Twenties Girl

Page 4


That’s why he started his Two Little Coins seminars. I secretly went to one a few months ago. Just in case I could get some tips on running a brand-new business. There were two hundred people there, all lapping up every word, and at the end we had to hold two coins up in the air and say, “This is my beginning.” It was totally cheesy and embarrassing, but everyone around me seemed really inspired. Personally speaking, I was listening hard all the way through and I still don’t know how he did it.
I mean, he was twenty-six when he made his first million. Twenty-six! He just started a business and became an instant success. Whereas I started a business six months ago and all I’ve become is an instant head case.
“Maybe you and Natalie will write a book about your business one day!” says Mum, as though she can read my mind.
“Global domination is just around the corner,” chimes in Dad heartily.
“Look, a squirrel!” I point hastily out the window. My parents have been so supportive of my business, I can’t tell them the truth. So I just change the subject whenever they mention it.
To be strictly accurate, you could say Mum wasn’t instantly supportive. In fact, you could say that when I first announced I was giving up my marketing job and taking out all my savings to start a headhunting company, having never been a headhunter in my life or knowing anything about it, she went into total meltdown.
But she calmed down when I explained I was going into partnership with my best friend, Natalie. And that Natalie was a top executive headhunter and would be fronting the business at first while I did the admin and marketing and learned the skills of headhunting myself. And that we already had several contracts lined up and would pay off the bank loan in no time.
It all sounded like such a brilliant plan. It was a brilliant plan. Until a month ago, when Natalie went on holiday, fell in love with a Goan beach bum, and texted me a week later to say she didn’t know exactly when she’d be coming back, but the details of everything were in the computer and I’d be fine and the surf was fabulous out here, I should really visit, big kisses, Natalie xxxxx.
I am never going into business with Natalie again. Ever.
“Now, is this off?” Mum is jabbing uncertainly at her mobile phone. “I can’t have it ringing during the service.”
“Let’s have a look.” Dad pulls in to a parking space, turns off the engine, and takes it. “You want to put it on silent mode.”
“No!” says Mum in alarm. “I want it off! The silent mode may malfunction!”
“Here we are, then.” Dad presses the side button. “All off.” He hands it back to Mum, who eyes it anxiously.
“But what if it somehow turns itself back on while it’s in my bag?” She looks pleadingly at both of us. “That happened to Mary at the boat club, you know. The thing just came alive in her handbag and rang, while she was doing jury duty. They said she must have bumped it, or touched it somehow…”
Her voice is rising and becoming breathless. This is where my sister, Tonya, would lose patience and snap, “Don’t be so stupid, Mum, of course your phone won’t turn itself on!”
“Mum.” I take it gently from her. “How about we leave it in the car?”
“Yes.” She relaxes a little. “Yes, that’s a good idea. I’ll put it in the glove compartment.”
I glance at Dad, who gives me a tiny smile. Poor Mum. All this ridiculous stuff going on in her head. She really needs to get things in proportion.
As we approach the funeral center, I hear Uncle Bill’s distinctive drawl carrying on the air, and sure enough, as we make our way through the little crowd, there he is, with his leather jacket and permatan and springy hair. Everyone knows Uncle Bill is obsessed about his hair. It’s thick and luxuriant and jet black, and if any newspaper ever suggests that he dyes it, he threatens to sue them.
“Family’s the most important thing,” he’s saying to an interviewer in jeans. “Family is the rock we all stand on. If I have to interrupt my schedule for a funeral, then so be it.” I can see the admiration pass through the crowd. One girl, who’s holding a Lingtons takeaway cup, is clearly beside herself and keeps whispering to her friend, “It’s really him!”
“If we could leave it there for now…” One of Uncle Bill’s assistants approaches the cameraman. “Bill has to go into the funeral home. Thanks, guys. Just a few autographs…” he adds to the crowd.
We wait patiently at the side until everyone has got Uncle Bill to scribble on their coffee cups and funeral programs with a Sharpie, while the camera films them. Then, at last, they melt away and Uncle Bill heads over our way.