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…after….Hot water…..

I have seen Ingrid several times since that afternoon when we shared booze, blow, bed and a bath, but only in company with Christian or other people, never entirely alone. Her blonde hair had been cut short and dyed a red-brown, and she’d had her tongue pierced – two little metal balls sat side by side in the middle, like a pair of silvery eyes.

The last time had been at an engagement party for a lesbian couple Christian had introduced me to the year before. Inga had swooped across the room when I arrived, wrapping me in a welcoming embrace, whispering in my ear, “I was afraid you weren’t coming. I would’ve died if you hadn’t.” Then she’d kissed me on both cheeks and finally on the mouth. Her lips tasted of almonds, her pupils large and there were a few crystals of white powder clinging to her nostrils. She took my hand and dragged me off to talk to the happy couple.

Later that evening I saw her slip away with a slender brunette in a tight leather skirt and knee-length boots. It was half and hour before they reappeared. No one took any notice. She smiled wickedly and nodded at me when our eyes met across the room, telling me that what I imagined was true.

That was more than a year ago.

Christian, who loves to gossip, told me that she has been in relationships with a model, that didn’t end well; a singer who tried to commit suicide; the sister of the owner of a Spanish night club, and a male French banker.