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Short story: What Deidre ate on 2nd November

on Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:23 pm
What Deidre ate on 2nd November

Deidre wasn’t hungry in the morning and had avoided breakfast until she hit her mid-thirties. By then, the jury had returned and judgment was regularly dispensed from all angles: If you had to skip a meal, make it lunch or dinner, breakfast was the most important meal of the day.

Nowadays, as a nod to science, Deidre had a full breakfast at the weekend and on workdays grabbed a tub of porridge with honey on the station. She ate it with a brown plastic spoon on her commute from Epsom to Central London whilst scrolling for news on her iPhone.

Today, most of the papers were leading with a story about the prince and his new wife. They had been on a city stroll somewhere and Deidre noticed how the women in the crowd looked very different from the princes. Larger. Untidy with frizzy hair and podgier skin. Strangely, even the women who were clearly taller than the princes still managed to appear shorter.

Deidre herself was a woman of the crowd. Never more so than when she left the warmth of the carriage and followed the human stream onto the platform at London Bridge. This station was like the princes. Sleek and firm in its lines. The majority of the crowd full of human flaws didn’t match the design of the station, only a few lived up to the architect’s vision. Men and women with shiny hair dressed in cashmere coats and block-coloured dresses without creases. Smooth-skinned types who grabbed Americanos as the commuter trail folded into Pret.  

Deidre who started every day at six am with two black coffees picked up a tea and a chocolate croissant. She would rather use her calorie allowance on solids than on a hot drink she wasn’t that bothered about.

She brought the Pret bag to her glass-walled office and got annoyed with Mr. Payne from the Scotland office when he rang just as she was pulling out the buttery middle bit of the croissant, rolling it in the soggy chocolate paste left on her paper plate. She could almost feel its softness in her mouth as she sat and stared at it whilst trying to get Mr. Payne off the phone. She knew she would have to call him later, she had not heard a word he’d said. When she finally got to gulp down the croissant centre, expectations fell flat. Somehow, the delay had destroyed the sensation.

Luckily, it was Anthea from reception’s fortieth and she had left her birthday cake on the counter. Deidre could see the top of the icing through her glass wall and walked out with the paper plate, helping herself to a healthy slice. There was something about the combination of marzipan, Chantilly and hard, white sugar that always triggered a sense of wellbeing in Deidre. Memories of childhood birthday parties probably.  As she pressed her finger into the paper plate to pick up the last crumbs of sugar she could almost hear shouting from the pleasure centres of her brain. ‘More, more, have some more’.

But Deidre was no pig and certainly not when people were looking. Especially not Peter Foy-Smith, the thirty-something super solicitor who was now making his way across the office floor. A human so sleek he could have modelled for CGI caricatures at London stations.

There had been a time, thought Deidre, when someone like Peter had been an option. Not only an that. Obligatory more like - the only obstacle having been the time between now and the next office night out. Nowadays, Peter and his ilk smiled politely at Deidre who at fifty-one was a partner and deserved their respect.

Just as her assistant Helen dumped the latest Asfar planning report on Deidre’s desk, Oluf, the Swedish chap from the canteen, came around with the eleven o’clock trolley. Deidre waived him in so she could buy a Diet Fanta. She needed something to wash down all the sugar. Perhaps also something salty to even things out, she thought grabbing a bag of nuts. She had fancied the hand-cut crisps, but a woman, a solicitor for God’s sake, had to demonstrate some level of self-control and the cashews were the healthier option as theirs were not trans fats but natural fats essential to her bones.

Gerald, her partner on the Asfar case, wanted to have lunch out because the weather was nice so they went to The Duck and Waffle because Gerald, such a big child, loved going up and down the glass lift. Deidre, still feeling guilty about the birthday cake, decided on the Puy Lentils, a decision that allowed for a plate of bacon-wrapped dates on the side. She didn’t have a pudding just a large cappuccino to keep Gerald company.

The rest of the day was back-to-back meetings with clients and around four pm Deidre got a headache, which she cleared with a real Coca Cola. ‘There’s nothing like it,’ she told Gerald, ‘especially not when you only have one very rarely.’

Her last meeting finished at seven and Deidre rushed off to London Bridge, feeling a little constipated from the custard creams that Helen insisted on serving for meetings together with a selection of M&S crudities that might as well have been made of plastic. Nobody ever touched them. Deidre suspected this was for hygiene reasons. The custard creams, on the other hand, were individually packaged in crispy plastic that meant unwrapping them without drawing attention to yourself required a specific technique. One Deidre had perfected long ago.

At the station, Deidre was disappointed to learn that the 7.28 was delayed. She bought an egg sandwich to eat on the platform and a large bag of M&Ms for the train journey. Despite Deidre pacing herself, the M&Ms only lasted until Clapham Junction. Evidence, she thought, that like Magnums, M&M bags had shrunk.

She nodded off with the heavy Asfar file on her knees but woke up in time to ring Richard as the train rolled into the station. She got his answerphone. ‘Back in five’, she said, not having the energy to start a long message about supper/freezer/take-out/whatever.

The sun had gone in long ago and there was a chill in Deidre’s Audi A4. She dumped her handbag and the Asfar file in the passenger seat, opening the glove compartment as she placed the key in the ignition. She sighed with relief when she saw the rectangular package of Starbursts. She discarded the green ones, throwing them back into the darkness of the glove compartment before unwrapping the rest of the sweets. Having lined them up on top of her handbag, she manoeuvred the Audi out of the parking area, enjoying the chewy sugary sensation as she drove home listening to Toto’s Africa, song of youth.

Richard opened the door as Deidre walked up the short path towards their four-bedroom Georgian house. He was holding his mobile phone to his ear.

‘The kids are out,’ he said. ‘And your message sounded tired, so I’m ordering us a curry.’

Deidre smiled. She wasn’t feeling hungry but reckoned she would be by the time the delivery boy rolled up on his motorbike.

‘Korma with pilau rice,’ Richard, caught her eye, smiling, ‘Yes, a large Naan please, and papadums for two.’

Dear old Richard.

‘There are Magnums ice cream lollies in the fridge if we feel like pudding,’ Deidre said, kissing her husband’s warm cheek.
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Re: Short story: What Deidre ate on 2nd November

on Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:30 pm
Hi Mette,

Enjoyed the story. How do you find the time to keep writing so much? Couple of typos I think- princess or princes? Also ‘Not only an that.’ doesnt make sense. I think once it’s about half way through it needs something else to lift it? Not sure what. Maybe she’s joined the fit bit craze and adds justification by doing a meagre few extra steps. Maybe something different.
My sneaky favourite is still the first one you posted about the elderly lady blowing her savings
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