After weeks of suffering from the horrible hot dry weather and the oppressive pall of the haze, the skies finally opened up and washed the world clean. For the past few days, every afternoon has brought a wall of water, cool curtains of moisture that rinse the dust off the leaves and soak the earth.
“Oh,” Amanda sighed as she stood by the window and looked out at the landscape, its outline blurred by the torrential rain that swept the trees and streaked the windows. “I’ve never been so happy to have rain.”
From the couch came a grunt. “I’ll say!” Saffy sniffed as she scrolled through Instagram. “I felt like I was going to shrivel up like a dried up old prune!”
In fact, the rain felt so good, so cleansing, that none of us minded that we were more or less house-bound. As Amanda pointed out, it would have been madness to go out — the traffic would have been crawling, the shopping malls crowded and all our expensive shoes would have been ruined. “Plus,” she added, “with Grab Food, who cares?”
And so we whiled away the afternoons, each contentedly wrapped in our own cocoon of electronic devices, getting up only to go to the loo, or to answer the door bell when the Grab Food guy came delivering fried noodles and curries.
“I wish Grab also delivered boyfriends,” Amanda said at one stage, an idea we all agreed was pure genius.
Even when the rain finally turned itself down to a light sprinkle and finally to a soft sighing end, we didn’t budge. The air, now cool with moisture but already holding the promise of heat, lulled us all into drowsy naps and odd dreams of running after puppies (me), eating egg tarts with Hugh Jackman (Saffy), and sitting in a private plane with Oprah and Gayle (Amanda).
“I think Jason’s dream is the only one that has the remotest chance of coming true,” Saffy said after we’d woken up and compared dreams.
“I love Oprah,” Amanda said as she scrolled through Oprah’s feed on Instagram. “I want to be her. And if Gayle ever dies, I want to replace her as Oprah’s best friend.”
Meanwhile, Saffy refreshed her Instagram feed and was immediately absorbed into the daily lives of complete strangers and their pets. She liked every post by Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner and half-convinced herself that one day, she too could do a Yoga upside down split like Yenny Christine.
“It’s really crazy how she can bend backwards like that,” she said at one stage. She lifted her phone and turned it towards us. “I mean, look at this. Her nose is touching her feet from behind!”
“Lucky boyfriend!” Amanda murmured.
“Oh, look, another tribute to Peter Lindbergh!” Saffy said. “Everyone has been saying such nice things about him. Listen to this… ‘He was the kindest man. He never ever said a bad thing about anyone!’ Huh…”
Amanda looked up. “What?”
Saffy’s bosom puffed up. “I wish someone would say that about me when I’m dead. I want them to say, as they’re lowering me into the ground, ‘She was the nicest human being I ever met. She never had a bad thing to say about anyone!’”
There was a moment’s silence as we all contemplated the scene. Then we fell about laughing hysterically, with Saffy shrieking the loudest.
“Oh my God!” Amanda choked, tears streaming down her face.
Saffy hiccupped. “I swear, that’s the funniest thing I’ve said all year!”
The thought, however, has haunted Saffy the last few days and it’s been the subject of much discussion in the office.
“I dohn tink you can do it,” Sharyn said. “How you can go even one day and not say any-ting bad about anyone?”
Saffy stiffened. “You make it sound as if I bitch all day…” She trailed off when she noticed Sharyn’s look. “What? What’s with the look?”
Sharyn shrugged. “I never say any-ting, ok? You say one hor!”
“I bet I could go through a whole day without saying anything bad about anyone! I can!” Saffy repeated, her lower lip sticking out stubbornly.
Sharyn smirked. “Okay, you try!”
Sharyn later reported that Saffy lasted till lunch before she said something unprintable about their CEO, and even then, she soon discovered that, all morning, Saffy had been sending out snarky emails and messages on Whatsapp and social media.
“What?” Saffy said when confronted. “I didn’t say anything bad about anyone. I just wrote it! So those messages don’t count!”
Amanda says she’s now trying to shortlist the positive traits she has that people could talk about at her funeral. “It’s harder than you’d think!”