Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - THIS LIFE -

I’M ASHAMED. I’m very ashamed. I half ex­pected David not to turn up to my joint birth­day din­ner with my best friend Sue and her fam­ily. I’d not heard a peep, ever since he said yes, he’d love to come. I got to my ho­tel, Home House, with an hour to wash my hair and trowel on make-up, when I got this:

‘Hi. I know I’m an hour early. Just text when you’re ready.’

Yikes! I put on my make-up, tak­ing just 45 min­utes, and stag­gered Dick Emery-fash­ion up the curved stone stair­case to the bar, where he was wait­ing with a glass of cham­pagne.

He was wear­ing jeans and the N Peal cardi­gan I gave him: a bit too ca­sual for Nobu on Park Lane, but still. I was over­dressed as usual: a Stella Mc­Cart­ney T-shirt with em­bel­lished col­lar, Gucci hanky skirt, glit­tery heels. I placed Sue’s present on the ta­ble: a Dip­tyque can­dle, gift-wrapped. He placed his gift to her next to mine: it was ex­actly the same can­dle. He is ob­vi­ously try­ing.

We caught an Uber to Park Lane, and went up to the bar. It was lovely to be out on a hot sum­mer night, with a man. ‘I thought you might have asked HIM tonight,’ he said, ob­vi­ously miffed. ‘Do you mean the fa­mous one?’ I asked him. ‘No. I don’t re­ally fancy him. He’s even worse than you.’

He laughed. Sue and her fam­ily turned up, and I was seated next to her mum, who is lovely. She was fas­ci­nated to meet David for the first time. She whis­pered in my ear: ‘He ob­vi­ously ADORES you!’ ‘How can you tell?’ ‘It’s the way he keeps look­ing at you.’ We talked about my ac­tual birth­day, in two weeks’ time. ‘I will be in Prim­rose Hill by then,’ I told them. ‘Maybe we can go to Manna, David?’ ‘OK, it’s a date,’ he said. After a lovely meal, we caught a cab back to my ho­tel. ‘Oh. Would you like to come up?’ I asked, ex­actly like Carrie in the last ever episode of Sex and the City. ‘I’ll come in for a drink,’ he said. He hadn’t brought lug­gage, which would have been a tad pre­sump­tu­ous, but I thought I spied some­thing tooth­brush-shaped in his pocket; it could have been any­thing. We sat on the bal­cony over­look­ing the gar­den; I pointed out a pos­si­ble stain on the ancient flags from when Mini stayed with me last time. ‘She’s very sen­si­tive,’ I said. ‘We can have break­fast in the gar­den. I mean, I will.’

He smiled. ‘We, don’t you think?’ He knew he would be com­ing up. I’d been waxed, Essie Bal­let Slip­pered, so part of me didn’t want to waste all that ef­fort. He trailed me up the many, many stairs to a room over­look­ing Port­man Square. I thought about re­mov­ing my hear­ing aids. I haven’t had the op­por­tu­nity of sex since get­ting them six months ago, and felt they might get in the way dur­ing any nuz­zling, al­though if I were to leave them in they’d avoid him hav­ing to talk dirty loudly. ‘In or out?’ I asked him, and he looked puz­zled. I took them out. Re­moved the make-up. Brushed my teeth. Show­ered. This took some time. Part of me was hop­ing by the time I emerged he’d be asleep: not through lack of de­sire, but be­cause I was ner­vous.

But no, he was wide awake, in his Next pants, on the edge of the bed. I thought I would take the awk­ward­ness out of the equa­tion, and just landed on him, and we wres­tled. ‘You know how much I love you,’ he said.

The next morn­ing, when I woke up, he was gone. Charm­ing. I thought he’d sloped home un­til I re­alised his phone was still there, his tooth­brush. He had just nipped out for a fag. We had break­fast on the ter­race. It was like old times; he even moaned about there be­ing no mar­malade. It was hot and sunny, like be­ing on hol­i­day.

Any­way, a week or so ago I’d sent him a col­umn I’d writ­ten, the one where I re­alise I love him. He hadn’t even replied. So I asked him. ‘Did you read it?’ ‘Of course I did.’ ‘And?’ ‘I didn’t know what to say.’ Odd. I won­der if he’s found some­one else. If so, she won’t be glad to read this mis­sive, will she? As he helped me into a cab, he said, ‘Be kind about me. You know, the re­view.’


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