THE S WORD
I swirl my bread in the yolk breaking the membrane, the orange liquid released pools round my fried tomato.
“Top breakfast, Laura.”
“Breakfast? Have you seen the time?”
“More like lunch,” she complains clearing away my mug even though there’s still a mouthful of tea left in it.
“I had a heavy night,” I admit. “But this has helped enormously. Don’t have any nurofen do you?”
“I can’t keep them in the house.”
A statement of sufficient mystery to entice me, despite my thumping headache into asking, “Why?”
Perhaps my sister is in one of her anti pharma quests again, the cupboards stuffed with natural remedies that naturally do nothing.
Or maybe her husband, Alan has a secret codeine addiction, this is a far better prospect for I refuse to believe that he really is as dull as he appears. He tells people he works in the city, in banking. Which is perfectly true, he works in a branch of HSBC in Reading city behind the counter.
That’s how he met Laura, she used to bring in the takings from the sandwich shop she worked in and he’d pay them in. Alan tells me they struck up a flirtation, a phrase that makes me shudder imagining all kinds of gruesome plays on words such as bap, dosh and rubber stamping.
I tried to talk her out of their first date pointing out that her knowledge of him was purely based on the parts of him she could see above the counter.
“For all you know he’s wearing culottes and kitten heels.”
In retrospect I rather wish he had, it would have given us more to talk about, I have a wicked collection of kitten heeled shoes.
Anyway I digress, partly because Laura’s answer to my question is her answer to everything these days, “Because I’m pregnant.” She tries to take my plate away, I wrestle it back from her.
“There’s still the tomato left.”
As I slice into the tomato I tell her, “Could have done with a sausage though, its not a proper fry up without a sausage.”
It wasn’t a criticism, more of a helpful suggestion so her response is way over the top. Her hand flies up to her mouth and she turns away, hanging over the sink taking in deep gulpfuls of air.
“Don’t mention that word.”
“The ‘s’ word.”
Laura disapproves of my language, “But I didn’t say shit, or shag or shaft or sex _ oh you mean sausage.”
That propels her back to the sink.
“Do you need some water” I ask seeing the distinctly green tinge of her usual flawless complexion.
She nods and sits back down or rather sits up on the breakfast stool. My sister doesn’t so much as veer towards shortness but rather limbo dances straight under it with inches to spare.
“It’s the morning sickness,” she explains in between taking careful sips of her water. “Or all day sickness I should call it. It’s awful, Tess, the strangest things set it off.”
“Like the ‘s’ word.”
She nods, cautiously. “And any of its fellow animal products. Just the thought of them, let alone the sight sets me off. Stupidly I decided to cook Cottage pie for Alan’s supper last night, it’s his favourite.”
It would be, no doubt his nan cooked it for him when he was a little Alan in a knitted tank top and shiny red sandals.
“So I went to Tesco’s to get the mince and Oh Tess it was dreadful!” Her hand shooting up to her mouth again. “All that meat, that raw meat, all bloody and bleeding. Shelf after shelf of it. I couldn’t bear it, I just couldn’t bear it and I…….oh this is so embarrassing.”
I place down my knife and fork, “What happened?” I ask trying to keep the gleeful anticipation out of my tone.
“I knew I was going to be sick, I couldn’t hold it in, it was bubbling up my throat so I just grabbed the nearest receptacle.”
Only my sister would use the word receptacle.
She looks at me with distraught eyes. “The shopping basket.”
I pondered, thumb on my chin. “That’s quite a holey receptacle. In fact I don’t think it could really be classed as a receptacle given the holes.”
Laura hands her head down in shame, “It went everywhere. They had to do a tannoy announcement for a cleaner to come and mop it up.”
I’m laughing, I can’t help it, but it’s a silent gasping sort of laugh so Laura doesn’t notice. Thankfully.
“Then the cleaner came and he put his yellow wet floor sign right by my feet. Oh it was so humiliating!”
I manage to wipe away my tears of mirth before she looks up, pressing my lips together in what I hope is a suitably sympathetic line.
I pat her hand, “I’ll do the washing up. You sit down and put your feet up.”
“Who’s that?” hisses Laura.
“It’s Devan. He stayed the night.”
“Devan? Who’s Devan?”
“We met last night and he needed somewhere to crash.”
“So you brought back a complete strange into your pregnant sister’s home?”
“Actually I told him it was mine.”
Which retrospectively was a terrible idea since Devan strides out of the bedroom and thinking he was in my flat didn’t think about throwing any clothes on.
“Tess,” he grins, cheeky as a bum pinching vicar. “There you are. Fancy going back to bed?” He gives a chortle that stops mid innuendo laced hohoho as he spots Laura perched on the stool.
“Ah,” he says following her eyeline downwards to his _
“Chipolata!” squeaks Laura and heaves up her stomach contents all over the breakfast bar.