I’m actually proud of my sister

I was only home a few minutes last night when there was a knock on the door. It was Candy reminding me about my request to do something over the weekend, but asking if we could do it on Saturday night. I had to say ‘Yes, Saturday was fine’, but paranoia crept in all the same.

Was she stalling me to Saturday night because she was going to sneak away on Friday to see HP? But would she rush back and forth to Manchester (like 5 hours away) just to keep up the rouse? Did she and HP have sneaky online chat plans scheduled? Or, was he really in Manchester? Maybe he was up the road at a hotel and the two of them were having a sneaky affair under my nose?

Now, before you judge (me or HP), you have to remember how many men have cheated on me (three, that’s how many), so I tend to get paranoid. Especially when I know he’s keeping a secret from me, and…god this is horrible to write, but it’s true…when he smiles at Candy like he used to smile at me. That’s worse than anything. Okay, actually it’s not. If I caught him fucking her, that would be worse. But in the mean time, smiling at her, it’s not on.

I texted HP. I couldn’t accuse him, but if he was up to something I wanted him to at least feel guilty. So I sent him this text, ‘Missing you so much. Being in the flat without you makes me sad.’ After I pressed send, I realised how desperate that all sounded. So, I sent another text that said, ‘Going out tonight. No point in sitting in because you’re away. So don’t bother calling tonight.’ Then I realised that not only made it seem like I didn’t really want him but that it gave him a free pass tonight, so sent a third text that said, ‘Say hello to Roger for me.’

Not really sure what vibe I was trying to achieve with that, but before I could make matters even worse, Katie wandered into the flat. (I really need to remember to get the key back from her.)

She purched herself on the kitchen counter rummaging for some food. ‘Doesn’t that woman you live with have food in the house?’ I asked her.

‘Yes,’ was all she said, and she went back to digging through my cabinets.

Knowing that I couldn’t stay in the house all night wishing HP to text me with words of his undying love for me and thus proving that he’s not a cheat, I asked Katie if she wanted to hang-out. She said ‘Yes, but I’m meeting people from work, so you’ll have to come with me.’

I said okay, whatever. I was kind of desperate to keep my mind of what HP might be doing, or normally I would have never gone. In fact, last night was the first time Katie and I have ever really gone out. Like struck it up mad, go out, get plastered. And, I really had a good time. Which, in part, may have been because I left my phone at the house, so I wouldn’t spend the night waiting for text from HP that would never come.

Of course, when I left the house I didn’t think that was what was going to happen. I thought it would be a few drinks at the pub or something. I was wrong. Instead, I just got home from a near 24 hour campaign of madness that took me to Edinburgh, Leith and Fife.

We started at a house party in the West End. Young people, artists. I assumed that they were students from the Art College, and that they worked with Katie. I still didn’t know where Katie worked or what she did. And, I was going to find out. Damn it.

Then again, if she really didn’t want me to know what she did for work she would have never asked me to come with her to a work party.

It was a typical house party. Cheep boose, a bit of rubbish music from an iPad hook up, and low key. Katie, always thinking of herself, saw someone the moment she entered and left me standing there. Thank goodness a lovely girl handed me a beer and introduced herself. She’d come over from Edinburgh for the party.

‘Wow, these students must really know how to throw a party if you’ve come from Edinburgh,’ I said.

She looked a bit confused and then told me that it wasn’t a student party. A few people, who had graduated from the art college, formed a collective that focused on fashion: jewellery, textiles, fashion design, that sort of thing. They’d been growing quietly and were starting to get recognition. A few of the people from the collective were living in the house.

‘Wow, everyone looks so young to be running a collective,’ I said.

That’s when the she surprised me in the most lovely way. She said, ‘You look younger than most of the people here.’

Right. I looked younger than…and I looked around. Everyone was in their mid-twenties, as was I. Why did I think they were so much younger than me?

In the last few months, I had gotten this ridiculous age thing in my head; I’d been feeling so ancient that I had forgotten how old I actually am. I’m only 25. I guess, that’s kind of young.

Chatting with this woman, she was telling me about the collective. What they are doing is really impressive. And, it’s quite brave. It’s so easy to leave Uni and start looking for that secure career job. To hunt for a company who will pay you to learn the trade. These women (the collective is mostly women) taught themselves. They risked unemployment and failure, and they didn’t worry about what they were supposed to be doing at their age. They just did it.

It was wonderful. And it’s what you can do when you’re young. I’ve been acting like I’m ancient. That I can’t be brave because I’m passed my prime. But, these people. They were doing it. Why shouldn’t I?

Then the woman asked what I did. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’m usually quite nervous about telling people I’m a literary agent. But, I don’t know, the women didn’t seem like the type to pull a ‘Oh, my neighbour writes novels, maybe you can represent him’ type. So, I told her and she says, ‘My brother-in-law was in publishing. He’s here. You’ll have to meet him.’

And then you’ll never guess who walks up. Intern2.

I shit you not. Intern 2, who I have not seen in years, walks up and is as surprised as shit to see me as I am him. I let out one of those girly squeels that women do when they are surprised and excited.

I’d heard he was down in the London area teaching on a publishing course. And, I quickly found out that this had been true. It was where he met his now husband, who got a job working in Edinburgh and since Edinburgh isn’t too far from Intern2’s family, they moved up to Scotland about six months ago. Intern2 is working for a think tank sort of thing (I honestly have no idea what that means) that influences cultural policy. He’s up and down to London quite a lot, but he’s loving life. And married. Holy fuck, he’s married.

I met his husband, who is a total dish. I mean, really, Intern2 is so punching above his weight with that guy (I really don’t know what that metaphor means, accept that Intern2 is so not attractive enough to have that hot of a husband).

Just as he was about to ask me what I’ve been up to, Katie comes running past, some girl grabs her and says, ‘This is the best intern we’ve ever had’ and shoves a beer in her hand.

Intern! What the fuck. She said she was working.

I told Intern2 to stay put, I’d be back in a moment, and grabbed Katie. I was getting to the bottom of this, and after much cajoling she confessed all.

Q: 1) Was the internship paid?
A: 1) No

After I screamed, ‘What the fuck? I can’t afford to take care of you. You better not be relying on that skanky landlady of yours. You know how I feel about unpaid internships. That’s it, we’re leaving and you’re getting on a train going home back to Mum or Dad. I don’t care which.’

Okay, I kind of freaked out. But Katie had answers for everything. Answers that surprised me.

Katie’s answers in her words were…

2) Candy is not a skank.
3) I don’t expect you to pay for anything. I have savings. From Nan.

(Stop here for another little freak out from me.)

Resume responses from Katie…

4) I never spent the inheritance Nan left me. I just told Mum and Dad that I spent it all, because if they knew I had the money they’d make me pay for Uni. I’m doing what you did. I’m using it for an internship.

5) I want to go to Dundee for Uni. And I’m trying to find out if I live in Scotland long enough if I can get SAAS and then Dad won’t have to pay for that either. See, I’m not such a fuck up.

(No, she just acts like one.)

6) Actually, the reason I came to Dundee was for this internship. It’s working with the textile guys on design. I love it. And they’re going to help me get into DJCAD.

I was really having a hard time taking this all in. Really hard. Katie had been a fucking mess all through her teenage years. We didn’t even think she was going to make it to A Levels. And here she was, saving money, looking for internships, thinking about her future. I couldn’t believe it.

I asked why she didn’t tell me any of this from the beginning. Why show up on my doorstep? Why tell me you had a job?

She said, ‘Because I know how you feel about unpaid internships. And you’d go mental that I was dropping out of Newcastle. Didn’t even want to go to Newcastle in the first place. Just wanted out of Mum’s house. Thought I could last through three years and get a degree, then go back and go to Art School. But decided that was a waste of time.’

Holy fuck. My little sister. Has more figured out in life than I do. Holy fuck.

Intern2 then tapped me on the shoulder. He was leaving to go back to Edinburgh. They’d actually been in Dundee for the entire day. I introduced him to Katie, and for the first time I can remember was very proud of her. I said, ‘This is my sister. She’s in textile design.’

‘Oh, then you should come with us,’ Intern2’s hubby said. ‘We’re off to a little gathering, and there’ll be quite a few designers there. I don’t know a lot of the people going, but these things are always a hoot.’

I said I didn’t want to impose, and they insisted. So, off to Edinburgh we were.

Shit, I just realised the time. Candy’s supposed to be coming around tonight, and I have no idea how I’m to entertain her. I guess I should cook something, which means I need to go into town to the store.

Right, I better get a shake on, but I’ll tell you the rest of my story later. It gets crazy. Like me running across a golf course naked for a guerrilla art piece crazy. Like, I think I met the Banksy of performance art and somehow got roped into being part of a piece live installation piece.

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