Monday, February 25th
Poonam, her bff, rang me on the Friday, post Valentine’s Day (VD), just as we went into a team meeting at work. I was grinning like I’d won the lottery. I had, I had. To be rich in love was a wealth surely like no other and it showed. Sent Poo a quick text: all well, busy, talk later. Man, I cared about nothing and no one but my sweet wife (to be). Suks nudged me as the sales figures for the last month hit the desk. Gary was droning on in that Dalek twang (Essex cockney someone called it)…why did everyone look so goddamn miserable, it was Friday? Didn’t understand, until he looked me in the eye like an opposing boxer, and sent a shock almost direct to my gonads.
‘There are going to have to be cuts in April. We need to get rid of one person for starters.’
There was I thought, a gasp. Oh well, a long honeymoon. Then: no income, no mortgage, no two-up, two-down, love nest in Harrow. Could Sonia live with a tramp or move in with the clan? I started to shudder, then listen…nothing had been decided, but it was quite likely they would need to get rid of one person from sales and one from marketing. Suks was the last in on sales, Ben and me might be ok, as there was someone below us in marketing. It would be a three month process with a package offered to anyone who might be so inclined, said Gary. Fug that. No one had done more than five years there. I’d been there just over two. The pay-off wouldn’t even stretch to a couple of weeks in Patpong, trying to get over it.
I put it out of my head; I was still too happy. Suks asked why I wasn’t looking like a ghost, like the rest of them afterwards. Maybe I just had too much of a Patrick Swayze swagger about me that morning. He is sexy and he knows it. I should have been wearing tight leather pants and cubans. Dare I tell him? Took him to our lounge area, pretending to get a coffee (not from that machine which routinely spat out dirty water with a ‘redried’ coffee bean that had probably been forced out of a constipated Ethiopian…economy refreshments, you see).
‘Dude, I am getting married.’
‘Bad luck,’ he said, offering his hand.
I told him off, can’t you be happy for me? He said nothing mattered, he was a gonna’. I understood then. Couldn’t help but feel for him. He’d be stuck with his folks and his bedroom posters of Kelly Brook and Priyanka Chopra and his overworked pornpad forever. Put my arms around him and apologised. Better keep out of his way and Ben’s too, bleating on about Bale and the Gunners’ woes. Give me a break. But without those two (mostly) loveable tosspots, I’d have never met the love of my life (no, not Tony Adams or Thierry Henry, though…if anyone ever put a gun to my head and forced me to get jiggy with another dude…). I was still lost in Sonia. Her immense qualities and the fact that a woman so smart, beautiful and decent, could love me and agree to spend her days in the company of a man slightly obsessed with Tony Adams, Tony Montana (Scarface), gin and tony-ic, and the film, Dhoom.
At lunch I rang Poo. Never really warmed to her, nor her to me. Sonia and her got on really well, were bosom buddies. Whoops, that took my thoughts in quite another direction there. It’s true, I had moments of Lesbianism. Guess there was some (unsaid) contest for Sonjs’ loyalties and I’d won. Well and truly.
Still, I’d told her about the VD plan and she’d approved (mighty fine of her as Miss-approve-it-all) and helped me choose a ring from a Bond Street store. I was thinking more Wembley High Road. It worked, we had matching rings. Told the folks, who were thrilled. Dad went straight for the Johnnie Walker, no champagne, or Lucozade as he called it (‘just fizzy bubbles, no oomph’). There was going to be a return leg on home turf; her folks and mine. Ma and Pa wanted Chennai Dosa but I persuaded them to go to a refined South Indian joint where Dad kinda knew the owner. We were set, round two…
@asiangroom on Twitter