Sometime in the months before we all hauled ass from Vox and came over to WordPress, my boss started to notice I was cranky and overworked, and asked whether we should hire a trainee admin assistant to cover some of my duties. Because I’m an obstinate control freak, I loudly shot down the notion and claimed the last thing I needed was some idiotic teenage trollop flouncing around the office playing Justin Beiber and pasting Twilight wallpaper onto her PC.
My boss completely ignored me and hired 19-year-old Nikki.
From the outset, Nikki was bright-eyed and friendly and appealing. She made friends with everybody in the office, and despite all my reservations about hiring some silly blonde twinkie, I found myself warming to her. We shared a similar sense of humour and had some nice chats. Eventually I invited her out for drinks with some of my friends. Very soon we were going out for drinks on our own together, which graduated into trips to music festivals, shopping trips, city excursions and weekends away. Sometimes we would just sit idly in a car park with a six-pack between us. One day we found ourselves skimming around the roller skating rink, watching a guy hold his date by the hand so she wouldn’t fall over. I’m a terrible roller blader, and Nik was clutching my hand in precisely the same way. We finally realised we had become a heterosexual dating couple.
Despite our faux-gay relationship, Nikki has a warm appreciation for the male form. Very warm. When we first started working together, we had a gentleman visitor to the workplace that caught her eye. After he left, she came into my office and mimed a swoon before theatrically falling prostrate onto the floor. She repeated this performance approximately 300 times over the next two and a half years. My favourite episode was when a stunning young English freight broker turned up, with eyes the colour of the Cornish sea. After he left, Nik immediately phoned my office and asked if I knew who he was. No, I replied, why don’t you check the visitor sign-in book? The sign-in book is on the counter in front her workstation, so with the phone still on her ear she placed one knee on her desk and hauled herself up to see the top of the counter. Bodily sprawled over the desk, legs akimbo, with her cleavage almost falling out of her shirt and her fringe obscuring her vision, she neglected to notice that Young English had wandered back into the office to ask for directions, just as she was reading out his name and company to me. I’ve never had a phone conversation stutter to such an awkward stop. She was almost in tears with embarrassment, and helpfully I laughed until I wet my pants. Several months later, Young English had to schedule an appointment with me, and funnily enough he requested we meet at a cafe rather than at the office. My Nik always leaves an impression on people.
Since finding herself a long term boyfriend, Nikki has been attempting to live vicariously through me. If there’s one phrase I’ve heard more than any other during our friendship, it’s “you should have sex with him.” She says it with a really creepy intonation, with emphasis on the word SEX and a lewd expression on her face. If we happen to be in the same room with the gentleman in question, she’ll move out of his line of sight and mouth it in a ridiculous exaggerated fashion while grinding her hips towards him. She’s a dirty old reprobate in a 22 year old body. Being friends with Nikki is like living in a corny American sitcom, only the live studio audience is the rest of the world, and the cast is always drunk.
Nikki has a fixation with African-American fashion and culture. There is no one in the world she wants to be friends with more than Azealia Banks (BAD LANGUAGE WARNING, NSFW!). When we first met, Nikki took one look at little brown me and instantly saw a template for her very own Ghetto Barbie. She buys me jewellery, sunglasses, handbags, clutches, shoes, dresses and makeup (Nik equates shopping with love) – and I wear everything she gives me because hell, girlfriend makes me look fine. I grew up in a predominantly white and frequently racist town, and while some kids were teased for being fat or freckled or bung-eyed, I was needled for being ‘abo’. It didn’t bother me terribly at the time, probably because I was too busy teasing the bung-eyed kid. Despite the clarity that turning 30 brings (cough), I’ve always held a teeny, tiny residual feeling that my complexion and crazy hair makes me less attractive than my Anglo counterparts. Nikki single-handedly made that feeling disappear forever. I’ve never felt more beautiful, and while I’d like to credit it to the confidence of age, I admit it’s more likely Nik’s doing – floofing up my big hair and yelling at me when I straighten it, pointing out the shape of my arse to complete strangers and demanding they compliment it, and flying into an envious rage when 10 minutes in the sun turns me a slight shade darker. She makes me feel like everything about me is amazing.
The problem is, Nikki sees herself as some kind of festering swamp monster, despite that fact that she’s one of the most stunning creatures I’ve ever seen. When I tell her this, she tells me to “shut the fuck up.” She does this to everyone. I’ve tried on numerous occasions to explain to her how to take a compliment graciously, to no avail. I’m hoping she will grow out of it, and it is my mission to make her feel the same way about herself when she’s 30 as I do right now. She goes through life thinking the only thing that makes her attractive is her (completely epic) boobs, when in fact it’s her wit, sense of humour, smile, warmth and special “Nicole Spark” that draws people to her. Seriously, there have been times when I’ve had to physically swat swarms of men away from her like mosquitoes. Boobs alone don’t have that kind of effect. Unless there is vagina simultaneously on display, and I can assure you she has never done that.
In two weeks, Nikki will be moving overseas to be with her US Navy boyfriend. Neither of us has an excellent grasp of what Navy wifedom entails, but we’re both acutely aware that the Nikki & Inga show will be no more. I’m losing my drinking buddy, my date, my Ballarat partner, my little sister and a giant piece of my spirit.
I’ll miss you so much Nikki. Go well, you fucking whore.