A strangely conflicted, confusing week. Having tried to return the engagement ring to the jeweller and failed, I texted David to try to make us work, so at least his £800 wasn’t a complete waste. ‘I’m completely in love with you. You must know that. It’s your flat I hate.’
He hasn’t even bothered to reply.
The good news is, I got an email from the Hunk in Australia. The fact I emailed him about the bush fires is what caused a furious row between me and David over Christmas. Anyway, the Hunk – a photographer I used to work with – wrote back: ‘Sorry, it’s been at the back of my mind to reply to you. No doubt you are thriving extraordinarily, for I cannot imagine you any other way. I’m not too sure when I will ever visit England again but if I do it would be truly delightful to see you.’
I told my assistant, Nic, party to all my deliberations about David. I said that if the Hunk asked me to marry him, I would do it next week. No list of pros and cons. No wanting to change him, no list of rules of things he shouldn’t do or wear. I wouldn’t hesitate to ask him to move into the cottage in Yorkshire.
‘Well, that has to tell you something,’ she said.
I’d met the Hunk on a foreign assignment. Whenever you are sent to report on a famine or an earthquake, it always involves spending hours in the back of a four by four with a male photographer. Usually, on these stories in the poorest parts of the planet, I spend the time fighting with the photographer for being dismissive of my job as a writer (they think only the pictures are important) and for being rude to our subjects. At a garment factory in Bangladesh, the male photographer actually clicked his fingers at the women to make them look at the camera. I said to him, ‘Why not bother to learn their names and ask them politely? As you would if you were on a shoot with Kate Moss in London?’ This particular photographer was working with me on a story about the terrible conditions in the slums of garment workers, and he actually said of the families in Delhi who sleep beneath pieces of corrugated iron, ‘They’re used to it. They’re not like us.’
But the Hunk was different. When I was interviewing a woman in Bali (before I had hearing aids), he sat there, quiet as a mouse, and made notes as he knew I couldn’t hear her. In the back of the vehicle, we would natter, natter, natter so the hours flew past.
‘But how do you know he fancied you if nothing ever, you know, happened?’ Nic asked.
‘I don’t, but there were signs Only A Woman Knows. In Peru, a woman with us asked what kind of man I like and I replied, ‘Prince, because he’s small and won’t keep getting in the way.’ And the Hunk said, ‘Well, that rules me out.’ Another time, when we were talking about what it was like to live in Sydney, he said, ‘I’m trapped, aren’t I?’
‘So why didn’t you make a move? At least flirt a little?’
‘He was married. With children. I would never do that. And to his credit, he didn’t make a move, either. He was nice.’
‘And looks like Liam Neeson.’
‘Yes, that too.’
‘There was a time a couple of years back when you planned to go to Australia, in the hope of meeting up when you read he’d got divorced.’
This is true. I even bought a new suitcase, a Mulberry washbag and Hanro underwear: expensive and subtly sexy, not like Victoria’s Secret at all. But I couldn’t afford the fare. And I’m also slightly feeling: why should I make all the running? Why not meet halfway? LA, perhaps. Trouble is, he has no idea I like him. He probably thinks I’m still engaged.
‘Send him a nice, friendly email,’ Nic said. She’s much more forward than I am. ‘Stalk him digitally.’
I can’t. I’m too shy. And old. And he’s mistaken. I haven’t ‘thrived extraordinarily’. I’d be a huge disappointment.
Oh my God. I’ve been so busy writing this, I’ve just realised. He might, just might, read this column.
Damn the internet! Please don’t tweet the link to this article. Let’s keep it under our hats…
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