Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 8, Episode 2

November 6, 2012

Sitting in her bedroom with the door closed Ana didn’t need to hide the tears as they ran down her face. Homesick, jobless, alone. Ana was absolutely and positively miserable.

For so many years, Ana felt as though her life was completely on track. Of course, there were several – fairly major – hiccups on the way, but when one is wallowing in self-pity regarding the current state of one’s life, these incidents tend to get glossed over.
Right now it felt to her as though Mia and Willow were both going places and here she was, uselessly unemployable and woefully lonely. She was seriously considering going back to Melbourne, but what was left there for her?

She felt another bout of hot tears welling up in her eyes and wiped them  away angrily.“Oh, snap out of it,” she chastised herself. Taking a few deep breaths she grabbed her towel. Time for a shower and another day of job hunting.

Great.

***

It was unseasonably gorgeous weather, the November greyness not having descended yet on San Francisco. Already at nine o’clock the sun was bright in the sky and there wasn’t a hint of fog anywhere. It wasn’t hot sun, but it was sun nevertheless, and Ana basked in in like a lizard on a rock, hoping that an excess of vitamin D might snap her out of her melancholy mood. She was sitting in the small outdoor area and eating breakfast, slowly sipping coffee and nibbling on toast. The Vegemite that they had bought over was running low, so it was being rationed very sparingly by all of them. One piece of toast a day. Ana made sure she savoured every single crumb. After the last skerrick was devoured, Ana knew she could avoid the inevitable no longer. Firing up her laptop, she started the unhappy task of trawling through the latest lot of job offerings that were presented to her.

She sighed loudly, wondering what delights of the corporate world would be on offer today, when her inbox showed a new message. Her heart brightened a little as she toggled between the screens. Anything to break the monotony of finding a job!

Her heart skipped another beat when she saw who the email was from. She hadn’t heard from Tom in ages. He had crossed her mind more than once in recent weeks, and having had no communication from him, she often wondered if he still thought of her at all.

Hi Ana,
How is life going in San Fran? (I heard that no-one over there calls it ‘San Fran’ except tourists. Is that true?) I’m sure that by now you have a fabulous job and have settled into your glamourous new life there. Things here are the same: We won a few more contracts so I’m flat out with work again. It’s good and I shouldn’t complain but sometimes I just feel like packing it all in, you know? Apart from that, nothing really to tell. Except you’re not here and that is pretty weird actually. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think of you always and miss you.
Much love,
T.

Ana re-read the email a number of times. She hit the reply button, but couldn’t think of anything to write. Her pride stopped her pouring her heart out to Tom, telling him just how miserable she really was and how she wished that things could just go back to the way they were.

She desperately wanted to tell him that she missed the way he made her feel like everything was going to be all right; she missed his strong hands, his broad back, his soft lips, the way he’d rake his fingers down her back when…

She shut the laptop lid quickly. Thinking about things like that wasn’t going to get her anywhere, so she decided that she needed a walk to clear her head.

***

Wandering down the street, she was surprised to see so many people out and about carrying posters and wearing t-shirts with slogans on them. Ana almost started laughing when she realised what it was. She had been so caught up in her own spiral of desolation, she had completely forgotten that today was election day! She followed a hoard of people carrying Obama posters, vaguely pretending that she could actually have some impact on the outcome of the election.

“Ana?”

Ana turned around, scanning faces to see where the voice came from. A tall woman wearing and Obama jumper and cap was waving at her.

“I thought it was you! How are you?”

Ana peered at the person. She knew she’d met them, but where? And how?

“It’s Joey.” The woman pulled off the cap. It was the wonderful lady Ana had done a bit of work with before she’d quit the job at Bleau.

“Joey!” Ana grinned. “I didn’t recognise you.” She greeted the woman with a hug and kiss on the cheek.

They exchanged pleasantries about the weather and how the outcome of the election would determine whether the planned move to Siberia went ahead or not, and within a couple of minutes Ana’s mood had brightened considerably. She had forgotten how much she had liked this woman when she’d met her previously. Joey had an infectiously vibrant and delightful personality and Ana found herself wishing she could spend more time hanging out with her.

“What are you doing at the moment?” Joey asked, as they ambled in the general direction of where Joey’s friends were waiting for her.

“Like, right now?”

“I was wondering more in general. I heard that you’d left Bleau.”

“Yes. I had a… misunderstanding with the guy who owns the company.”

“It’s OK,” Joey said grinning. “You can say it. He’s a complete misogynist. I think you’re way better off not being there.”

Ana smiled wanly. Misogynist or not, at least it was a job!

“So, where are you working now?” Joey continued.

“Still trying to find something else.”

“Really? I thought you would have been snapped up immediately.”

Ana blushed. “Not yet.”

Joey’s friends called for her to hurry up and Joey smiled apologietically at Ana. “I should go,” she said. “But let’s keep in touch?”

Ana nodded and waved as Joey ran to catch up with her group. “Good luck today!” Ana called after her. “Go Obama!”

Joey turned and grinned, giving the victory sign.

***

Ana had nearly reached home when her mobile rang.

“Ana, it’s Joey. I had to double check something before I mentioned this to you, but do you remember me telling that our funding came predominantly from a single source? A woman who donates a pretty decent chunk of money to us every year?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I told her all about you and she said that we could use the funding the hire you outright. Full time.”

Ana was shocked. “Wow.”

“It’s not great pay,” Joey cautioned. “Like, really not great. Probably less than half of what you earned at your last job. And the contract would only be for 12 months to begin, but it would be fun and you’d be really helping a fantastic cause.”

“Wow,” Ana said again. “That’s… that’s really flattering.” She toyed with the idea in her head. It would be something different and an exciting project to work on. But, how could she afford to live on that little money? And did she really want to stay here for that long?  “Can I think about it and call you back?”

Joey paused and Ana could tell that she was disappointed that Ana hadn’t made a snap decision.“Sure. Can you let me know within the week?”

Ana hung up the phone. The pay would suck, that was for sure. And it would mean she was locked in to stay here for 12 months, at least. But maybe once she was working she would be happier here? And Joey was totally awesome. Ana couldn’t remember the last time she met someone so fun and kind and inspiring.

“What is there to think about?” Ana said aloud, taking her phone back out of her bag and pressing callback.

“I’m in,” she said excitedly, when Joey answered.

“That was quick,” Joey said, laughing. “What made the decision?”

“I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather work with,” Ana said truthfully.

She could hear the smile in Joey’s voice. “I think I’m going to really enjoy working with you too, Ana. Very much indeed.”

***