‘What the fuck is tack?’
That’s the first thing Lena ever said to me. The second thing she said was sorry, after spilling cider and black on my new velvet jacket. I told her it was ok, that they were both purple, and that I had no idea what tack was. Then we were friends.
And now here I am, the kind of woman telling Sally that she should go for the more expensive dishwasher, the one with the rack at the top so that the forks get properly clean. I own tea towels that cost £12 each. I have hand-carved salad tongs and a husband. I meant to only have one glass of wine but Sally ordered more and I’m on my third and Lena’s mouth has settled into a thin straight line. I haven’t seen her in more than twenty years but I recognise the look.
Sally was one of the girls that talked about tack, the ones who all had very thick hair and made jokes in Latin and went skiing in the Easter holidays. It was Sally who was drunk that night and started playing opera in the common room and her and one of the other horsey girls started swooning about with scarves and Lena had pulled me aside and said ‘Let’s get the tack out of here’ and we’d left, kicked through the leaves to our shared house and sat on my single bed listening to Radiohead and drinking Sally’s wine out of mugs until our teeth were black and we were laughing and then Lena kissed me and we didn’t stop and then we never talked about it again.
And now she’s followed me, is standing very close while I wash my hands. This time, I kiss her.