Thursday. A horrible night. I wake every half an hour with a dragging sense of something terribly wrong in my life. My mouth turns down at the corners in misery as the memories of last night wash over me and I fight back the tears as I wriggle myself back to sleep.
At dawn, I am drawn up through the depths like an underwater swimmer who longs to remain on the sea bed. I shun the naked light of day and try to return to oblivion by diving beneath the covers, but I’m awake now and I must face the truth. MLP and I are over. How many more times can I do this?
I get up early and flip the radio on. Terry Wogan is playing Laura Brannigan singing Gloria and the line ‘If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody calling?’ strikes a sardonic note. I pick up my weights and try to rustle up some endorphins, kick start my metabolism, and fight off the depression. I shower, sit down at my dressing-table and phone up anyone who'll listen as I relate the latest saga of my having been dumped.
This is the Road to Hell as every time I tell the story, I tell it better and the better I tell it, the more it upsets me. I am trying to do my make-up which is not only difficult but stupid, as the tears moisten my mascara which streaks down through my foundation resulting in a salty, smeary paste instead of the flawless finish as promised by Estée Lauder.
The sisterhood is suitably sympathetic but reminds me that it was always finite, that I knew it would end sooner or later and isn’t it better to have ended now, as I haven’t had time to get too attached. HAVEN’T I?!!! Why do I feel so shit then?
I battle through the morning and by lunchtime have pulled myself together sufficiently to reel in some back-up. I text Oxbridge and Brad Pity with the good news (for them) that I’m back on the market, and they both sound pleased and keen to see me. I go out for supper and to the theatre with a group of old friends which I find very comforting, in a This-is-the-future-in-a-Retirement-Home kind of way.
Over the next few days, I allow myself to think about MLP for about three minutes every hour before cutting off his blood supply and pushing the memory of him as far away as possible. He is absolutely and strictly forbidden to live rent free in my head.
Saturday. Although I have loads to do as I’m going away ski-ing first thing in the morning, I can’t cope with the Saturday-night-is-the-loneliest-night-of-the-week-syndrome, so I text Flash Gordon to tell him I’m free if he is. He excitedly offers to see me Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere. Perhaps I should rename him Martini (for those of you too young to remember - this was the strap line of their advert in the 1980s starring Joan Collins!)
We arrange to meet at the Elgin and he arrives just after me. He greets me with a warm hug and a kiss on both cheeks and goes straight to the bar. I study him from my table by the window. Could I? Should I? Would I? Not really. He is truly nice-looking and well-dressed as before, but nowhere in my chemistry lab do I find a Bunsen burner bubbling away with any degree of enthusiasm. And I’m sure he’s lied his age up. He looks about sixteen; I don’t even think he shaves yet.
We go through the usual What-you-been-up-to? natter and when it gets too noisy for conversation, we go up the road for an Indian. I feel a bit mean using him to sublimate my loneliness tonight, and I wonder, en passant, if the rest of him is in proportion with his short stature. He could be hung like a buffalo in which case I’d be missing out big time, but if he was, I can’t help thinking he would have dropped this juicy little nugget of information into the conversation somehow, as in:
‘Did I ever tell you about the time I had to take my girlfriend to the hospital to have her foufou re-modelled?’
We leave the restaurant and he moves in for a snog, but I do my little ducky divey dance and brush him away.
‘I live just round the corner!’ I say in mock shock. ‘I know a lot of people round here so PDAs in the street are not really appropriate…’ which of course we all know isn’t true.
He slinks off with his tail between his legs and I go home and finish packing thinking how glad I am to be getting away and vowing to leave all painful thoughts of MLP behind.
I go to bed wondering if he’s with his new squeeze having their first encounter, and how that feels for him. Exciting, probably. Well, it would, wouldn’t it?
I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and try to get some sleep.
Sunday. Calm Best Friend and I set off early for our Club Med ski trip with forty other singles. No sooner are we at the Gatwick check-in than we’re joined by a tall, dark, handsome, charming guy sporting the same luggage tags as us. He and I have a momentary eye fuck but I decide to let CBF have first dibs as:
a) I don’t need another involvement just now
b) she hasn’t had a boyfriend in a while
c) I don’t need another involvement just now and
d) I’m tired and I keep repeating myself.
I check out the rest of the motley crew but no-one remotely piques my interest. Calm Best Friend goes off shopping and Check-in Charlie (CC)and I hang around together chatting until the departure gate number comes up. We sit together on the plane and he entertains us for the entire flight. He is quick-witted and clever, every comment twisted into a hilarious metaphor.
I find myself inexorably drawn to him... but try not to show it...