Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 6, Episode 3

May 1, 2012

Burgers and the Beach

The whiskery snoring next to her right ear stirred Ana from the clutches of the confused sleep she had fallen into at some point only a few hours ago. Her head was pounding mercilessly and she groaned, keeping her eyes squeezed shut, as though opening them was an acceptance of how horrible she was really feeling. Perhaps that final drink last night (whatever it might have been) hadn’t been such a great idea? She tried to swallow, but her mouth felt like an overzealous dental assistant had been let loose in it with one of those saliva draining machines.

After a little while of willing herself – unsuccessfully – to fall back asleep, she eventually dragged one eye open, closely followed by the other, and blinked a few times to get her bearings. A movement on the other side of the bed startled her, and she saw a broad, tanned back wrapped in the white sheets.

Who the fuck is that? She thought to herself. She glanced around the room. Unfriendly sunlight was seeping through cracks in the curtains that had been carelessly drawn. And where the fuck am I?

Patchy memories came wafting back. A huge club. Thousands of people. Too much booze. Lots of girls in white bikinis.
She groaned, the same sinking sensation she’d had every morning for the last week filling her stomach.

Ibiza.

She wondered again which part of her had thought it was a good idea to come here in the first place. The part that needed to get the fuck out of London, she reminded herself, and away from Mia and Willow.

But, there was no time to dwell on that now. Right now, she had to focus on getting out of here without waking up whoever that was, and back to her own hotel to take some aspirin and go back to sleep.

She pushed herself slowly up on to her elbows, making as little movement as she could. On the bedside table, an empty bottle of cheap whiskey was keeping three shot glasses company.

“What the hell did I do last night?” she mumbled to herself, wiping the dried saliva off the side of her face. She really hoped it was hers.

Her stomach, which up until that point had been surprisingly placid, gave an alarming lurch and the contents – which she assumed to be whiskey and not much else – threatened to make a hasty exit through her oesophagus. She took a few deep breaths to steady herself before swinging her feet underneath her, grateful for the solid floor. She was relieved to see an empty condom wrapper discarded on the ground…wait, make that….four condom wrappers…?

“What the hell didn’t I do last night?” she mumbled again, quite glad at this point she couldn’t remember.

A noise in the en-suite startled her. She flung herself back into bed and did her best I’m-fast-asleep impression. She heard footsteps approach the bed and then a rush of cold air as the covers were pulled back and the person gently climbed in. She could smell toothpaste and his body – for she could ascertain it was a he – felt damp.

She groaned inwardly. Three shot glasses. Of course.

It took, what seemed like, an eternity for his breathing to regulate. She poked him with her elbow to make sure he was asleep. He whimpered quietly, rolled over and farted.

It’s now or never, thought Ana.

She held her breath and very slowly made her way under the covers towards the end of the bed, breaking through the wall of tangled duvet and the stench of something ungodly. She found her clothes scattered around the room, her underwear hanging from a light shade, her shoes in the garbage bin. They all smelt like stale alcohol and BO. She gave one last glance towards the two beaus and silently exited the room.

***

Freshly showered, and back in her own hotel room, Ana stared at the screen of her mobile phone. Pride had stopped her from calling Mia or Willow up to this point, but she figured she didn’t really have any of that left anymore. Taking a deep breath she dialed Mia’s number.

“It’s Ana.”

Mia took a deep breath. “What do you want?”

“I…I…” What did Ana want? Forgiveness? “I just wanted to say hi,” she said eventually.

“I don’t really want to speak to you at the moment,” Mia said, her voice icy.

“Mia, I’m sorry,” Ana said. “I didn’t mean what I said…”

“Yes you did,” Mia snapped. “And as usual, you didn’t really think about how your opinion might hurt other people.”

That stung.  “That morning, I’d had a lot to drink,” Ana said feebly. “I didn’t know what I was saying.”

“Yes you did,” Mia said. “You always know what you’re saying.” She paused, sighing into the phone. “Ana. I really don’t want to speak to you for a while. Please leave me alone.” She hung up.

That went well, Ana thought to herself bitterly. She hadn’t thought what she did was that bad.

She dialed Willow’s number next, hoping for a less icy reception. No Answer. She tried again, in case Willow had just missed it. Nothing. She tried four more times, getting increasingly desperate, but Willow was not picking up the phone.

Ana felt tears well in her eyes. If only she hadn’t won all that money on the stupid poker game. If only they hadn’t gone for a champagne breakfast. If only she hadn’t had quite so much to drink. If only she’d kept her stupid mouth shut. If only…if only…

Ana curled up into a little ball on her bed and cried herself to sleep.

***

When she woke it was nearly 10pm. She could hear the distant thud of bass and the shouts and laughter as people wandered around the streets. This was the time when the town came to life.

Ana dragged herself out of bed and went straight to the mini-bar. She felt like drowning her sorrows. Again. She scowled at the empty fridge, remembering the ‘do not disturb’ sign she’d hung on the door earlier. Pulling on some clothes, she padded down to the bar, ordering a martini. She realised she hadn’t eaten anything since…she didn’t even know when, and picked the first thing on the bar menu.

She sat at the bar methodically sipping her drink. The food arrived: Mini sirloin burgers with Stilton cheese and onion jam. She nibbled tentatively on an edge. They were incredibly delicious – tender and juicy, with the perfect balance of rich, creamy cheese and sweet onion jam. Her stomach growled with hunger and she wolfed them down, feeling immeasurably better by the mouthful. The martini was doing it’s job too, relaxing her, making her not care so much.

“You here alone?”

Ana turned to see who had spoken. He was tall, tanned and gorgeous, his copper eyes flecked with gold and a sexy smile on his face.

Ana nodded, smiling back.

“We’re going clubbing,” he said, pointing to a group of friends. “You should come with us.”

Ana shrugged. Why not? She finished the last of her drink, delicately wiped her mouth with a serviette, and left the hotel lobby with her new friends.

***

“…so, I’m getting divorced, and now my best friends won’t talk to me,” Ana shouted over the music. “My life is officially shit!” She downed the last of her vodka and red bull and waved to the barman for another. The rational part of her knew she should slow down – the room was already spinning – but she dismissed it and finished half of her fresh drink in one gulp.

The guy – Jack? Jim? She couldn’t remember – smiled at her. “Sounds awful,” he said, stroking her hair. “But I’ve got something that might help.”

He reached into his pocket and produced a small plastic bag full of little pills.

“What are they?” Ana shouted.

“They’ll make you forget,” he said, taking one of the tablets and placing it on her tongue. It tasted sour, chemically. She swallowed. He smiled again and leant forward, kissing her deeply. Ana closed her eyes. Try to forget, try to forget, try to forget.

***

Ana looked around the dance floor, momentarily wondering where her new friends had gone. The lights above were bright and colourful and there were people everywhere; touching, laughing, dancing. Everything was blurry. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a fleeting glance of Mia, disappearing into the sea of people. Ana craned her neck, searching the crowd desperately for the familiar face, but it had gone. Then she thought she saw the back of Willow’s head, but it too was swallowed up by the mass of sweaty bodies,

Why does everyone keep leaving me? she thought desperately, searching around for someone – anyone – she knew.

A wave of nausea hit her and she felt suddenly claustrophobic and needed to get out. She pushed her way through the people and outside, gulping fresh air.

“You OK?” A bouncer came up and put his hand on her shoulder.

Ana nodded and brushed him off. She needed to be alone. She stumbled down the street, oblivious to the curious glances she was getting from passers by.

Water, she thought to herself, I need water. She turned up a side street and saw the ocean sparkling in front of her, the clear water glistening in the light of the moon. She stumbled forward onto the sand, kicking off her shoes. She stretched her arms out wide, bathing in the glow of the night. There was not another soul to be seen. She closed her eyes, listening to the gentle lull of the waves as they broke on the shore. The soothing sound was interrupted by the faint thud of music in the distance. Ana frowned. A moment of clarity.

I need to get away from here, she thought to herself suddenly. Now.

She scrunched her toes into the sand and looked out to the vast expanse of the ocean. She smiled.

Of course.

Peeling off her dress she started to wade out into the water, further and further, until her feet didn’t touch the ground and she was nothing but an insignificant white speck – a trick of the eye – from the shore. She shut her eyes and let the water close around her.

Peace, at last.

***