I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE felt as terrible as I do when I wake up the next morning. Never.
The first thing I feel is pain. Exploding sparks of pain as I try to move my head; as I try to open my eyes;
As I try to work out a few basics like: Who am I? What day is it? Where should I be right now?
For a while I lie quite still, panting with the exertion of just being alive. In fact, my face is growing scarlet
And I’m almost starting to hyperventilate, so I force myself to slow down and breathe regularly. In. . .
Out, in. . . out. And then surely everything will come back to me and I will feel better. In. . . out, in. . .
OK. . . Rebecca. That’s right. I’m Rebecca Bloomwood, aren’t I? In. . . out, in. . . out.
What else? Dinner. I had dinner somewhere last night. In. . . out, in. . . out.
Pizza. I had pizza. And who was I with, again? In. . . out, in. . .
Oh God. Tarquin.
Leafing through checkbook. Everything ruined. All my own fault.
A familiar wave of despair floods over me and I close my eyes, trying to calm my throbbing head. At the
Same time, I remember that last night, when I went back to my room, I found the half bottle of malt
Whisky which Scottish Prudential once gave me, still sitting on my dressing table. I opened it up – even
Though I don’t like whisky – and drank. . . well, certainly a few cupfuls. Which might possibly explain
Why I’m feeling so ill now.
Slowly I struggle to a sitting position and listen for sounds of Suze, but I can’t hear anything. The flat’s
Empty. It’s just me.
Me and my thoughts.
Which, to be honest, I can’t endure. My head’s pounding and I feel pale and shaky – but I’ve got to get
Moving; distract myself. I’ll go out, have a cup of coffee somewhere quiet and try to get myself together.
I manage to get out of bed, stagger to my chest of drawers, and stare at myself in the mirror. I don’t like
What I see. My skin’s green, my mouth is dry, and my hair’s sticking to my skin in clumps. But worst of
All is the expression in my eyes: a blank, miserable self-loathing. Last night I was given a chance – a
Fantas-tic opportunity on a silver platter. I threw it in the bin – and hurt a really sweet, decent chap, to
Boot. God, I’m a disaster. I don’t deserve to live.
I head to King’s Road, to lose myself in the anonymous bustle. The air’s crisp and fresh, and as I stride
Along it’s almost possible to forget about last night. Almost, but not quite.
I go into Aroma, order a large cappuccino, and try to drink it normally. As if everything’s fine and I’m
Just another girl out on a Sunday for some shopping. But I can’t do it. I can’t escape my thoughts.
They’re churning round in my head, like a record that won’t stop, over and over and over.
If only I hadn’t picked up his checkbook. If only I hadn’tbeen so stupid. It was all going so well. He
Really liked me. We were holding hands. He was planning to ask me out again. If only I could go back; if
Only I could play the evening again. . .
Don’t think about it. Don’t think about what could have been. It’s too unbearable. If I’d played it right,
I’d probably be sitting here drinking coffee with Tarquin, wouldn’t I? I’d probably be well on my way to
Becoming the fifteenth richest woman in the country.
Instead of which, I have unpaid bills stacked up in my dress-ing table drawer. I have a meeting with my
Bank manager on Monday morning. I have no idea what I’m going to do. No idea at all.