Bridget joness diary, p.9
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.9
 

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding

  'What? Bridget? I can't hear. Are you in trouble with the police?'

  'No,' I snuffled. "Me blue line in the pregnancy test.'

  'Jesus. I'll meet you in Cafe Rouge in fifteen minutes.'

  Although it was only 12.45 1 thought a vodka and orange wouldn't do any harm since it was a genuine emergency, but then I remembered that baby wasn't supposed to have vodka. I waited, feeling like a weird sort of hermaphrodite or Push-me-pull-you experiencing the most violently opposed baby sentiments of a man and a woman both at the same time. On the one hand I was all nesty and gooey about Daniel, smug about being a real woman – so irrepressiblv fecund! – and imagining fluffy pink baby skin, a tiny creature to love, and darling little Ralph Lauren baby outfits. On the other I was thinking, oh my God, life is over, Daniel is a mad alcoholic and will kin me then chuck me when he finds out. No more nights out with the girls, shopping, flirting, sex, bottles of wine and fags. Instead I am going to turn into a hideous grow-bag-cum-milk-dispensing-machine which no one will fancy and which will not fit into any of my trousers, particularly my brand new acid-green Agnes B jeans. This confusion, I guess, is the price I must pay for becoming a modern woman instead of following the course nature intended by marrying Abnor Rimmington off the Northampton bus when I was eighteen.

  When Sharon arrived I sulkily thrust the pregnancy test with its tell-tale blue line, at her under the table.

  'Is this it?' she said.

  'Of course it's it,' I muttered. 'What do you think it is? A portable phone?'

  'You,' she said, 'are a ridiculous human being. Didn't you read the instructions? There are supposed to be two lines. This line is just to show the test is working. One line means you're not pregnant – you ninny.'

  Got home to an answerphone message from my mother saying, 'Darling, call me immediately. My nerves are shot to ribbons.'

  Her nerves are shot to ribbons!

  Friday 5 May

  9st (oh sod it, cannot break weighing habit of lifetime, particularly after pregnancy trauma – will get therapy of some kind in future), alcohol units 6 (hurrah!), cigarettes 25, calories 1895, Instants 3.

  Spent the morning mooning abut in mourning for lost baby but cheered up a bit when Tom called to suggest a lunchtime Bloody Mary to get the weekend off to a healthy start. Got home to find a petulant message from Mother saying she's gone to a health farm and will call me later. I wonder what's the matter. Probably overwhelmed by too many Tiffany's boxes from love-sick suitors and TV presenter job offers from rival production companies.

  11.45 p.m. Daniel just called from Manchester.

  'Had a good week?' he said.

  'Super, thanks,' I said brightly. Super, thanks. Huh! I read somewhere that the best gift a woman can bring to a main is tranquillity, so I could hardly, as soon as we've started properly going out, admit that the minute his back was turned I started having neurotic hysterics over a phantom pregnancy.

  Oh well. Who cares. We're seeing each other tomorrow night. Hurray! Laialala.

  Saturday 6 May: VE Day

  9st 1, alcohol units 6, cigarettes 25, calories 3800 (but celebrating anniversary of end of rationing), correct lottery numbers 0 (poor).

  Awake on VE Day in unseasonable heatwave trying to whip up frenzy of emotion in self about end of war, freedom of Europe, marvellous, marvellous, etc. etc. Feel extremely miserable about whole business, to tell truth. In fact, 'left out' might be the expression I am groping towards. I do not have any grandpas. Dad has got all worked up about a party being hosted in the Alconburys' garden at which, for unexplained reasons, he will be tossing pancakes. Mum is going back to the street she was brought up in in Cheltenham for a whale-meat fritter party, probably with Julio. (Thank God she didn't run off with a German.)

  None of my friends are organizing anything. It would seem embarrassingly enthusiastic and all wrong, somehow, suggesting a positive approach to life or that we were trying creepily to annex something that was nothing to do with us. I mean, I probably wasn't even an egg when the war ended. I was just nothing: while they were all fighting and making jam out of carrots or whatever they did.

  I hate this idea and toy with calling Mum to see if she had started her periods when the war ended. Do eggs get produced one at a time, I wonder, or are they stored from birth in micro-form until they are activated'? Could I have somehow sensed the end of the war as a stored egg? If only I had a grandpa I could have got in on the whole thing under the guise of being nice to him. Oh, sod it, I am going to go shopping.

  7 p.m. The heat has made my body double -in size, I swear. I am never going in a communal changing room again. I got a dress stuck under my arms in Warehouse while trying to lift it off and ended up lurching around with inside-out fabric instead of a head, tugging at it with my arms in the air, rippling stomach and thighs on full display to the assembled sniggering fifteen-year-olds. When I tried to pull the stupid dress down and get out of it the other way it got stuck on my hips.

  I hate communal changing rooms. Everyone stares sneakily at each other's bodies, but no one ever meets anyone's eye. There are always girls who know that they look fantastic in everything and dance around beaming, swinging their hair and doing model poses in the mirror saying, 'Does it make me look fat?' to their obligatory obese friend, who looks like a water buffalo in everything.

  It was a disaster of a trip, anyway. The answer to shopping, I know, is simply to buy a few choice items from Nicole Farhi, Whistles and Joseph but the prices so terrify me that I go scuttling back to Warehouse and Miss Selfridge, rejoicing in a host of dresses at ?34.99, get them stuck on my head, then buy things from Marks amp; Spencer because I don't have to try them on, and at least I've bought something.

  I have come home with four things, all them unsuitable and unflattering. One will be left behind the bedroom chair in an M amp;S bag for two years. The other three will be exchanged for credit notes from Boules, Warehouse, etc., which I will then lose. I have thus wasted ?119, which would have been enough to buy something really nice from Nicole Farhi, like a very small T-shirt.

  It is all a punishment, I realize, for being obsessed by shopping in a shallow, materialistic way instead of wearing the same rayon frock all summer and painting a line down the back of my legs; also for failing to join in the VE Day celebrations. Maybe I should ring Tom and get a lovely party together for Bank Holiday Monday. Is it possible to have kitsch ironic VE day party – like for the Royal Wedding? No, you see, you can't be ironic about dead people. And then there's the problem of flags. Half of Tom's friends used to be in the Anti-Nazi league and would think the presence of Union Jacks meant we were expecting skinheads. I wonder what would have happened if our generation had had a war? Ah well, time for a little drinkv. Daniel will be here soon. Best start preparations.

  11.59 p.m. Blimey. Hiding in kitchen having a fag. Daniel is asleep. Actually, I think he's pretending to be asleep. Completely weird evening. Realized that our entire relationship so far has been based on the idea that one or other of us is supposed to be resisting having sex. Spending an evening together when the idea was that we were supposed to have sex at the end of it was nothing short of bizarre. We sat watching VE Day on television with Daniel's arm uncomfortably round my shoulders as if we were two fourteen-year-olds in the cinema. It was really digging into the back of my neck but I didn't feel I could ask him to move it. Then when it was getting impossible to avoid the subject of bedtime any longer we went all formal and English. Instead of tearing each other's clothes off like beasts, we stood there going, 'Do use the bathroom first.'

  'No! After you!'

  'No, no no! After you!'

  'Really! I insist.'

  'No, no, I won't hear of it. Let me find you a guest towel and some miniature seashell-shaped soaps.'

  Then we ended up lying side by side and not touching, like we were Morecambe and Wise or John Noakes and Valerie Singleton in the Blue Peter House. If there is a God I would like to humbly ask Him – whilst making it clear tha
t I am deeply grateful for His suddenly turning Daniel inexplicably into a regular feature after so much fuckwittage – to stop him getting into bed at night wearing pyjamas and reading glasses, staring at a book for 25 minutes then switching off the light and turning over – and turn him back into the naked lust-crazed sex beast I used to know and love.

  Thanking you for your kind attention, Lord, regarding this matter.

  Saturday 13 May

  9st 1lb 8oz, cigarettes 7, calories 1145, Instants 5 (won ?2 therefore total Instants expenditure only ?3 v.g.), Lottery proper ?2, number of correct numbers I (better).

  How come have put on only 8oz after last night's over-consumption orgy?

  Maybe food and weight are the same as garlic and stenchful breath: if you eat several entire bulbs your breath doesn't smell at all, similarly if eat huge amount does not cause weight gain: strangely cheering theory but creates V. bad situation in head. Would welcome removal for thorough valeting. Still, was worth it for delicious night of drunken feminist ranting with Sharon and Jude.

  An unbelievable amount of food and wine was consumed since the generous girls, as well as bringing a bottle of wine each, had all brought a little extra something from M amp;S. Therefore, in addition to the three-course meal and two bottles of wine (1 fizzy, 1 white) I had already bought from M amp;S (I mean prepared by entire day's slaving over hot stove) we had:

  1 tub hummus amp; pkt mini-pittas.

  12 smoked salmon and cream cheese pinwheels.

  12 mini-pizzas.

  1 raspberry pavlova.

  1 tiramisu (party size).

  2 Swiss Mountain Bars.

  Sharon was on top form. 'Bastards!' she was already yelling by 8.35, pouring three-quarters of a glass of Kir Royale straight down her throat. 'Stupid, smug, arrogant, manipulative, self-indulgent bastards. They exist in a total Culture of Entitlement. Pass me one of those mini-pizzas, will you?'

  Jude was depressed because Vile Richard, with whom she is currently split up, keeps ringing her, dropping little verbal baits suggesting he wants to get back together to make sure he keeps her interested, but protecting himself by saying he just wants to be 'friends' (fraudulent, poisoned concept). Then last night he made an incredibly assumptive, patronizing phone call, asking her if she was going to a mutual friend's party.

  'Ah well, in that case I won't come,' he said. 'No. It really wouldn't be fair to you. You see, I was going to bring this, sort of, date with me. I mean, it's nothing. It's just some girl who's stupid enough to let me shag her for a couple of weeks.'

  'What?' exploded Sharon, beginning to turn pink. 'That's the most repulsive thing I've ever heard anyone say about a woman. Arrogant little prat! How dare he give himself license to treat you any way he likes under the name of friendship, then make himself feel clever by trying to upset you with his stupid new date. If he really minded about not hurting your feelings he'd just shut up and come to the party on his own instead of waving his stupid date under your nose.'

  ''Friends?' Pah! The Enemy more like!' I shouted happily, tucking into another Silk Cut and a couple of salmon pinwheels. 'Bastard!'

  By 11:30 Sharon was in full and splendid auto-rant.

  'Ten years ago people who cared about the environment were laughed at as sandal-wearing beardy-weirdies and now look at the power of the green consumer,' she was shouting, sticking her fingers into the tiramisu and transferring it straight into her mouth. 'In years ahead the same will come to pass with feminism. There won't be any men leaving their families and postmenopausal wives for young mistresses, or trying to chat women up by showing off in a patronizing way about all the other women throwing themselves at them, or trying to have sex with women without any niceness or commitment, because the young mistresses and women will just turn around and tell them to sod off and men won't get any sex or any women unless they learn how to behave properly instead of cluttering up the sea-bed of women with their SHITTY, SMUG, SELF-INDULGENT, BEHAVIOR!'

  'Bastards!' yelled Jude, slurping her Pinot Grigio.

  'Bastards,' I yelled through a mouthful of raspberry pavlova mixed with tiramisu.

  'Bloody bastards!' shouted Jude, lighting a Silk Cut with the butt end of the last one.

  Just then the doorbell rang.

  'I bet that's Daniel, the bloody bastard,' I said. 'What is it?' I yelled into the intercom.

  'Oh, hello, darling,' said Daniel in his gentlest, politest voice. 'I'm really sorry to bother you. I did ring earlier and leave a message on your answerphone. It's just I've been stuck in the most tedious board meeting you can imagine for the entire evening and I so much wanted to see you. I'll just give you a little kiss and then go, if you like. Can I come up?'

  'Burr. All right, then,' I muttered grumpily, pressed the buzzer and lurched back to the table. 'Bloody bastard.'

  'Culture of Entitlement,' growled Sharon. 'Cooking, succor, beautiful young girls' bodies when they're old and fat. Think women are there to give them what they're bloody entitled . . . Here, have we run out of wine?'

  Then Daniel appeared up the stairs, smiling lovingly. He looked tired yet fresh-faced, clean-shaven and very neat in his suit. He was holding three boxes of Milk Tray.

  'I bought you all one of these,' he said, one eyebrow raised sexily, 'to eat with your coffee. Don't let me interrupt. I've done the shopping for the weekend.'

  He carried eight Cullens carrier bags into the kitchen and started putting everything away.

  At that moment the phone rang. It was the mini-cab firm the girls had rung half an hour earlier saying there'd been a terrible multiple pile-up in Ladbroke Grove, plus all their cars had unexpectedly exploded and they weren't going to be able to come for another three hours.

  'How far are you going?' said Daniel. 'I'll drive you home. You can't hang around the streets looking for cabs at this time of night.'

  As the girls fluttered around finding their handbags and grinning stupidly at Daniel, I started eating all the nut, praline, fudge or caramel-based chocolates out of my box of Milk Tray, feeling a bewildering mixture of smugness and pride over my perfect new boyfriend whom the girls clearly wished to have a go at shagging, and furious with the normally disgusting sexist drunk for ruining our feminist ranting by freakishly pretending to be the perfect man. Huh. We'll see how long that lasts, won't we? I thought, while I waited for him to come back.

  When he came back he ran up the stairs, swept me up into his arms and carried me into the bedroom.

  'You get an extra chocolate for being lovely even when you're squiffy.' he said, taking a foil-wrapped chocolate heart out of his pocket. And then . . . Mmmmmm.

  Sunday 14 May

  7 p.m. Hate Sunday night. Feels like homework night. Have got to write catalogue copy for Perpetua before tomorrow. Think I will just ring Jude first.

  7.05 p.m. No reply. Hmmmmph. Anyway, down to work.

  7.10 p.m. Think Will just call Sharon.

  7.45 p.m. Shazzer was annoyed with me for ringing because she had just got in and was about to call 1471 to see if this guy she has been seeing had rung while she was out and now my number will be stored instead.

  Consider 1471 to be brilliant invention, instantly telling you the number of the last person who called. It was ironic, really, because when the three of us first found out about 1471 Sharon said she was totally against it, considering it exploitation by British Telecom of the addictive personalities and relationship-breakdown epidemic among the British populace. Some people are apparently calling it upwards of twenty times a day. Jude, on the other hand, is strongly in favour of 1471, but does concede that if you have just split up with or started sleeping with someone it doubles misery potential when you come home: no-number-stored-on-1471-misery, to add to no-message-on-answerphone-misery, or number-stored-turning-out-to-be-Mother's misery.

  Apparently in America the 1471 equivalent tells you all the numbers that have rung you since last time you checked and how many times. Shudder with horror at the thought of own obsessive calli
ng of Daniel's number in early days being exposed in this way. The good thing over here is that if you dial 141 before you ring, it stops your number being stored on the other person's phone. Jude says you have to be careful, though, because if you have an obsessive crush on someone and ring accidentally when they are in, then ring off and no number is stored they might guess it was you. Must make sure Daniel does not find out about any of this.

  9.30 p.m. Decided to nip round comer for cigarettes. On way up stairs heard phone ringing. Suddenlv realizing had forgotten to put answerphone back on when Tom rang, tore up stairs, emptied contents of handbag on floor to find key and threw self across from to phone at which point phone stopped. Had just gone into loo when phone rang again. Stopped when got to it. Then started ringing again when went away. Finally got it.

  'Oh, hello, darling, guess what?' Mum.

  'What?' I said, miserably.

  'I'm taking you to have your colours done' And don't keep saying, "what", please, darling. Color Me Beautiful. I'm sick to death of you wandering round in all these dingy slurries and fogs. You look like. something out of Chairman Mao.'

  'Mum. I can't really talk, I'm expecting . . . '

  'Now come along, Bridget. I don't want any silliness,' she said in her Genghis-Khan-at-height-of-evil voice. 'Mavis Enderby used to be all miserable in buffs and mosses, now she's had hers done she comes out in all these wonderful shocking pinks and bottle greens and looks twenty years younger.

 
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