I finally got a text from David after three long weeks of being ghosted. ‘Hello. Just to let you know I have started Sweetie’s last tube of medication, so will need some more. How is your book going?’
Is there anyone else out there who is ‘going out’ with a man who doesn’t send a single text for three weeks? That’s being dumped, surely, especially in this technological age. But he has my cats, so I have to play nice. I promised to order some more, and send it to him, along with some Gourmet fish soup (Sweetie and Susie are so old, they have very few teeth left).
I’d told him I’ve finally landed literary and screenwriting agents. I now have more agents than friends. The new novel is going so well I really do think this is The One. It’s flying from my fingers, like automatic writing. I have until 2 January to submit the whole thing, and so each day I have to write 5,000 words. I always wonder when I read that a novel took ten years to write (what was Donna Tartt doing?) and how the author would pen 800 words before breakfast then spend the rest of the day gardening or making trifle from scratch – how do they afford to eat? Why do I have to do everything at speed?
All of which means I’m not having anyone to stay in my cottage in Yorkshire over Christmas. Dear God, not after last year. What a disaster. The (now ex) friend who didn’t lift a finger. She would disappear each day to chain smoke in someone else’s house ‘because it’s too cold to sit in your garden’, as though the weather was my fault, then return with a loaf of sliced Warburtons bread (I’m very fussy about my bread; it has to be artisan and not come from a supermarket) and a bottle of Coke, while my friend Helen and I would return from M&S, ashen and several hundred pounds poorer, with reinforcements of champagne, more parsnips and nuts in shells.
I would walk into the kitchen and my ex-friend would be complaining about me to Helen, who of course filled me in later: it was like being back at school. And the mess! One friend actually took the mattress off the bed and put it on the floor! I nearly had a heart attack. She never made her bed once, either, which I think is rude in someone else’s home. She kept telling me to put my dogs in the bedroom in case they killed hers. I’m sure she broke my lamp.
Christmas with a group of girlfriends was bad enough, but it’s ten times worse with a man. You have to put make-up on. They keep wanting to eat things. They want to have sex in the middle of Love Actually. They never, ever want to go on a frosty walk with the dogs, saying, ‘Oh, no, I can’t. I have to sieve the gravy. And it’s too cold.’
The first Christmas I spent with David, he was really sweet (note the word ‘first’). He gave me a grey sweater from J Crew and cooked lunch on Christmas Day wearing the red suit from Dunhill, circa 1983, that he’d worn when he’d come round to my house in order for me to sew beads in his ponytail (it was the 1980s, what can I say?), before disappearing on a hot date with another woman.
The festive season went quite well – apart from the fact he said to nic, who’d made gluten-free cheesecake, just for him: ‘It was a bit grainy’; do men not know that sometimes you have to lie? We then went to a New Year’s Eve party in Brixton, where someone let slip that one of their gang had written a bunch of nasty lies about me on Mumsnet, which sent me into a downward spiral. He didn’t make an appearance last Christmas, despite being invited, sending this: ‘Why, what’s changed?’
So I don’t know. I’m quite looking forward to being on my own, with just the three collies for company. I’m going to go for a frosty ride on my horse (I haven’t told you about her, have I; this is because I was under a gagging order, a bit like someone who works for Topshop, placed on me by my debt solutions adviser), drink buck’s fizz and eat M&S nut roast, before binge watching old Hollywood movies in front of a log fire. I’m not buying a single present. I’m not getting a tree. I won’t have to make up a spare bed – or myself.
New Year’s Eve? I’ve just had an offer I can’t refuse. I wonder if I can get an extreme bikini wax on Boxing Day?