I now have two engagement rings. Let me explain. The gold ring David gave me on Christmas Day wouldn’t go over my knuckle so he insisted we go to a local jeweller to get it resized. As we entered the shop, he said. ‘If you don’t like it, I can take it back. I’ve got 28 days.’
‘Really? It’s just I’d prefer platinum and a square stone.’
We looked in the window and I spotted the perfect ring. As I stood inside with the collies he was outside, pointing it out to the sales assistant.
‘But it’s £880,’ I said. ‘That’s too much.’
‘No, it’s not.’ I tried it on, but again it was too small. The sales assistant said the jeweller was back after the holidays, so I could pick it up on 10 January. David paid a deposit. The only spanner was when the sales assistant said, ‘See you on the 10th. Unless you have a row before then!’ I wish people would stop interfering in my relationship.
‘It’s beautiful,’ I said.
‘So is that a proper yes?’ he asked, his face crumpled with worry.
Hence I now have two engagement rings. I told my assistant, Nic. ‘You are officially a diva,’ she said.
It was all fine until the day before New Year’s Eve. David disappeared to his bank in Northallerton. I looked after the horses, got home and he had a face like a full wet nappy.
‘I’ve just read your column. You wrote you emailed a man you fancied.’
‘And? That’s someone I’ve not seen for years and never went out with. You went to France in a car to a party with your ex. Which you only told me about after the event and still I didn’t make a fuss. I asked him about the bush fires in Australia.’
‘But you didn’t write that. You implied you still fancy him.’
‘It’s a column! It has to have a cliffhanger! You never comment when I write something nice; all you do is complain and whine about dogs on the bed. “Oooh, I can’t get close to you…” If you don’t like dating a writer with collies, get lost!’
He’d been brewing since we had dinner with a friend and she’d said, ‘Oh, Liz wrote something nice about you. That must be a first!’ Also, we’ve only had sex once since he got here, which gave me cystitis.
‘Don’t scream,’ he said.
‘I have to scream because you don’t listen. You keep saying, “But you didn’t write that.” You should know the score by now. I’ve never cheated on anyone. Unlike you.’
He disappeared. I could hear him packing. He left. I called him. ‘David. You can’t drive to London this late. Come back.’
‘I will if you apologise.’
‘What for? Emailing an old colleague? You’re insane.’
He came back.
I broke the news that my friend Helen would be coming on New Year’s Eve. I knew he’d be insanely jealous not to have me to himself but he never says anything. All he does is sit and watch TV, sucking on his cigarette substitute like a teat.
I have no idea what to do. I keep making mistakes. Getting married to Nirpal. Leaving London. Doing reality TV that I thought would get me out of a financial hole, but only served to dig it deeper when I was sacked from my job. Inviting my sister to live with me. Aren’t you meant to spend New Year’s Eve with the one you want to be with for the next 12 months? I need to tell David to get his deposit back from the jeweller because if I don’t then the ring will be altered and that will be that. But I can’t decide!
I call my Irish psychic friend Mairead. Years ago, she told me that leaving London would be a good move, which she was wrong about. But she also said she saw me surrounded by empty bottles of wine, which proved prophetic. I ask her: ‘What should I do about David?’
‘You are in a good place. You’ve got rid of people who were bad for you, and now you have a small circle of good ones. But I can see an infection… Gynaecological?’ I confirm I have cystitis. How can she know that?
She goes on: ‘He’s lazy, feels out of his depth. My feeling is even if you had a strong man, you’d hate him as well. All he wants is a quiet life. He will never change, but he really loves you. Wear the ring. Engagements can be broken. Take off your armour and see where it leads you. I feel if you say no now, he won’t come back.’