Friday. I wake up with a fog of depression hanging over me and decide the most sensible course of action is to have a serious talk with MLP. I shall do this while sober. I shall be big and brave and I shall tell him that I know this is an impossible situation, and as I am becoming more and more attached to him, it would be better to end it now before we get in any deeper, and suffer more hurt when it ends.
When I’ve made this speech, I shall expect him to object very strongly, sink to his knees and tell me he has fallen 'irevokebly' in love and would not lose me at any price. He will insist on us being together forever and will forgo having children just to stay by my side. And then I shall be disappointed, because as George Bernard Shaw said:
"There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. "
Realistically, he will accept my reverse proposal. He may be upset, he may be relieved. He may lose face with his friends, to whom he has surely boasted that this glamorous, older woman is fawning all over him, cooking him dinners and giving him diamonds (fake!) But he'll get over it. As shall I...
I reach for my mobile and text Eurotrash. I’m meant to be seeing him with my business partner this afternoon but the latter now can’t make it.
‘Interesting text at 03.55… I take it you were pissed! My partner can’t make it this p.m. Shall I come anyway?...x'
Having had the earlier heart-to-heart with myself, to my mind I’m single again. And then the life-affirming homily comes to mind:
‘The best way to get over one man is to get straight under another.’
I talk to my friend Frannie about it and she grounds me. She’s a Capricorn, very pragmatic. I’m a Cadburycorn – slightly nuts.
As the work day progresses and my focus veers from personal to business stuff, I become more confident about who I am. My success is based on what I have created in my antiques business and my writing career, and at my age - as I tell myself - I should be able to manage a little love angst slightly less emotionally. At least being unhappy in love lets you know you’re alive, even though most of the time you wish you were dead.
By mid-afternoon, I have not heard back from Eurotrash who is probably sleeping off a night of hedonistic over-indulgence, but I decide to pop in and see him anyway. And of course, I have also received my daily onslaught of phone calls and texts from Oxbridge. He’s keen as mustard and twice as hot. His pursuit of me feeds my ego, but little else.
Feeling much stronger in my resolve not to chase impossible dreams (this mood won’t last!) I get myself dolled up, and pop in to the gallery unannounced. I find Eurotrash hungover, dishevelled and slightly grungy, plus he’s just had a delivery of 1970s furniture from Brazil which he's humping around the room settings.
The minute he sees me he goes into high-camp-girlie-flap mode, waving his arms in the air, running his fingers through his hair, stroking his unshaven chin and pulling at his thousand washed t-shirt. As I approach to kiss him hello, he covers his mouth with his hand.
‘Mein Gott!’ he exclaims. ‘Vy you didn’t tell me you voz coming? I’ff chust eaten a Libanese! I must shtink!’
I find his discomfort empowering.
‘Com see ze new additions!’ he cries excitedly and grabs my hand to lead me through the gallery pointing out some fabulously dated old pieces, the sort of furniture impoverished newly-weds of my generation used to buy and throw out the minute they could afford something better.
Once we are at the far end of the showroom, he abruptly puts his sartorial and halitosic discomfort aside and lunges forward to kiss me. He does indeed reek of spices and garlic, and I wrinkle up my nose, turn my head aside and push him away.
‘Look vot you do to me!’ he declares adjusting his erection this way and that. I cannot help but drop my eyes in its general direction and it is mighty impressive. I raise an eyebrow and purse my lips.
He flattens me against the wall and tells me how much he’s missed me and what a high he’s been on since our date the previous week. I’m quite taken aback by this and ask him why, therefore, has he not been in touch?
‘You told me you voz zeeing zomevun’, he counters, ‘zo I tought I’d take a shtep back and vait.’
Fair point. His patience (7 days!) may have been rewarded. I intimate that my ‘relationship’ is not going all that well, that we’re mentally incompatible, and it has little chance of surviving. His reaction is a mix of smug satisfaction and mild panic.
I don’t trust Eurotrash one little bit. He’s too good looking and smooth-talking to have only one woman on the go at a time. He smacks of decadence in a Berlin 1933 sort of way, and clearly has more than a passing penchant for sex, drugs and Thai spring rolls. What I do like about him, however, is that we are in the same ballpark intellectually, and at 43, he’s a lot closer to my age than MLP is, or any of the other boy toys I tend to consort with. Plus he’ll never break my heart because I’ll never love him.
I extricate myself from his embrace, collect the paperwork I need and leave the gallery with a wiggle in my hip and a spring in my step.
I go to my mother’s for dinner and because I’m bored, I drink a glass and a half of Mateus rosé which makes me feel maudlin, so I text MLP:
‘Hope you had a good day babe. What you up to the wknd?’
He doesn’t reply. Message - or none in this case - received and misunderstood.
Texting is an addiction for which there should be treatment available on the NHS, counselling booths at all railway stations and airports and the Text Police posted on every corner with loudhailers warning ‘Step away from the keypad and no-one will get hurt’.
I go to bed feeling disappointed with myself for not having maintained any semblance of control, integrity or decorum but the thought of getting up to no good with Eurotrash shines like a beacon at the end of a long dark tunnel.