Day Five: Tablet
by Sophie Paul
Today I am travelling my home town, Banbury, to Edinburgh. I spend nearly 6 hours on trains and drift in and out of nauseous sleep for most of it. I had planned to do some work during the journey but didn’t factor in the travel sickness that was sure to surface when I looked at a laptop screen on a wobbly train, so my sleep is guilt and fragmented. I didn’t eat breakfast or drink anything this morning, so put a nectarine and a breakfast bar in my bag. I change over at Wolverhampton and Preston; at Preston I buy a flat white and cheese toastie from Starbucks. I’m amazed at the colour of the cheese; bright lurid yellow, and suspect mustard. If I were to rate my favourite mustards in order of preference it would go: wholegrain, dijon, english, I think. The nectarine and breakfast bar have thus far gone untouched.
Once I pull into Edinburgh I meet my friend and we go for a walk around the city’s West End and I get a tablet ice cream with toasted hazelnuts sprinkled on top as we walk around the park. At a cafe in Tollcross we get coffees and sit outside a cafe that has a cassette of ‘noise music’ for sale in the window. Last summer we sat in a pizza place across the road and played cards; a cafe that was also a print shop and had records in the toilet cubicle. The weather is nice and overcast, perfect for a stroll. I could pass the rest of the day in this way.
Later, we go for Thai food closer to the centre. My friend gets some pork noodles and I get a red curry with thick and sticky coconut rice, which I could have had a bowl of on its own. We share a bowl of tempura sweet potato with sweet chilli dip, and have a glass of beer each. The curry is just spicy enough, with long strips of beef and peppers. I don’t eat beef very often, try to avoid it, but I decide to go for it this evening on impulse. It’s delicious food but I can’t finish it, and we take the rest of the sweet potato home in a box. I spend the rest of the evening picking beef out of my teeth and thinking about sucking sticky coconut rice off a spoon.
Sophie Paul (she/her, b. 1998) is a designer and writer based across London and Oxfordshire. Her work intersects critical theory, trashiness, and eroticisms.
Alongside Kaiya Waerea, she is one half of Sticky Fingers Publishing, an intra-dependent feminist publisher based in London.