I WALK THROUGH THE DOOR of our flat to see Suze, my flatmate, sitting in one of her strange
Yoga positions, with her eyes closed. Her fair hair is scrunched up in a knot, and she’s wearing black
Leggings together with the ancient T-shirt she al-ways wears for yoga. It’s the one her dad was wearing
When he rowed Oxford to victory, and she says it gives her good vibes.
For a moment I’m silent. I don’t want to disturb her in case yoga is like sleepwalking and you’re not
Meant to wake people when they’re doing it. But then Suze opens her eyes and looks up – and the first
Thing she says is “Denny and George! Becky, you’re not serious.”
“Yes,” I say, grinning from ear to ear. “I bought myself a scarf.”
“Show me!” says Suze, unwinding herself from the floor. “Show-me-show-me-show-me!” She comes
Over and starts tug-ging at the strings of the carrier, like a kid. “I want to see your new scarf! Show me!”
This is why I love sharing a flat with Suze. Julia, my old flat-mate, would have wrinkled her brow and
Said, “Denny and who?” or, “That’s a lot of money for a scarf.” But Suze completely and utterly
Understands. If anything, she’s worse than me.
But then, she can afford to be. Although she’s twenty-five, like me, her parents still give her pocket
Money. It’s called an “allowance” and apparently comes from some family trust – but as far as I can see,
It’s pocket money. Her parents also bought her a flat in Fulham as a twenty-first birthday present and
She’s been living in it ever since, half working and half dossing about.
She was in PR for a (very) short while, and that’s when I met her, on a press trip to an offshore bank on
Guernsey. As a matter of fact, she was working
for Brandon Communications. Without being rude – she
Admits it herself – she was the worst PR girl I’ve ever come across. She completely forgot which bank
She was sup-posed to be promoting, and started talking enthusiastically about one of their competitors.
The man from the bank looked crosser and crosser, while all the journalists pissed themselves laughing.
Suze got in big trouble over that. In fact, that’s when she decided PR wasn’t the career for her. (The
Other way of putting it is that Luke Brandon gave her the sack as soon as they got back to Lon-don.
Another reason not to like him.)
But the two of us had a whale of a time sloshing back wine until the early hours. Actually, Suze had a
Secret little weep at about two A. M. and said she was hopeless at every job she’d tried and what was
She going to do? I said I thought she was far too interesting and creative to be one of those snooty
Brandon C girls. Which I wasn’t just saying to be nice, it’s completely true. I gave her a big hug and she
Cried some more, then we both cheered up and ordered another bottle of wine, and tried on all each
Other’s clothes. I lent Suze my belt with the square silver buckle, which, come to think of it, she’s never
Given back. And we kept in touch ever since.
Then, when Julia suddenly upped and ran off with the pro-fessor supervising her Ph. D. (she was a dark
Horse, that one), Suze suggested I move in with her. I’m sure the rent she charges is too low, but I’ve
Never insisted I pay the full market rate, because I couldn’t afford it. As market rates go, I’m nearer
Elephant andCastle than Fulham on my salary. How can normal people afford to live in such hideously
“Bex, open it up!” Suze is begging. “Let me see!