My BlackBerry growled at me last night. My immediate thought was of a tweet - since that's all I seem to use it for these days - but after a few moments I realised it was a call. There was no need to look at the screen. There's only one person who would call at 11pm. It certainly wasn't a booty call.
"Hello there? How can I help you?"
I was surprised by the clarity I managed to summon up in my own voice. I'd been trying to sleep, and besides, I haven't been particularly chirpy recently. But with the desire to show off borne of being the son of an actor, I couldn't resist putting a slightly upper-middle-class inflection into my voice. I was, after all, being a helpline alternative. Why shouldn't I affect a voice?
I should get a Spotlight page.
TD was scared. It's her friend's wedding at the end of the week and she's a bridesmaid. With a shock, I realised that, had we still been together, I'd be going along too, with the promise of suits, dancing and hotel sex. Oh, and a wedding. TD, being the girl that she is, was having worries, mostly related to the fact that she has been asked to read a poem aloud at the wedding. I've never really had stage fright to any massive degree; as my brain whirred into action, the thoughts went something along the lines of:
Well, you could say that you wouldn't have any problem with it, but that wouldn't help - we're all aware you would sing an entire rock opera a capella if you were asked. And there's no good telling her she'll be fine...
"You'll be fine."
But, as much as I could tell her she'd be fine, I know how little of an effect such things happen to you if you don't believe them. I know - I've paid the price for believing such lies as, "you'll get into the local selective grammar school," "you are going to love the sixth form," or even, "the girls will be all over you." I know full well that it's easier not to believe in yourself. That way, anything that does happen is an unexpected bonus.
Ruminating on this wasn't going to help her, though.
I cast my brain around and it landed on random topics. I talked and talked and talked. She answered at points, but it slowly became apparent that, in the end, she just wanted someone to take her mind off the problem at hand - or, to be more accurate, the problem in the future. Which probably won't be a problem. What a wacky situation that was!
I spun through topics ranging from Goldie Lookin' Chain to Black Swan to Rebecca Black. And some other ones that don't involve colours. I shot for humour, she laughed. I occasionally got quite maudlin, and had to drag myself back up again. But anything to entertain her. If I was going to be a distraction, I was going to do it well, dammit.
About an hour later and she'd fallen asleep. An odd moment of familiarity. I rearranged some bits of my bedroom for a want of something to do, and decided to try and sleep myself. Now I think back on it, that was a very strange situation. And yet it seemed perfectly natural. I'd try and help anyone who 'phoned, but this was TD, and so I knew exactly what to do.
And although I was vaguely troubled for the rest of the night, it's nice to know that I still have the healing power of making people relaxed enough to sleep. Fair enough, it's not the power I would have chosen right off the bat, but it's all part of being an ILB... and when you've got the knack...