Tears start running down my face, and I give an enormous sniff.
“Are you OK?” says Suze in alarm.
“I’m fine!” I say, putting down my fork. “Just. . you know. A bit hot.”
But actually, I’m not OK. And it’s not just the heat that’s making tears run down my face. Suddenly I feel like a complete failure. I can’t even get a quick and easy curry right. And look how much money I spent on it, with the Balti pan and the apron and all the spices. . Oh, it’s all gone wrong, hasn’t it? I haven’t Cut Back at all. This week’s been a complete disaster.
I give a huge sob and put my plate on the floor.
“It’s horrible!” I say miserably, and tears begin to stream down my face. “Don’t eat it, Suze. It’ll poison you.”
“Bex! Don’t be silly!” says Suze. “It’s fantastic!” She looks at me, then puts her own plate on the floor. “Oh, Bex.” She shuffles across the floor, reaches up, and gives me a hug. “Don’t worry. It’s just a bit hot. But otherwise, it’s brilliant! And the nan is delicious! Honestly. Don’t get upset.”
I open my mouth to reply, and instead hear myself giving another huge sob.
“Bex, don’t!” wails Suze, practically crying herself. “It’s delicious! It’s the most delicious curry I’ve ever tasted.”
“It’s not just the curry!” I sob, wiping my eyes. “The point was, I was supposed to be Cutting Back. This curry was only supposed to cost £2.50.”
“But. . why?” asks Suze perplexedly. “Was it a bet, or something!”
“No!” I wail. “It was because I’m in debt! And my dad said I should Cut Back or Make More Money. So I’ve been trying to Cut Back. But it hasn’t worked. .” I break off, shuddering with sobs. “I’m just a complete failure.”
“Of course you’re not a failure!” says Suze at once. “Bex, you’re the opposite of a failure. It’s just. .” She hesitates. “It’s just that maybe. .”
There’s silence, then Suze says seriously, “I think you might have chosen the wrong option, Becky. I don’t think you’re a Cut Back kind of person.”
“Really?” I sniff, and wipe my eyes. “Do you think?”
“I think you should go for Make More Money instead.” Suze pauses thoughtfully. “In fact, to be honest, I don’t know why anyone would choose Cut Back. I think Make More Money is a much better option. If I ever had to choose, that’s definitely the one I’d go for.”
“Yes,” I say slowly. “Yes, maybe you’re right. Maybe that’s what I should do.” I reach down with a shaky hand and take a bite of warm nan — and Suze is right. Without the curry, it’s delicious. “But how shall I do it?” I say eventually. “How shall I make more money?”
There’s silence for a while, with both of us thoughtfully chewing on nan. Then Suze brightens.
“I know. Look at this!” She reaches for a magazine and flips to the classified ads at the back. “Look what it says here. ‘Need extra money? Join the Fine Frames family. Make thousands, working from home in your spare time. Full kit supplied.’ You see? It’s easy.”
Wow. I’m quite impressed. Thousands. That’s not bad.
“Yes,” I say shakily, “maybe I’ll do that.”
“Or you could invent something,” says Suze.
“Oh, anything,” she says confidently. “You’re really clever. Remember when the coffee filter broke, and you made a new one out of a knee-high?”
“Yes,” I say, and a tiny glow of pride spreads over me. “Yes, I did, didn’t I?”
“You could easily be an inventor. Or. . I know! Set up an Internet company. They’re worth millions!”
You know, she’s right. There’s loads of things I could do to Make More Money. Loads of things! It’s just a question of lateral thinking. Suddenly I feel a lot better. Suze is such a good friend. I reach forward and give her a hug.
“Thanks, Suze,” I say. “You’re a star.”
“No problem,” she says, and hugs me back. “So, you cut out this ad and start making your thousands. .” She pauses. “And I’ll go and phone up for a takeaway curry, shall I?”
“Yes please,” I say in a small voice. “A takeaway would be lovely.”
REBECCA BLOOMWOOD’S CUT-BACK PROJECT
HOMEMADE CURRY, SATURDAY 24TH MARCH