E in DoJ

I got a text from PoshPhD yesterday to ask if I wanted to go to the Art College degree show. Fife and I didn’t have any plans for the evening, and I wasn’t in the mood for a night in, so I rang Fife on his landline to tell him to bring his glad rags back to Dundee because we were going out. Fife said he didn’t own glad rags, but I let it slide, because men can get away with dressing down at fancy occasions.

He got Helen’s mum to watch the kids after school because he had to come back to Dundee early to buy a new phone (since he smashed up the last one), and I went home straight after work to get dolled up. I have this awesome cobalt-blue spaghetti strap dress. The dress has a gauzy material over satin, and the top is kind of puckered towards the waist, then it flares out again. I wore this with a pair of black heals and a black waste coat. I pulled my hair up, and did some serious Cleopatra eyes. I looked smoking if I do say so myself.

We started at the DCA for pre-evening cocktails. The place was packed, but we spied a table with only two women sitting at it, and their wine glasses were empty. They looked like they were in office attire, so we figured that they had come out after work and were ready to leave. PoshPhD does this trick if she wants a table. She finds a table with people at it who look uncomfortable and then stands directly over them until they leave. It worked.

Fife had a beer but PoshPhD and I were on fizzy pink cocktails. CoolTrous eventually arrived, and he bought a bottle of wine for the table. Once we were all settled, PoshPhD rummaged through her bag, then pulled out a handful of little pills. She popped one into her mouth, then told us to hurry up and take ours. CoolTrous followed suit, but I wasn’t going to take anything PoshPhD offers without asking what it is. It was E.

Now, I’m not a prude or anything. And I’ve been known to partake in my share of weed, but I simply don’t like E. I took it once in Uni, and rather than feel euphoric, I got really paranoid and upset. I got freaked out that I was going to be stuck on E for the rest of my life and never come down, and as you can imagine it was neither fun nor euphoric.

I told PoshPhD ‘thanks, but no thanks’, yet I was surprised to find that Fife hovered a bit and considered taking it. I didn’t want him to refuse on my account, but I did find it a little weird that he was going to take Ecstasy. He’s like old, and has kids, and a mortgage, and a well known author. He should be the sensible one and he shouldn’t be taking mood enhancing drugs. He gave me a look, and I told him to do what he wanted. But I wasn’t too keen. He then asked if I was sure, but before I could respond he popped the little pill into his mouth.

I tried to give him the cold shoulder, but he ignored me. And he’d already taken the damn thing so there was nothing I could do about it, so I reverted back to a warm shoulder.

We chatted for a bit and then headed over to the degree show. It was so cool. I’ve never been in the Duncan of Jordanstone building, and from the outside it’s pretty ugly. I mean like really ugly, especially for an art college. All layers of grey dirty concrete, and slitty windows.

Last night was opening night of the degree show, and only invited guests and parents of graduating students and such were supposed to attend, but no one was taking tickets and it was definitely a party atmosphere, so we walked right on in. Well, I say we walked right on in, we native danced on in. They had these giant bongos, about the side of an arm chair, lining the entrance being played by drummers in bright orange kimonos. We danced into the building and the first thing to hit was the smell of sweet popcorn. Immediately we wanted some, and started to follow the smell. DoJ (or DJCad), as the kids are calling it these days, is a maze. There were stairs that turned into stairs, and walkways that doubled back, and courtyards, and walkways, and breezeways and atriums. The place was like an Echer drawing. 

There was fine art and media, and architecture and design, and textiles and animation, and jewellery and sculpture and drawings and every imaginable kind of art. However, there was no popcorn.

CoolTrous decided that there must be no popcorn and that instead they were just piping in the smell of the popcorn as an art installation. But we also saw children with candy floss, which CoolTrous claimed was also an art installation.

PoshPhD couldn’t walk five feet without seeing someone she knew and stopping to talk to them. Personally, I think she was just showing off. Try to highlight how terribly interesting, sociable and popular she is. It was always the same thing, each person she saw, ‘Oh darling you look divine. What a magical evening. What are you showing. Oh do tell me all about it.’ Then the person would waffle on about their work, and I just didn’t care.

The place was too big and labyrinth-life, and filled with brightly coloured things that I just wanted to run my hand along. I wanted to skip through the halls, past all the hundred of people, I wanted to see every work of art, touch every piece of fabric, listen to every lyric and watch every animation. I pulled Fife and we left PoshPhD and CoolTrous behind.

In a fine art area there were these amazing portraits of people who looked like family members: sisters, mothers and daughters, siblings. The portraits were from the neck up only and against a white backdrop. They were so life like I expected them to start speaking to me. In another room, a textiles room, there was this shimmering robe, with colours printed across it like an oil slick. I could have stared at that dress for hours.

Fife and I didn’t even try to see things in order, we just went through the maze, sometime slowly other times running. Everyone and a while, when we’d stop, some kind parent would ask if I was one of the students, and if he was my father. The first few times Fife and I would answer that, ‘No. Just here to see the show.’ But several people kept asking. I guess it was because I was really dolled up (most of the female students presenting were done in formal attire, so maybe that’s why they thought I was one of them) and Fife is old enough to be my dad. But after the third time, Fife thought it would be really funny to say ‘Yes. We’re so proud of our girl’, then he’d lean down and snog me – tongue and groping and all. It properly freaked the people out and after the second time he did it, I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling no one talked to us at all.

Holding hands we walked the corridors until we found ourselves in a part of the building that was mostly offices. Fife said he had an idea and started checking door handles one-by-one until he found and open office and pushed me in.

‘I always wanted to do this when I was in Uni,’ he said has he slid his hand up my dress and under my knickers. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had done this before with TheBoy.) He kissed me hard, and grabbed the hair on the back of my head, running his hand through it, and pulling it out of the updo. We stumbled back against a desk, and right there wedged between a desktop and a stack of books, on top of some anonymous papers Fife and I …

We stumbled downstairs, found the exit to the building, and just as we were tripping out into the street CoolTrous bounced up behind us saying that PoshPhD had scored a table in the Art Bar across the road. The Art Bar is a cramped little basement pub. The walls are lined with art and books and fliers for local bands. There’s a beer garden and a good vibe. PoshPhD was holding court. One arm around a girl dressed in green and her other arm lazily feeling the knee of a very camp man in a fedora. A table full of people breathing in her adjectives. It was like they were being pulled to her by a silvery string. CoolTrous put his arm across my shoulder, pulled me to him and whispered in my ear, ‘I love that woman. I don’t care if she doesn’t love me back. Or that she doesn’t even notice me most of the time. I love that woman.’

I smiled even more. It’s wonderful to be in love, even when that person doesn’t love you back. But I didn’t tell CoolTrous this, instead I said, ‘You’re drunk old boy. Drunk I say,’ and I laughed and went to the bar. I got myself a glass or white and Fife a lager. We pulled up chairs to PoshPhD’s salon, and listened to PoshPhD’s nonsensical diatribe.

Fife’s hand was running along my leg and I loved the way it felt. I put my hand on top of his to feel the rough texture of his skin. Fife started talking to some guy next to him, but I just listened to it all. Then PoshPhD leaned over and asked how I was enjoying the ‘ride’. I told her I didn’t know what she was on about, and she said, ‘The E. How are you liking the E?’

I reminded her that I hadn’t taken any. She started to laugh, a lot. She tried to speak but was laughing too hard. I asked CoolTrous what was so funny, and he said he didn’t know. PoshPhD then leaned in and said, ‘I put one in your drink when you weren’t looking.’

Was she really saying what I thought she was saying? This couldn’t be true. I asked CoolTrous to explain, but he said he didn’t know what she was talking about. I nudged Fife and asked him, but he just said, ‘What? I wasn’t listening.’

PoshPhD laughed some more and said, ‘I don’t think anyone noticed. I’m quite clever like that you know. But your poor boyfriend shouldn’t have to do ecstasy on his own. That would be cruel.’

‘You spiked my drink?’ I asked.

‘Spiked? Don’t be so dramatic. It’s not like you’ve been roofied. You just took a little E. That’s all. You can’t say it hasn’t been fun.’

I flew up from my chair and left the bar. I should have come across the table and punched her in the face, but my happy experience turned into fear. I had to go home. I ran down the Perth Road (well hobbled, I was wearing heals), but instead of going to the flat I ran to work.

I went through the front of the house, up the stairs and into LadyBohemia’s room. I stood amongst the paintings. I needed to pick one. I felt like just then would be the only time I could make the right decision. I wanted them all. But I could only have one.

I don’t really know why my reaction to have my drink spiked was to go choose a painting, but I think it had a lot less to do with the E and instead I was in LadyBohemia’s room because the degree show made me feel something — art appreciation. At that moment, I appreciated LadyBohemia’s paintings more than I ever had before. Everything in DoJ was lovely and sensational and interesting, but it wasn’t as beautiful as LadyBohemia’s work.

I noticed a picture on the wall beside her bed. It was quite old, in black and white, and was of a man and a woman, holding a cat. I laughed and touched the picture. He had LadyBohemia’s eyes and her smile. I walked around the room ran my hand across the canvases one after another. Some were smoother than others and some were brighter. Behind in a painting of a daffodil was a large canvas with a painting that looked more like a design than a representation. It was brown and grey squiggles with green brush strokes coming off them and pinkish white circles on circles, all against a light blue background. I recognised the scene; it was a close-up of new leaf and flower buds in spring. This was the painting I thought would make a lovely print on a skirt.

I took the painting, locked up the house and walked home. The stars had come out and I noticed that as I looked up at the dark sky I ground my jaw, once each time I counted a star. Fife was walking up the steps to the flat at the same time as me. He had a cut lip and a bit of blood down his shirt. As I unlocked the door to the flat I asked what happened.

After I flew out of the bar, Fife asked where I was going. (He’d missed PoshPhD’s drink spiking confession.) Someone said they didn’t know, but PoshPhD smirked that I couldn’t handle a little pill. and she’d never waste an E on me again. Fife reminded her that I hadn’t taken anything, but PoshPhD laughed and told him that she’d spiked my drink. Then she said, ‘And. You’re welcome.’

Fife stood up and stared her down, but PoshPhD just laughed. Fife lunged at PoshPhD, but CoolTrous grabbed Fife and pulled him back. Fife elbowed CoolTrous to get him off, and so CoolTrous punched Fife in the face. They all got kicked out so fast hardly anyone noticed there was a fight.

I put a wet rag on Fife’s lip as we lie on the sofa listening to music on the laptop. We just laid across each other, me stroking the hair on his arm until I finally fell asleep. I woke up this morning when I heard PoshPhD come home, and I shuffled Fife and I off to bed. I’m never speaking to PoshPhD again, ever. I can’t believe she slipped me E. What a fucking moron.

Today my neck is so incredibly stiff and my jaw is killing me. But as usual, Fife is hangover free. We spent the day lazing about. I tootled about on the net, read some of the slush pile and watched television. Fife went for a run and spent the day writing. At about noon there was a knock on the door. It was CoolTrous. He had a black eye and said he came to apologise for PoshPhD’s behaviour, and ask us to go to a lecture tonight on Architecture put on by the V&A at Dundee.

Fife apologise for punching in the face, but he just say, ‘No worries old man. It was all in the spirit.’ (Why do men punch each other then forgive each other like nothing happened?) I told him that I won’t forgive PoshPhD. I just won’t. And I especially won’t accept an apology by proxy. If she’s truly sorry she can tell me herself. 

PoshPhD has yet to surface. Fife is out just now doing a big shop. He wanted me to go with him, but I hate food shopping and whinged enough that he went without me.

Just after Fife left, I got a text from HarryPotter. He said he’s made a date with that girl. I’m happy for him, and I told him so. I mean, I think he should be careful. Because if it doesn’t work out, this girl lives in his building and it could be awkward, but I’m just looking out for him really. And it doesn’t matter who he dates, because I’ve got Fife.

I hate to admit it, but last night – until I realised that I had been roofied – was quite fun. And I don’t care what PoshPhD would say, but it was fun because I was with the man I love. Yeah, I’d never admit it to PoshPhD, but last night was good.

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