On Friday afternoon I picked up my resized platinum and diamond engagement ring. I’m now wearing it. I realise I’m the victim of several thousand years’ worth of oppression because I keep holding up my hand to the light and admiring how it looks; I almost crashed my car because I kept gazing at it. Now, in shops, sales assistants can see I am clearly no longer a mad cat woman but am normal, wanted, loved. I sent a photo of the ring on my hand to my girlfriends. ‘So, it’s official!’ one said. And another: ‘When’s the wedding? More importantly, what will you wear? Are you going to live together apart?’
Then I remembered I had forgotten to send a photo to David. Oh dear. It must mean something when the person on the other end of the engagement slips your mind. So I sent him the photo, too.
‘It looks pretty,’ was his reply. ‘Sorry it took so long.’
He meant between giving me a ‘token’ (for which read cheap) ring in Paris a couple of years back and now. But I replied, referencing the year I fell in love with him, only to be rejected, ignored, passed over: ‘Only 36 years.’
‘Not so bad,’ he replied.
For the cover story of this week’s YOU, I was rifling through my robin’s-egg blue Tiffany & Co box of photos to look for cards readers have sent me over the years. I found the wedding invitation I sent to my mum, along with a letter outlining ‘useful things our guests need to know’. Honestly. I sound like Meghan Markle: philanthropic but controlling at the same time. Viz: ‘Could the bridesmaid and her family check in no later than 1pm, and the very willing Kerry [my PA; she almost came on the honeymoon] check in the day before. You will be staying at Babington House as our guests; you will only be charged for room service. Please, no wedding gifts. There is a fantastic pool, so remember to bring a swimming costume. You will need to check out the next day by noon.’
God, I sound like such an entitled cow. Sifting through the contact sheet of wedding photos, I realise I’m not smiling in a single one; I merely look anxious. I knew it was a big mistake. The only way I got through it was by drinking a magnum of champagne before the ceremony with the aforementioned Kerry. I realise, too, looking back on a day that cost me so much money (£20,000 and counting), that I am still in touch with only two people who were there as (very expensive) guests: my oldest friend Sue and my niece. Being so generous didn’t mean anyone liked me. The friend who gave a reading wrote on Twitter years later that I ‘pretend’ to have once known her. This despite the fact that not only did she give a reading, I gave her a petrol blue Azzedine Alaïa skirt that was way too big for me. You see, I can be bitchy with the best of them.
Anyway, then David asked me: ‘Can you take off your wedding band?’ I still wear my wedding ring, along with the ‘friendship’ ring (platinum with diamond chips) my ex-husband gave me after we were married, on my right hand. But I can’t take them off, even if I wanted to. They’re stuck.
‘I could get them off using a piece of thread,’ David continued. He really does hate any sign that I was once with another man.
I’m worried we are too different (I can hear the hollow laughter. Stop it!). Over Christmas he kept griping that I had only black pepper, not white. He eschewed my artisanal La Perruche brown sugar for his coffee, preferring to have white. For the trifle, I’d planned a topping of raspberries and slivered almonds; he’d bought hundreds and thousands. He thinks the fact I own a dishwasher is tantamount to me going fox hunting.
He has just texted. ‘I keep looking at the photo of you wearing the ring and it makes me happy.’
‘What are the next steps?’ I text him back, rather boldly I think.
‘We can talk when you’re in London on Thursday.’ (I’m looking at a flat in Highbury.)
Me: ‘Sounds ominous.’
Him: ‘No, not at all. Just too much to text.’
Oh no. Now what?