Nicole Kidman called me on my mobile last week.
‘Hi, it’s Nicole Kidman,’ she said.
‘Bloody hell, how did you get my number?’ I asked.
‘My personal assistant got it. I’ve seen you around and I like your style. I think we could be friends. I like that thing you do with your hair when it gets in your eyes.’
I was buying aubergines in Tesco at the time. The reception cuts out and I just picked up ‘friends’ and ‘hair’ and filled in the rest.
But Nicole Kidman! I was excited.
‘Cool!’ (I wished I hadn’t said that but my emotions took over. I had to get my Clubcard out and pay the cashier and smile at her and pick an aubergine up from the floor that had rolled out of the bag. I couldn’t think quickly enough.)
‘Shall we go shopping together?’
All I heard was ‘Shall we?’ but I thought, hell yes, whatever Nic wants to do I’m on board. This will be a cracking story for my book group.
‘Yes, please!’, I said. (Again, it’s not really what I would have wanted to say ideally. She didn’t seem to notice.)
‘OK. I’ll meet you in the Hammersmith Broadway Starbucks on Friday morning. Your kid goes to nursery, right? We can do the girly thing.’
Oh my god, I couldn’t dream this stuff. This is really good.
”Brilliant, Nic. I’ll be there at 9.15.’ (I wanted to say that. I’m happy I said that.)
I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night.
I kept running through all the questions I wanted to ask her. I wondered if she would want to talk about Tom at all. They were married for a long time so I thought she would expect me to want to clear up some basic queries (no pun intended). My sister thought it looked staged when she shouted in elation to the Gods after signing her divorce papers. I wouldn’t tell her that.
‘I like foam on top of my latte too.’
That’s the first thing she said to me. Straight in there, as if we knew each other. She’s so full of class.
And she wasn’t disguised much either, which I thought she might be.
‘Cream’s even better,’ I quipped back.
I’d heard that Nic does this thing where she chews her food without swallowing it, to get the flavour but not the calories. My friend thought it was a great idea when I told her.
So I wasn’t sure if the cream reference would get her on edge- alluding so directly to a foodstuff with high fat content.
It didn’t. She’s a polished act.
‘Let’s head to Primark. You’re surprised I shop there, aren’t you? I don’t. But when in Rome…’
God, she’s got a sense of humour too. I bet she can be really funny.
We walked down the high street together. She’s taller than me and there’s nothing to her. So either she’s chewing and not swallowing or just not chewing in the first place.
I wanted to go to the HSBC cashpoint. But how do you tell Nicole Kidman that?
We just pressed on. She was happy to look at some kitchen sale items in Habitat though. I feel I’ve underestimated her in the past. She’s extremely easy-going.
‘These stripes would look good on you,’ she said, holding up a cashmere mix top.
I tried it on and we agreed I looked like Dennis the Menace.
My Mum called me. I kept losing reception again. She heard me say ‘Nicole Kidman’ and some other random words.
‘I think she looks like a witch these days,’ said Mum.
‘Oh, you’re so wrong, Mum. She’s gorgeous.’
‘What? What are you talking about? Where are you anyway? You’re breaking up. Are you in Tesco?’
I told her I’d call her later.
Nic was rummaging through the £3 basket for some steals. I had to say something.
‘Listen, Nicole, I’ve got a confession to make. I write a blog and the first post I did made you sound aloof. Then I did a conversation between you and Keith that made you both sound a bit Aussie and dumb. In the first one I was trying to be clever and in the second one I was trying to be funny. Sorry.’
Nic leant over to me and for a second I thought she was going to be mean but she just stretched out a slender hand and laid it on my arm. As simple as that. Then she gave me a sweet smile, I think. She’s gone quite heavy on the Botox, I have to admit.
We browsed around for ten more minutes and I asked her some film questions.
She said Baz Luhrmann is an Anglophile and Anthony Hopkins has got a thing for peanut butter. She said Ewan McGregor tried to touch her arse a couple of times and she felt quite open-minded about it. She said Tom Cruise is very heterosexual indeed and seemed to go into a reverie when she said it. She was in love with Stanley Kubrik. She put salt in Cher’s tea once. She’d like to see some amendments to tax duty on Sidney properties. She said so many things. I wished I’d had a tape recorder.
‘You have to realise that most of what you read in the magazines is true, Sophie.’ (She kept saying my name with that lovely lilting voice. I’m going to think of that going to sleep for at least a few weeks now.) ‘People think it’s all made up but it isn’t. We’re as crazy as they say, celebrities. That’s the point of us. Is that your opinion?’
‘Yes, I’d like to think that, Nic. There would be nothing fun in being everyday. It’s like people who win the lottery but say it won’t change them- they still want to live in a caravan.’
Then the alarm went off on my mobile and I told her I had to go and pick Bruno up from nursery. I was already late because I set it to go off at the most last minute moment, to capitalise on our time together.
I didn’t want to leave at all. It didn’t feel right running away from Nicole Kidman outside Marks and Spencers, seeing her get smaller and smaller as I turned back.
But before I went, I plucked up the courage to give her a hug and ask her a question.
‘Nicole,’ I said.
‘Yes, Sophie,’ she replied. She knew something rum was coming.
‘I’ve heard you’ve got male and female genitalia. I know it’s rude to ask. But have you?’
She sort of shook her head like she couldn’t believe how cheeky I was and moved the curls out of her face so she could laugh properly.
‘No, Sophie. That’s not true.’
‘Oh, sorry!’ I said and laughed myself, breaking into a sprint.
‘But George Clooney IS gay,’ she shouted after me and I could hear everyone outside Cafe Nero start to whisper.
Bloody brilliant Friday morning.