For this week’s blog, I felt like everyone – myself included – could do with a laugh. For once though, the laugh is at someone elses expense.
I have a really horrible habit (one amongst many) of laughing at the misfortune of others. If someone falls over I can, and will, always be the arsehole standing around pissing myself as they wipe the blood from their scuff marked skin. This is not just a snigger I have to swallow before I rush in to help, oh no! I am fully belly laughing as flesh slaps pavement and there is no exception. It’s a curse really – because I still laugh about it over and over again afterwards for hours, days, weeks and sometimes in the most legendary of drops, years.
I have alluded to my life changing holiday to Turkey before; it was the venue of my second consensual conquest and the place where I then had to douche my own vagina out after. It was where I found my personality and my sense of humour. But more importantly than any of that other meaningless shit, it was the location where I witnessed the funniest descent to the floor I have ever, ever seen with my own two eyes. I still cry with laughter when the recollection returns to me and it is the one memory I relive over and over again; if any of my blogs are going to ruin my anonymity, it is this one because I can guarantee I have recounted the story to someone you know; I tell everyone. Everyone.
So, the tale starts mid-way through our Turkish delight; the London Olympics were on and I felt super-sonic-sick (in the good way). I was early twenties and skinny while Jenny was my curvy antithesis. We were rocking our developing tans, crisp-sunburnt ears slicked with Aloe Vera and coconut oil sizzling on every extremity the sun could hit.
The weather was delicious. A perpetual salamander, I love the heat; the hotter the better. So 40+ degrees was everything I could wish for languishing decadently on the sun lounger, itty bitty titties bronzing in the sunlight. My copy of Katie Price’s latest romance novel pruned at my side as I contemplated turning over to even out my tan lines. (I’m not proud I was reading Katie Price but, in my defence, everyone was reading it at the time – it was a pre-cursor to Christian Grey and his questionable control freak fictitious behaviour that had clitorises up and down the country throbbing to be thumbed).
However, as I stewed in the midday sun, a small globule of rain plummeted onto my scorching shin.
‘Was that rain?’ I queried lazily, squinting as buds of sunlight bounced off the choppy sea at the end of my feet and travelled far off into the idyllic horizon.
‘Nah – shall we get another iced latté?’ Jenny luxuriated at my side, a small triangle of white flesh protruding from the side of her bikini top as she raised her arm to shield her own bespectacled peepers. She has the biggest jugs I have ever laid eyes on and they lay on her chest like two perfect mounds of meat. For a girl with naturally massive tetitas, to give her fair dues, she has normal sized nipples – no huge dishpan areolas with a nipple erection you could hang Westlife’s CD collection from. They’re a really strong pair. But I have a good little bum on me so we felt it was a fair and even distribution of assets.
‘Yeah, I’ll get Eddie over,’ I replied. To be clear, the waiter’s real name was most definitely not Eddie. He went by ‘Eddie’ because he thought that made him more likeable and relatable to the Brits. He also straightened his black hair to stand up in a vertical quiff ready for the evening escapades and did a fire dance for the patrons of his bar using hairspray and a naked flame. It was all very dangerous and exciting for two innocent tweenagers who had no fucking clue about life such as Jenny and I.
But when I turned to motion our bronze, be-quiffed waiter over another droplet descended down upon my vulnerable, exposed body. And then another. We were left in no doubt, a downpour was afoot and we needed to move our lily-white arses lest we be soaked through to our Primark pastel beach towels.
We moved faster than we had all holiday, grabbing our worldly goods and stuffing them unceremoniously into sandy beach bags before squeaking four pink feet into the rubbery, grainy clasp of the flip flops that would now flick damp sand up our oily, sun lotion slicked legs. All us pale, pasty and burnt ones pelted opposite for the comforting shelter offered by the local McDonalds. Passing by us, running towards the shore, were the Turkish residents who had been marinating in the unforgiving sun all summer long, throwing themselves triumphantly into the sea to enjoy the cool respite offered by the heavens.
The polite and very British thing to do was for Jenny and I to order ourselves a large meal to devour while the downpour subsided, which it did very quickly. Within half an hour the torrent had diminished first to an inoffensive drizzle before giving way to the glorious sun again. There were still plenty of hours left to top up our glowing lobster-tans so we collected our luggage, forearm and upper arm rubbing at the bend of the elbow with the horrible, sticky feeling where sun cream has been on too long and a rinse and reload is required. Our cheap flip flops squeaked and squelched, rubbing sand between our toes uncomfortably as we left the air conditioned restaurant and welcomed the sweet sensation of UV rays on epidermis again.
What lay before us was a very short walk back to the beach and the sun loungers that waited for us there. We had to walk across the white, marbled porch way of McDonalds, descend five marble stairs to the searing concrete pavement, cross the road to the parade of shops opposite between which we would amble for approximately ten seconds until the sand came to greet our familiar feet. We would order that iced latté and bask in the blazing ambience once more.
Casual and dripping in misplaced self-confidence, we embarked on our return journey, nonchalant, squishing those Primark flip flops onto the white marble walkway as we meandered to our tanning apparatus.
Jenny was always the maternal one between us. She nursed me and looked after me as a mother might a troublesome child. I, in return, could provide random shit facts about almost anything and made a drama out of every situation – it worked well between us. In full caring mode, no sooner had the words ‘Be careful on this marble because it will be slippery!’ left Jenny’s mouth than the single greatest moment of my life commenced.
We had arrived at the top of the marble stairs (Oh My God can I just say I am actually crying with laughter as I am writing this) when a random, puffy foot ascended into my line of vision, toes gripping furiously to the black straps of the flip flop that had betrayed its owner. Somehow – I know not how – Jenny had clearly slipped on a wet patch on the marble and propelled into the air. She was quite literally floating horizontally next to me about 4ft off the ground.
Defying gravity once more, she seemed to flip and turn in the air like an ungraceful diver as she descended toward the marble that anticipated her slam down upon it. In a feat of unnatural inelegance Jenny had managed to pull her entire body round to be in front of me – while still travelling through the air – so she was now horizontally plummeting to the floor lengthways ahead of me, head on my right hand side and feet on my left. Had I the speed and reflexes of a cat I may well have been able to reach out both arms to cradle her to cushion her fall. Alas, and thankfully for me, the free-fall continued without my involvement.
I stopped and watched. Jenny slammed down onto the first step with the unmistakable smack of skin being spanked. She seemed to lay there for nothing more than a split second as if she were draping herself lengthways on the step waiting to be painted like one of Jack’s French girls in Titanic. But the precipitation had slickened the hard, smooth surface beneath her and…Down. She. Went.
She slid like a dead mackerel onto the next step, and then the next, parallel and flush to the stairs the entire time. As each rung of this painful ladder came to meet the left side of her body she welcomed the harsh embrace with a guttural moan. She slipped and slid on her side all the way down every single stair, feet rigid and pointed at the lower end of her body, head turned into her cushiony chest like a bobsled driver.
Before her bruised and battered body hit the concrete gravel of the pavement at the end of her slippery descent I was silent laughing. That laugh where it won’t catch in your throat, where your breath won’t grasp the air and the tears roll involuntarily down your face. I had no idea how seriously she was hurt – I could only imagine it was very badly – but the hysteria had taken me and I was now captive, unable to stop. If Kim Kardashian’s cry-face is ugly, the face I had on me when this happened could have won any gurning competition, I’m quite sure.
Her River Island shoulder bag slithered down the stairs after her, pulled by her shoulder and gravity to meet her in a state of disarray at the gutter. It popped open as it hit the pavement and lip balm, suncream, tanning oil and smashed sunglasses flew all around like pigeons scattering away from a toddler. Her Motorola Razr (if you know, you know) was smashed to smithereens nearby and she hesitantly pulled herself up onto her knees, one arm supporting her into some semblance of equilibrium. Head down, I saw tears rolling down her plump cheeks; whether this was from pain or mortification, I couldn’t be sure – probably both. But all this served to do was make me laugh harder, tears flowing like rivers down my own evil, pointy little face.
She reached out to begin dragging her belongings back into her bag, not daring to glance upwards at me still standing on the stairs above her, dry laughing in side splitting hilarity. I saw her tears drop down onto the pavement and immediately evaporate but I was powerless to help her. So I stood there, still silently laughing like a total arsehole. Her hands shook as she grappled with the battery that had broken free from her phone.
Ever so slowly, mid-way through the clean-up, she tilted her head towards me. The sunlight above caught the water marks on her face, glistening back to me in thick, moist lines the agony and humiliation she had experienced. I readied my face to reflect back at her the serious sobriety I did not feel.
‘I swear to God if you laugh I will put you through a window,’ she hissed at me.
Aware of the tears rolling down my face and the rouge that would bequeath my cheeks I replied ‘I’m not laughing, it’s the shock!’ My voice shook as I controlled the snigger that threatened to override my fake concern.
The fucking shock! As if I had pretended I was crying with shock at the fact my friend had just used a marble staircase as a log flume and lost most of her possessions on the ride. She knew, and I knew she knew, that I was laughing at her, taking pleasure in her pain. I tried to find the politeness within myself to at least try to conceal this. Except that, now I wasn’t supposed to be laughing, and actually felt guilty for doing so, the giggles were even worse than before.
As Jenny reassembled herself and her life, lifting from the deck with as much refinement as she could muster, a concerned frequenter of the McDonalds just behind emerged from the doorway. His hair was glistening bright white and his eyebrows had totally disappeared. In a Germanic accent he called ‘Is she or-hite?’
‘She’s fine,’ I waved him back inside with a blasé flick of the hand, turning back to my friend to see she was now erect, compiled and ready to move away from the scene of this crime. We walked in total silence until about halfway across the road when she did finally see the funny side (although she complained her leg really fucking hurt).
Over the coming days, Jenny’s fall became the story of legend. People on the beach from far and wide asked her what she had done to bruise herself so badly and as she answered their question, insisting to each unbelieving pair of ears that this was not a drunken escapade, she grew more and more pissed off that I laughed without remorse at the account, adding details of my own for comedic effect. The memory of her throaty groans of pain as she hit each step suddenly seemed to be the most entertaining aspect of the story – for me.
So the moral of the story is this: It’s not right to laugh at the misfortune of others – ever. But sometimes you just have to override morality and go for it because you never know when you’ll be given the chance to laugh again. Broken hips can mend, but the bond two friends share over the mortifying tumble one takes will last a lifetime.