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Wednesday 1 February

 

9 st, alcohol units 9, cigarettes 28 (but will soon give up for Lent so might as well smoke self into disgusted smoking frenzy), calories 3826.

 

Spent the weekend struggling to remain disdainfully buoyant after the Daniel fuckwittage debacle. I kept saying the words, 'Self-respect' and 'Huh' over and over till I was dizzy, trying to barrage out, 'But I lurrrve him.' Smoking was v. bad. Apparently there is a Martin Amis character who is so crazily addicted that he starts wanting a cigarette even when he's smoking one. That's me. It was good ringing up Sharon to boast about being Mrs Iron Knickers but when I rang Tom he saw straight through it and said, 'Oh, my poor darling,' which made me go silent trying not to burst into self­-pitying tears.

'You watch,' warned Tom. 'He'll be gagging for it now. Gagging.'

'No, he won't,' I said sadly. 'I've blown it.'

On Sunday went for huge, lard-smeared lunch at my parents'. Mother is bright orange and moreopinionated than ever having just returned from week in Albufeira with Una Alconbury and Nigel Coles' wife, Audrey.

Mum had been to church and suddenly realized in a St Paul-on-road-to-Damascus-type blinding flash that the vicar is gay.

'It's just laziness darling,' was her view on the whole homosexuality issue. 'They simply can't be bothered to relate to the opposite sex. Look at your Tom. I really think if that boy had anything about him he'd be going out with you properly instead of all this ridiculous, "friends" nonsense.

'Mother,' I said. 'Tom has known he was a homosexual since he was ten.'

'Oh, darling! Honestly' You know how people get these silly ideas. You can always talk them out of it.'

'Does that mean if I talked to you really persuasively you'd leave Dad and start an affair with Auntie Audrey?'

'Now you're just being silly, darling,' she said.

'Exactly,' Dad joined in. 'Auntie Audrey looks like a kettle.'

'Oh, for heaven's sake, John,' Mum snapped, which struck me as odd as she doesn't usually snap at Dad.

My dad, somewhat bizarrely, insisted on giving my car a full service before I left, even though I assured him there was nothing wrong with it. I rather showed myself up by not remembering how to open the bonnet.

'Have you noticed anything odd about your mother?' he said in a stiff, embarrassed way as he fiddled around with the oil stick, wiping it with rags and plunging it back in a not unworrying manner, if one were a Freudian. Which I am not.

'You mean apart from being bright orange?' I said.

'Well yes, and . . . well, you know, the usual, er qualities.'

'She did seem unusually aerated about homosexuality.'

Oh no, that was just the Vicar's new vestments which set her off this morning. They were a little on the frou-frou side, to tell the truth. He's just come back from a trip to Rome with the Abbot of Dumfries. Dressed from head to toe in rose pink. No, I mean did you notice anything different from usual about Mummy?'

I racked my brains. 'I can't say I did, to be honest, other than seeming very sort of blooming and confident.'



'Hmmm,' he said. 'Anyway. Best get off before it gets dark. Send my love to Jude. How's she doing?'

Then he hit the bonnet in an off-you-go sort of way ­but so hard that I had a feeling he might have broken his hand.

Thought all would be resolved with Daniel on Monday but he wasn't there. Nor yesterday. Work has become like going to a party in order to get off with someone and finding they haven't turned up. Worried about own ambition, career prospects and moral seriousness as seem to reduce everything to level of scout disco. Eventually managed to worm out of Perpetua that Daniel has gone to New York. He will clearly by now have got off with thin American cool person called Winona who puts out, carries a gun and is everything I am not.

On top of everything else, must go to Smug Married dinner party at Magda and Jeremy's tonight. Such occasions always reduce my ego to size of snail, which is not to say am not grateful to be asked. I love Magda and Jeremy. Sometimes I stay at their house, admiring the crisp sheets and many storage jars full of different kinds of pasta, imagining that they are my parents. But when they are together with their married friends I feel as if I have turned into Miss Havisham.

 

11.45 p.m. Oh God. It was me, four married couples and Jeremy's brother (forget it, red braces and face. Calls girls 'fillies').

'So, bellowed Cosmo, pouring me a drink. 'How's your love-life?'

Oh no. Why do they do this? Why? Maybe the Smug Marrieds only mix with other Smug Marrieds and don't known how to relate to individuals any more. Maybe they really do want to patronize us and make us feel like failed human beings. Or maybe they are in such a sexual rut they're thinking, 'There's a whole other world out there,' and hoping for vicarious thrills by getting us to tell them the roller-coaster details of our sex lives.

'Yes, why aren't you married yet, Bridget?' sneered Woney (babytalk for Fiona, married to Jeremy's friend Cosmo) with a thin veneer of concern whilst stroking her pregnant stomach.

Because I don't want to end up like you, you fat, boring, Sloaney milch cow, was what I should have said, or, Because if I had to cook Cosmo's dinner then get into the same bed as him just once, let alone every night, I'd tear off my head and eat it, or, Because actually, Woney, underneath my clothes, my entire body is covered in scales. But I didn't because, ironically enough, I didn't want to hurt her feelings. So I merely simpered apologetically, at which point someone called Alex piped up, 'Well, you know, once you get past a certain age . . . '

'Exactly . . . All the decent chaps have been snapped up,' said Cosmo, slapping his fat stomach and smirking so that his jowls wobbled.

At dinner Magda had placed me, in an incestuous-sex­-sandwich sort of way, between Cosmo and Jeremy's crash­ing bore of a brother. 'You really ought to hurry up and get sprogged up, you know, old girl,' said Cosmo, pouring a quarter of a pint of '82 Pauillac straight down his throat. 'Time's running out.'

By this time I'd had a good half-pint of '82 Pauillac myself. 'Is it one in three marriages that end in divorce now or one in two?' I slurred with a pointless attempt at sarcasm.

'Seriously, old girl,' he said, ignoring me. 'Office is full of them, single girls over thirty. Fine physical specimens. Can't get a chap.'

'That's not a problem I have, actually,' I breathed, waving my fag in the air.

'Ooh. Tell us more,' said Woney.

So who is it, then?' said Cosmo.

'Getting a bit of a shag, old girl?' said Jeremy. All eyes turned to me, beadily. Mouths open, slavering.

'It's none of your business,' I said hoity-toitily.

'So she hasn't got a man!' crowed Cosmo.

'Oh my Cod, it's eleven o'clock,' shrieked Woney. 'The babysitter!' and they all leapt to their feet and started getting ready to go home.

'God, sorry about that lot. Will you be OK, hon?' whispered Magda, who knew how I was feeling.

'Wanta lift or anything?' said Jeremy's brother, following it up with a belch,

'Actually, I'm going on to a nightclub. I trilled, hurrying out into the street. 'Thanks for a super evening!' Then I got into a taxi and burst into tears.

 

Midnight. Har har. Just called Sharon.

'You should have said "I'm not married because I'm a Singleton, you smug, prematurely ageing, narrow-minded morons,"' Shazzer ranted. "'And because there's more than one bloody way to live: one in four households are single, most of the royal family are single, the nation's young men have been proved by surveys to be completely unmarriageable, and as a result there's a whole generation of single girls like me with their own incomes and homes who have lots of fun and don't need to wash anyone else's socks. We'd be as happy as sandboys if people like you didn't conspire to make us feel stupid just because you're jealous."'

'Singletons!' I shouted happily. 'Hurrah for the Singletons!'

 

 

Sunday 5 February

Still no word from Daniel. Cannot face thought of entire Sunday stretching ahead with everyone else in the world except me in bed with someone giggling and having sex. Worst of it is, only a week and a bit to go till impending Valentine's Day humiliation. No way will I get any cards. Toy with idea of flirting energetically with anyone I think might be induced to send me one, but dismiss as immoral. Will just have to take total indignity on the chin.

Hmm. I know. Think I'll go and see Mum and Dad again as am worried about Dad. Then will feel like caring angel or saint.

 

2 p.m. The last remaining tiny bathmat of security has been pulled from under my feet. Magnanimous offer to pay caring surprise visit met by odd-sounding Dad on end of phone.

'Er . . . I'm not sure, dear. Could you hang on?'

I reeled. Part of the arrogance of youth (well, I say 'youth') is the assumption that your parents will drop whatever they are doing and welcome you with open arms the second you decide to turn up. He was back. 'Bridget, look, your mother and I are having some problems. Can we ring you later in the week?'

Problems? What problems? I tried to get Dad to explain but got nowhere. What is going on? Is the whole world doomed to emotional trauma? Poor Dad. Am I to be the tragic victim of a broken home now, on top of everything else?

 

 

Monday 6 February

8st 12 (heavy internal weight completely vanished — mystery), alcohol units I (v.g.), cigarettes 9 (v.g.), calories 1800 (g.).

Daniel will be back in the office today. I shall be poised and cool and remember that I am a woman of substance and do not need men in order to be complete, especially not him, Am not going to message him or indeed take any notice of him whatsoever.

 

9.30 a.m. Humph. Daniel does not seem to be here yet.

 

9.35 a.m. Still no sign of Daniel.

 

9.36 a.m. Oh God, oh God. Maybe he's fallen in love in New York and stayed there.

 

9.47 a.m. Or gone to Las Vegas and got married.

 

9.50 a.m. Hmmm. think will go inspect make-up in case he does come in.

 

10.05 a.m. Heart gave great lurch when got back from loos and saw Daniel standing with Simon from Marketing at the photocopier. The last time I saw him he was lying on his sofa looking completely nonplussed while I fastened my skirt and ranted about fuckwittage. Now he was looking all sort of 'I've been away' — fresh faced and healthy-looking. As I passed he looked pointedly at my skirt and gave me a huge grin.

 

10.30 a.m. Message Pending flashed up on screen. Pressed RMS to pick up message.

 

Message Jones

Frigid cow.

Cleave.

 

I laughed. I couldn't help myself. When I looked across to his little glass office he was smiling at me in a relieved and fond sort of way. Anyway, am not going to message him back.

 

10.35 a.m. Seems rude not to reply, though.

 

10.45 a.m. God, I'm bored.

 

10.47 a.m. I'll just send him a tiny friendly message, nothing flirtatious, just to restore good relations.

 

11.00 a.m. Tee hee. Just logged on as Perpetua to give Daniel a fright.

 

Message Cleave

It is hard enough as it is, trying to meet

your targets without people wasting my

team's time with non-essential messages.

Perpetua

P.S. Bridget's skirt is not feeling at all

well and have sent it home.

 

10 p.m. Daniel and I messaged each other all day. ­But there is no way I am going to sleep with him.

Rang Mum and Dad again tonight but no one answered. V. weird.

 

 


Date: 2015-12-17; view: 308


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