We used to be like FRIENDS now we are… I have no idea
My friends were fuming when I told them what happened in the office. Stuffing our actual faces with that amazing honey cake while an episode of Friends played in the background on my TV (Season two The One With The Lesbian Wedding), I told them every detail of the whole thing (including crying like a loser in the toilet).
‘Were the cupcakes that bad?’ Ahmed asked.
‘Did he really not apologies?’ Dana asked.
‘Your dress has pockets?! Where did you get it from?’ Lara asked.
Yes, yes, yes and ASOS.
I’m not going to lie. It felt good to hear my friends go in on the Four Big Ds and call them complete incompetent, sexist, ass holes that they actually are. Lara asked why D4 has a stick up his arse. Dana said I should have walked in their meeting and said something to embarrass them. Ahmed said I should quit before they fire me because I don’t want to work for a bunch of morons who can’t appreciate what a smart, interesting, motivated and talented person I am.
It’s amazing the lies your friends will tell you to make you feel better. They were lying. They knew it, I knew it. But we all played along to make me feel better. And I did feel better.
It’s common knowledge that I hate my job. I spend a significant amount of my day messaging or talking to the three of them about how much I hate it. In fact, I now hate the idea of being a fully-fledged lawyer full stop. And I hate that I hate that. Because that’s all I ever thought wanted to be. I mean, if I’m not a lawyer, what am I? Just a person walking around not being a lawyer with a law degree. Oh, the shame on the family.
To be honest, I’m disappointed in myself for getting to the point where my loathing at work has become so apparent that it might get me fired. If anything, I thought I was more capable at pretending I love my job or at least pretending I was competent at it. OMG, if I’m not good at faking things, at concealing my real emotions then what am I? Just a person walking around who is honest about how she feels? I guess I’m more Arab than I think.
Hang on . . . do I have a better life than Megan Markel?!
I also told my friends that I don’t care if I get fired. Though it will potentially complicate my life, it will be a bit (by a bit I mean massive) relief. I’d rather be fired than quit. I am many things but a quitter isn’t one of them! In my father’s words – ‘immigrants don’t quit!’
I’m the most demotivated trainee in existence. I don’t know what happened. It used to be my dream to be this big baws lawyer, making deals happen, closing deals, having a big bonus etc… I always imagined myself being that girl in the office in the sexy pencil skirt, amazing suit jackets, walking around in high heels, hair blow dried, nails manicured and saying stuff like:
‘Yup close that deal, make it happen, I didn’t approve that! I’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse, don’t talk back to me! They aren’t going to steal my firm from me, I’ve worked too hard, I’ve worked too long and sacrificed too much to let them replace my name on that wall!’
I don’t think that big baws lawyer girl exists except in a show written by Shonda Rhimes or that show Suits that makes being a lawyer the hottest thing on earth.
Side Note: isn’t it mad that an actress playing a trainee lawyer is now an actual Royal Princess about to have prince Harry’s baby? And here I am, kind of an actress cause I’m pretending to enjoy working at a law office (and doing a bad job at it) not interested in having a ginger husband or being pregnant – though the princess title wouldn’t be so bad. Actually, all the protocol would drive me up the wall… I’d hate it. I bet Meghan Markle hates it. Hang on . . . do I have a better life than Megan Markel?! (Side Note to the Side Note: Prince Harry and Harvey are both so hot in completely different ways.)
‘I’m great at faking that I care about something, I’m great at pretending to do work that I’m not actually going to do, I’m amazing at winging tasks,’ I said, ‘I don’t know what the fuck happened at this new job. I just can’t get into it.’
‘Don’t be too hard on yourself Sarah. You’ve had a really tough year,’ Lara said, ‘there’s something in your hair.’
Lara reached over and pulled a piece of string out of my hair and smiled. That’s the kind of friend Lara is – detail orientated. She’ll tell you if your bra strap is showing, if there’s lipstick on your teeth, if you’re in the wrong in an argument with someone else – but she does it in a super nice, non-threatening way where you feel grateful to have her in your life.
A Little bit about Lara:
We met in high school when two girls were bullying her in the bathroom cause she’s short (we all ended up in a big physical fight)
She’s super short (like 4’9)
She has dark straight hair (never has to use a straightener . . . super jealous)
She’s worked as a stylist, PR assistant, social media content person (she always quits at around four months)
She doesn’t believe in having a career but something to do when it’s convenient for her (“a job comes into my life not the other way around” . . . insert confused face emoji)
Her real career is hanging out at the beach (she believes we all need a tan)
She’s super chilled, calming even and witty (except if things are messy around her)
She likes to party (she has three outfits and a night bag in her car at all times)
She got married and divorced when we were twenty-one (but we never talk about it)
She supports my efforts in yoga, Pilates and healthier eating (even if they never work out)
Equally she supports my efforts in binge watching reality shows, spending the day trying on make-up and not going out and getting massages.
I’ve been a distant from Lara recently. It’s been hard to pretend nothing happened… after it all happened in London. But Lara kept in touch even when I was being distant. She never forced us to hang out which was great. She isn’t like Dana whose main mission in life was to get me some “dick” even if it’s the last thing she ever does.
‘Yeah man,’ Dana said, ‘they are lucky to have you, you’ll get your mojo back. Most people would be worse of than you if they went through…what you went through… this cake is good. Seriously, we need to go out, like go out, get wasted meet some guys, go on a yacht – travel? Oh my God let’s go on holiday! I have a client whose opening a hotel in Ibiza – shall we go there?’
Dana is a literal ball of extrovert insanity. She’s absolutely mad. And if distractions from personal issues can you heal you, then Dana is your doctor, medicine, cure and saviour.
A little bit about Dana:
We met in high school when she beat up the two girls who called Lara short in the bathroom (I was a witness initially but somehow ended up getting punched)
Her biggest issue has been her weight (she fluctuates from average to chubby to fat and back again)
She has amazing legs (like killer)
She dyes her hair blond and it suits her (even when she has dark re-growth it suits her)
She has the prettiest greenest eyes (She just got her brows micro bladed and they look gooooood)
She’s runs her own event company (she quit the first job she ever had cause she hated her job)
She loves to dance (and she’s good at it)
She knows everyone (not even exaggerating here)
She broke up with her boyfriend Kareem a month ago (won’t tell us why)
She’s super passionate (and has a bad temper)
She has a massive heart (and a massive appetite for fatty food which we like to eat together)
Dana has been amazing over the last six months. Whenever I’ve tried to thank her for what she’s done she tells me to shut the fuck up. But the truth is, if it wasn’t for one of her contacts who got me an interview at this job, I wouldn’t be in Dubai living in the same city as them. And if it wasn’t for her forcing me to go out with her to brunches, parties and dinners over the last few months, I’d probably still be in a curled-up ball in my bed in London living off popcorn crumbs and watching re-runs of The Only Way is Essex.
Our birthdays were always a big deal to each other. But this year… everything is different.
‘Seriously should we do it? I can text him right now and we’d have the best time ever – we’d get a whole suite! IN IBIZA!’ Dana said chewing her gum aggressively, ‘do you know how many hot guys will be out there?’
‘Hm, tempting,’ I said thinking more about laying on a beach and getting drunk then hot guys, ‘but no I can’t. Even if they are going to fire me I need to, at least, get paid before they do.’
‘Can’t you take sick leave or something?’ Dana said, ‘Lie about a family emergency. Sarah you deserve a holiday! You came straight from London to here and started working. It’s your birthday and after everything that’s happened, you need-‘
‘Can we stop focusing on “everything that’s happened”?’ Ahmed aka the voice of reason said as he gave the girls a stern look then smiled at me, ‘let’s not focus on that shit. We know you don’t feel like celebrating your birthday but we should go out this weekend.’
‘I don’t know…’ I said
‘We’ll do whatever you want. If you want to stay in we can, if you want to go out we’ll go out – whatever you want, we’ll do it. You’re the boss.’
Isn’t that the best thing anyone can ever tell you? ‘You’re the boss.’ It sounds much better than ‘I love you’ or ‘would you like extra fries for free?’ or ‘will you marry me?’ Maybe all those are the same thing. But Ahmed always knows exactly what to say to me to make me feel better.
Ahmed is everything – my rock, my safety jacket, my lighthouse, my brother from another mother. If it wasn’t for his sound advice and God given patience and listening skills I would be – fuck knows where I’d be.
A little bit about Ahmed:
We met in high school (he saw us all getting escorted to the principles office after the fight and waited for us to get out to find out what happened)
We went to law school together at SOAS (we both wanted to be big baws lawyers)
Turns out he hated law much more than me and ended up as a journalist (covers entertainment and culture but is really into politics and human rights)
He’s like a brother to me (when girls say he’s hot it’s gross)
He’s the biggest smart arse I know (always has witty comeback for everything)
He’s super kind and thoughtful (he texts to make sure I get home OK)
I don’t feel right if I don’t tell him things (I always feel better if he approves my decision)
He’s going to make a special girl very happy (actually, I’m pretty sure he’s secretly gay and doesn’t know how to tell us yet)
‘Sure, you’re the boss but you need to start going out more Sarah,’ Dana said, ‘you need to date a whole bunch of guys.’
‘I agree,’ Lara said, ‘but you should do that as well Dana since you and Kareem are now broken up …’
‘Shut up,’ Dana said as she scoffed down her third slice of cake, ‘I don’t want to talk about that penis hole.’
‘Oh sorry,’ Lara said, ‘I mean . . . you don’t really want to tell us what happened but at the same time Kareem keeps messaging me to talk to you so I don’t know what to –‘
‘Just block him,’ Dana said her eyes firing open, ‘has he messaged you two as well?!’
‘He called me a few times –‘
Dana went into a rant on how, since we were all initially her friends, our loyalty is with her. Therefore, we should all block any communication with her ex of four years that we all love and is basically our friend as well.
I was too scared to tell Dana that Kareem called me as well. He was practically in tears (full on crying everything and it sounded like ugly crying) begging me to talk to Dana on his behalf. He told me that she won’t return his calls and has blocked him off everything. He wouldn’t tell me what happened or what he did. Dana won’t tell any of us either. One day they were together next day they weren’t.
It’s nothing like me and Omar. Everyone knows what happened between me and Omar. The whole fucking world knows. Which is why I had to leave London. Also, Omar is a piece of shit that I loved. Kareem is a good guy… well, I don’t know what he did. Who knows if there are any good guys left? Well, Ahmed is a good guy. He’s so diplomatic, sitting now, defusing the tension with Dana and explaining how we should know what happened between them in order to take her side and that it’s unfair of her to expect us to just cut him out of our lives for no reason.
‘Well we cut out a lot of people out of our lives recently, I don’t see why Kareem should be any different –‘ Dana started to say
‘Can we not talk about the other people right now?’ Lara said.
‘You’re right,’ Dana said cutting another piece of cake for herself, ‘sorry Sarah.’
‘It’s OK,’ I said helping myself to another slice of cake.
It was kind if ironic watching Friends while we all avoided talking about the obvious. We were all one group of friends – Me, Omar, Lara, Ahmed, Dana, Kareem and . . . someone else. I can’t even say their name. We were like Friends and we all watched friends together, went out together, partied together. Our birthdays were always a big deal to each other. But this year… everything is different.
‘Anyway,’ Dana said, ‘we should go out this weekend and get wasted find Sarah some boys.’
‘Yes!’ Lara said.
‘We should go out, we should go drinking, but I think it might be too soon for Sarah to be dating, right Sarah?’ Ahmed said.
When Ahmed said “Right Sarah?” It usually mean “I know what’s good for you better than you do Sarah, so do what I say without arguing with me Sarah.”
‘What are you her dad?’ Dana asked, ‘she should date some boys, the more the merrier.’
‘I don’t think that dating –‘
‘Shall we go to Zuma then? Thursday night?’ Lara said changing the topic, ‘Oh and there’s a new brunch at the new Versace Hotel we should check out, loads of people are going.’
While they discussed where we should go and party this weekend to celebrate my birthday, I considered whether I wanted to party at all. Whenever I have gone out over the last six months, I hardly drank and left early to hang out with Puck and watch TV.
I still don’t feel a hundred per cent. I still don’t really want to see people and no matter how much I joke about it, what happened at the office really upset me. But there they were, my three best friends who surprised me on my birthday and were trying to make me feel better.
‘Fuck it,’ I told them, ‘let’s get drunk.’