I have a confession to make. Last week, I told you I had dumped David. He would be the male equivalent of Isabelle Adjani, dumped by Daniel Day-Lewis, legend has it, by text. He would only find out it had happened when he read, feverish as always, my column on Sunday morning.
The fact is, I told him I would dump him in print, but we could continue to see each other in secret. I know!
Thing is, I’m not sure how this would work, given every time I go out, even wearing a mask with mad hair, women stop me and say, ‘How is Gracie’s back, any after-effects from the spine op? Are you still wearing the ring? Isn’t the regrowth from a Hollywood a bit, well, prickly?’ No one ever holds back. I was once stopped out on the moor by a ruddy-faced woman with a filthy spaniel who bellowed, ‘Liz! The Myla thong! Doesn’t it ride up on all these hills?’
But David seemed happy about this new arrangement. Positively giddy. He texted, completely out of character on Sunday night, not to complain about that day’s column*, as is his wont, but to ask, ‘How was your weekend?’ He never does this, as it is usually All About Him. I told him I had spent the day building a fence. ‘Is this to make sure Dream is safe, as he had laminitis [inflammation of the feet, due to too much grass]?’
‘Dream is dead. Also was female.’
‘Oh god, I’m sorry. I’m an idiot. One of the reasons I don’t want you to write about me is I don’t want you documenting my slide into dementia.’ I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not he is joking; it turned out to be the latter, but the exchange made me think: I can’t be someone’s carer, unless they have fur.
I told him he could come for a weekend, but that we have to have a meaningful conversation, that he can’t run away at my first serious question (has he stopped smoking, can he walk more than ten metres without sitting down, has he sorted out his flat?). I never normally do this, but I then typed, ‘How long do you plan to come for?’
‘It can’t be longer than four days, due to my cat.’
Me, ever hopeful: ‘Two nights?’
‘No, three. If that’s OK?’
You know a man is into you, that you are the adored, not the adoree, if you type ‘Two nights?’ and he replies, ‘No, three.’
‘Will you arrive on Friday or Saturday?’
My god, it’s almost as if I spearheaded the #MeToo movement! Look at how assertive I am! How demanding! How diva-ish!
‘Friday. I will set off in good time.’ You see, this is why women read E L James and Sylvia Day. Then it was announced that London was going into Tier 2 restrictions. David texted, almost in tears: ‘This is so unfair!’ I told him perhaps he is not allowed to venture beyond the M25 or mingle with a different household, and that I’m sure mingling body fluids with someone he’s not married to would be enough to land him in jail.
‘I’ve been in isolation for ten months!’ he wrote. ‘It’s all very depressing. I am so angry.’
Then, a bit later. ‘As I have no one in my bubble, can I choose you to be in it? If you agree?’
Oh, that it were the summer of 1983…
*I did, though, earlier that day, at 06.44 to be precise, receive this missive from P: ‘An easy paragraph for you, which you don’t have the integrity to print. I didn’t deserve any of that. Quite the opposite. Even allowing for your many issues, it was bizarre and a little scary. I must apologise to my exes whom I’ve described as mad in the past. I wish you well, but subject the hapless David to the madness; the Mysterious P has seen the light.’ I really, really object to a man calling me mad. And he’s wrong – I have printed it.