Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
I should never have relented.
I should never have invited David for the weekend to see my new kitchen. I should never have listened when he texted that he loves me ‘deeply’ and sent a one-wick candle. How stupid am I?
Two whole days of preparation. Hair dye. Eyelash tint. Waxing. I spent the second day cleaning, changing the bed, making sure he had a clean human towel, not a dog towel. I went to Tesco. And we all know how much I hate doing a Big Shop. Tanqueray gin, £27. Fever-Tree tonic water. Cheese. Milk. Butter. Flowers. I lit candles, and I never light my candles; they sit there, inert, for years.
On Friday, having heaved my Big Shop indoors, I made a curry. From scratch. I had a bath. I washed my hair. I put on make-up (oh god, I am so out of practice!) and applied two different levels of Hourglass primer.
I had told him not to arrive before 5pm. He was in the door by five past. He hugged me. I made him a gin and tonic. I had even bought an unwaxed lemon. ‘Do you have ice?’ he asked me.
‘No. I don’t. Despite the Smeg fridge costing nearly two grand, it doesn’t have ice-cube trays. But the tonic is cold.’
‘My fridge is bigger. Is that the cooker that was here before?’
‘No! No, it’s not! What are you thinking? That was awful, a horrible burnt hob that didn’t work!’
Even though he told me he’d bring gluten-free bread, he said he forgot, or the shop didn’t have it.
‘But I told you I was in Tesco! I cannot go back there!’
We had dinner. It was amazing. It’s the one thing I can cook. I really felt I could do this. I could be an amazing girlfriend for one weekend. I would ignore the lumberjack shirt left on the sofa.
Come 10.30pm, I suggested we walk my dogs, Item Three on his to-do list. ‘I have found a new route, short, that is flat.’
‘OK,’ he said.
The reason he can’t do hills is because he has been a smoker for many years, which means the arteries in his leg are constricted, giving him pain. Which is why we couldn’t stroll around Paris. Him sorting out his health was on my List Of Things He Has To Change In Order For Us To Get Back Together.
We went about 50 yards, and he spotted a slope. ‘It looks like a slope into a field.’
‘It’s nothing. There is a stile, but then the field is completely flat. Dog walking is a huge part of my life. It’s really important to me.’
He started swearing. No one says the F word in front of my collies. He said he had to go back so I continued alone. Only when I returned to the lane did I realise he had walked off with two of my leads.
I opened the door of my lovely cottage, my home. That I had spent two years making into a sanctuary, where I finally feel safe, and which now simmered with conflict. I took off my coat.
‘You took my leads. How did you think we would get back safely? Do you not think I have had a hard enough year? I don’t need to be upset! You could have killed my collies!’
‘You’re back, they’re fine. I asked if you wanted the leads.’
‘Of course I wanted them. I didn’t hear you ask as it was dark and I AM DEAF!!!!’
He got up. ‘I am going.’
‘Another item on My List of Things You Have To Change was that you wouldn’t run away. You have only been here for five hours, having driven all day from London.’
He gathered his ‘things’. As he left, his passing shot was to swear at me again. What sort of man does that?
He left his iPad. He always leaves something. Spectacles. Skin cells. The old me would have texted to say I would post it. Readers, I am not the old me. Not any more. I have locked the door and propped it outside. I don’t care if it rains.