The fast lane is much too slow for twenty ' seven ' year ' old Rachel Walsh, who is always the last one still standing whenever there ' s a party. And New York City is the perfect place for a young female to over ' do ' everything! But her love of a good time is about to land her in the emergency room and alienate her best friend and her boyfriend.
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April 30, 2002
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Excerpt from Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
They said I was a drug addict. I found that hard to come to terms with -- I was a middle-class, convent-educated girl whose drug use was strictly recreational. And surely drug addicts were thinner It was true that I took drugs, but what no one seemed to understand was that my drug use wasn't any different from their having a drink or two on a Friday night after work. They might have a few vodkas and tonic and let off a bit of steam. I had a couple of lines of cocaine and did likewise. As I said to my father and my sister and my sister's husband and eventually the therapists of the Cloisters, "If cocaine was sold in liquid form, in a bottle, would you complain about me taking it Well, would you No, I bet you wouldn't!"
I was offended by the drug-addict allegation, because I was nothing like one. Apart from the track marks on their arms, they had dirty hair, constantly seemed cold, did a lot of shoulder-hunching, wore cheap sneakers that looked like they'd been bought in Woolworth's, and were, as I've already mentioned, thin.
I wasn't thin.
Although it wasn't for the want of trying. I spent plenty of timeon the Stairmaster at the gym. But no matter how much I stairmastered, genetics had the final say. If my father had married a dainty little woman, I might have had a very different life. Very different thighs, certainly.
Instead, like my two older sisters, Claire and Margaret, I was doomed for people always to describe me by saying, "She's a big girl." Then they always added really quickly "Now, I'm not saying she's fat."
The implication being that if I was fat, I could at least do something about it.
"No," they would continue, "she's a fine, big, tall girl. You know, strong."
I was often described as strong.
It really pissed me off.
My boyfriend, Luke, sometimes described me as magnificent. (When the light was behind me and he'd had several beers.) At least that was what he said to me. Then he probably went back to his friends and said, "Now, I'm not saying she's fat. . . "
The whole drug-addict allegation came about one February morning when I was living in New York.
It wasn't the first time I felt as if I was on Cosmic Candid Camera. My life was prone to veering out of control and I had long stopped believing that the God who had been assigned to me was a benign old guy with long hair and a beard. He was more like a celestial stand-up comic, and my life was the showcase he used to amuse the other Gods.
"Wa-atch," he laughingly invites, "as Rachel thinks she's got a new job and that it's safe to hand in her notice on the old. Little does she know that her new firm is just about to go bankrupt!"
Roars of laughter from all the other gods.
"Now, wa-atch," he chuckles, "as Rachel hurries to meet her new boyfriend. See how she catches the heel of her shoe in a grating See how it comes clean off Little did Rachel know that we had tampered with it. See how she limps the rest of the way " More sniggers from the assembled gods.