No one told us who they were. There was no way of knowing, they didn’t look like anything special, just sitting in the corner of the room, staring at us. The bloke was jotting down notes on a pad like he was a journalist or something, but so what? I’d have expected them to have a bit more about them considering who they turned out to be.
The man had a streaming cold, which had made his nose go bright red from wiping. I remember thinking I didn’t want to go anywhere near him in case I caught it. He had a big old jumper on with a high rolled up collar, the sort of thing our dad might wear when he went fishing, and not too clean either.
The woman was old, well over fifty, I’d say, with about two inches of grey brown roots showing in her red hair. It was funny that she hadn’t bothered to do anything about them because it looked like quite an expensive cut, pretty trendy for someone her age. She was wearing dark glasses, even though it was evening and the lights in the hall weren’t that bright, so I assumed she had a cold as well, she certainly looked pasty enough to be ill.
There was no reason for us to think anything of them; Dora often had friends sitting in on the classes, or people who came and went. Sometimes they were old actors and actresses who none of us recognised, who would chip in with a bit of advice themselves once things warmed up, but more often they never said a word and Dora never introduced them.
If I’d known who they were I might have taken the time to put on a bit of make-up, and I don’t know that I would have let myself go emotionally in quite the same way I did, so it was probably for the best that Dora didn’t announce their presence there. Actually she probably did it on purpose because she’s a wily old bird is Dora.
I look pretty crap without make-up, and that isn’t me being modest, it’s a fact. I’m about the only person on our estate from a mixed family who has come out looking like a f***ing albino. All the others come out looking gorgeous with perfect, caramel complexions and I came out even paler than Dad. When we’re out as a family I must look like the freak puppy of the litter. Still, could have been worse, I could have been completely ginger and freckled, like Dad and all his McBride relations in Ireland. I’ve seen photos of them and it’s a shocking sight. I’ve never met any of them in person so I dare say they make up for it with wit and charm!
If I don’t wear make-up my face disappears. When people first see me with or without make-up they’re amazed by the transformation, which is pretty insulting really. Dora says it’s great for an actress because I’m a ‘blank canvas’, and I know what she means, I can paint almost anything on my face, make myself into anything I want, whereas the ones who actually have some colour have to get rid of it all first and start again. It would still be nice to at least have some dark eyelashes so it doesn’t look as if I have no eyes at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I do usually make an effort and paint myself up before I go out, before I even go down to breakfast most days, but sometimes I just can’t be arsed, and this was one of those times.
I wasn’t feeling that well, to be honest, which might have been another reason why I got a bit emotional. It was really tiring to work all day and then go out and have Dora screaming abuse at you all evening, and sometimes it got a bit much, especially with everything that had gone on at home the previous evening. There wasn’t much point in making an effort to paint myself up just to have it all steamed off again by the dishwashers in the hotel kitchens where I’d been working all day, and I’d had to rush straight to Dora’s from there and I hadn’t had time to have anything to eat and my period had just started and, well that’s probably as much detail as you want.
Because I was a few minutes late I hadn’t had much time to think about what I was going to do for my piece and Dora was being a bit arsey about me ‘holding up the class’ and so I just launched myself into it and once I started talking things sort of spiralled out of control.
‘Just tell us something from your life that makes you feel really sad,’ Dora had said. ‘Steffi, you go first, and make it truthful for God’s sake.’