ze Germans.’
‘Yah, darling.’ I agreed and we made our way to the Bavarian Bar.
Sat in the middle of the room with our mini-steins we lamented over the lack of hot Germans.
‘This is a bit too German.’ Kate said as we looked around at old fat men drinking beer.
‘I know. Where are the hot Germans?’
‘Those people look hot but they also look like banker wankers.’ I paused then looked at Kate’s face. ‘No offense.’ She had taken the stereotypical banking route post Oxbridge.
‘None taken. Most of the guys I work with are total wankers.’
Finishing off our first and last beer of the evening we surveyed the room once more. ‘I want to work here.’ I said.
‘I kind of do too a little bit.’ Kate agreed, nodding. ‘We would definitely find the hot Germans that way.’
‘Definitely. But tonight, that doesn’t look to be the case.’
‘No.’ She said, shaking her head. ‘Let’s do one.’
We wandered out of the Bavarian Bar and began walking down the street, ‘What next? I haven’t been out around Old Street a lot.’ I asked.
‘Be at One Bar?’
‘You mean Bar One?’
‘No, Be. At. One. Bar.’ She said slowly, pointing across the street at a sign that said “B@1 Bar”.
‘… I always thought that said “Bar One” …’ I said. I had been to the one in Richmond more than once and stared at the sign in concentrated confusion.
‘Read much?’ She mocked.
‘Apparently not. I literally can’t believe that I’ve been misreading that sign for the better part of forever.’
‘Awkward that we went to the same uni.’
‘I’ve completely just devalued our degrees haven’t I?’
‘Just a little bit.’
‘Sorry.’ I said, sadly.
She laughed. ‘Come on, you mentalist.’
‘My ex use to call me that.’ I said, pushing through the door to the bar.
‘Shocking.’ She said flatly as she followed me in.
‘You mock, but I literally feel like I have to actively turn off my crazy sometimes.’
‘Don’t we all.’
‘That’s why I don’t take the pill. It makes me feel mental. “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”‘ I shouted, quoting Zoolander. Kate laughed and the bartender raised his head, switching his attention from the pint he was pouring to me. I smiled and he smiled back. ‘I’ll stop embarrassing you now.’ I said to her and we took a seat at a table.
‘What should we have?’ I asked, perusing the drinks menu.
I closed the menu. ‘Sorted.’
‘And by champagne I mean cava.’
‘No Veuve?’ I joked.
She laughed. ‘Not today, no.’
‘Sadness.’ I said with an unhappy face.
‘I think we’ll survive.’
‘If we must.’ I said, exasperatedly. [Sidenote: word dictionary says that “exasperatedly” is a word … I still have my doubts.]
She got up to get the drinks and returned shortly. The bartender followed with a bucket of ice and a bottle of cava. As he set it up he asked, ‘What are we celebrating tonight, ladies?’
Kate and I looked at each other and shrugged. ‘Germany.’ I said, picking the first thing I could think of out of the air.
He raised his eyebrows. ‘Really? Why’s that?’
‘No particular reason. Aside from the fact that we just … love Germans?’ I said as a question, looking at Kate.
‘Sounds accurate.’ She said.
‘Fair enough.’ He said, opening the bottle and pouring us two glasses.
‘Cheer-ahs.’ I said, clinking my glass to hers. ‘To us!’
‘To us.’ She stated and took a sip.
‘Ugh.’ She said, rolling her eyes.’
‘The cava isn’t that bad.’ I said.
‘Not the cava!’ She frowned. ‘The cava is delicious.’
‘Agreed. What’s wrong then?’
‘My friend is pregnant.’
‘Ew.’ I said as an immediate reaction.
‘I know.’ She replied.
‘I mean, having a child eventually would be okay, but I can’t even imagine what having a child would be like now. Is she going to keep it?’
‘I don’t know. The doctor said that she was actually quite likely to miscarry the baby.’
‘Really?’ I asked in shock.
‘Apparently.’ Kate said. ‘I thought the same thing.’
‘Well that’s kind of weird.’
‘Apparently a lot of pregnancies are miscarried.’
‘Well that’s worrying. I mean, just think, we spend so much energy trying not to get pregnant. Can you imagine if once you did want to get pregnant that you couldn’t?’
‘Kind of scary.’
‘Really scary. I mean, just because I don’t want children now – I mean, who does? – doesn’t mean that I don’t want to eventually have the option to have one.’ I said, sipping my cava.
‘I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant.’ Kate said, staring at her cava.
‘I don’t even want to think about it. I mean, it’s not as if we’re at an abnormal age to have children’
‘I know!’ Kate said, sipping her drink.
‘I have no idea what I would do either.’ I paused. ‘I thought I was pregnant awhile back.’
‘Yeah I thought I was carrying Langdon’s demon spawn inside of me.’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘Why did you think that?’
‘Paranoia. I wasn’t pregnant, but I just panicked for no reason in particular. I even took a pregnancy test.’
‘Wow.’ Kate said. ‘You are some kind of paranoid.’
‘I had to go to about three different shops to find a pregnancy test. Then once I did I went to the pub next door to the pharmacy and took the test.’ Kate laughed. ‘You laugh, but that’s how paranoid I was! Then once it was negative I practically ran out of the pub with excitement.’
‘Please tell me you got a celebratory drink.’
‘Of course. That’s why I said that I almost ran out of the pub.’
Kate laughed. ‘I love you.’
‘Well, what’s not to love?’
‘So what’s our plan tonight? It’s Thirsty Thursday.’
‘I like that.’ Kate said, finishing off her glass.
‘Which will spill over into Frisky Friday.’
She almost spit her drink out as she laughed. ‘I like that more.’
‘Let’s get aggressively drunk.’ I said, pouring the last of the cava into our glasses.
Kate’s face lit up. ‘I know where we can go!’ Her face dropped a bit. ‘But … it’s pretty disgusting.’
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘It’s just … disgusting.’
‘Sounds like a laugh. Where is it?’
‘Not far from here. But really, it’s bad.’
‘It can’t be as bad as you’re making it out to be.’ I said.
‘It can. Have you ever heard of a club called Abacus?’
‘I haven’t.’ I said, frowning suspiciously.