Thursday 25 July

8st 13, cigarettes 2; alcohol units 3, calories 700 ( perfect saint)

Last Saturday, outside the Post Office after months of flirtation and beating around, as it were, the bush, Mark Darcy and I formally agreed to perform act of ...well ... not to put too fine a point on it, to go to bed together. But unfortunately we could not do it there and then as he was meeting his mother for lunch and I was secretly relieved as I was wearing strange leopardskin pants bought by my brother and his girlfriend for my birthday as an indecipherable joke. Mark was going to New York that night till Friday so the sinful rendezvous was arranged for this Saturday.

Rushed home in state of delighted apprehension to ring Tom, Shazzer and Jude but no one was in. In despair rang Magda and Jeremy and triumphantly told Magda news, as if announcing wedding, to sound of screaming babies and Jeremy's motorbike in background.

Big silence. "Magda?" I said, thinking I was going to get a lecture on morals.

"You make me sick," Magda suddenly burst out, passionately.

"But I've known Mark since I was three, and we're both single and..."

"You're just so bloody lucky, Bridget."

"Me? Lucky?" I exploded, outraged.

"Yes. I'd do bloody anything to have all that thrill of the first night with someone again, all that insecurity and excitement and not knowing if he'll call and dates and ... instead of which I'm stuck with bloody Jeremy - yes I do mean you, Jeremy, for the rest of my bloody life."

I gaped, stunned, then within a split second started feeling smug. I spend my entire time envying Smug Marrieds, especially Magda and Jeremy with their perfect life and big piles of money, and suddenly, at a stroke, I was transformed into a Smug Singleton. "But Magda," I said, instantly lapsing into the sort of contented, caring, humiliating tone Magda always adopts with me when I ring her up to say I am a mad tragic dysfunctional spinster who will end up living alone and keeping snakes. "You've got a wonderful home and husband and two lovely children."

"Oh for heaven's sakes. Shut up. I've got to go change Molly's nappy", she shouted, and banged the phone down. Miserably tried Shazzer again who was in, and told her the whole Magda story.

"Oh well exactly, that's the plight of modern women," she said. "The grass is always greener. We think we're supposed to do everything and have everything and end up constantly feeling failures."

"But isn't it the same for men?" I said, moonily, feminist allegiances having rather bowed under the mounting excitement about next Saturday.

"No. They can do everything. They can be career men till the age of 50 and then have a family. And look at Jeremy - he's got the family and the affair."

"But Magda could do that too, except she wouldn't because she's too honourable."

"Well exactly, the plight of women, riddled by guilt."

I was about to tell Sharon she was rather illogical because lots of married women have affairs, when she suddenly yelled.



"You can't sleep with Mark Darcy next Saturday night. You're going to Thailand the next morning."

"What? What? I thought it was next Sunday. The Sunday after." Oh my God. Oh my God.

Saturday 27 July

9st 2 (huh. total pre-holiday diet failure); cigarettes 42, alcohol units 5, calories 4,457. (total despair)

Why oh why am I going on holiday? It is boiling hot here. I have no money. I am poised on the brink of a romantic liaison for which the moment will pass: I will end up too broke to get home and get sucked into the Thai prostitution racket while Mark Darcy will be swept away by a clever lawyer who does not think Rimbaud was played by Sylvester Stallone. I will spend the entire holiday wishing Sharon was Mark Darcy, and she that I was Leonard the aerobics teacher, I have spent all day in changing rooms off Oxford Street trying to squeeze my breasts into bikini tops designed for people with breasts either arranged one on top of the other in the centre of their chests or one under each arm, with the harsh down-lighting making me look like a harvest festival-style plaited breadloaf before baking. Now it is 8 o'clock. Mark Darcy, who only got back from New York this morning and has jet lag, is coming round in 15 minutes to take me out to, he thinks, consummate our passion. My entire bedroom is covered in wet washing, biros, and polythene bags. I do not know how many bras to take, I cannot find my black T-shirt dress without which I cannot go, and I cannot find my other pink jelly mule, I haven't got any travellers' cheques yet and do not think my credit card is working. There are now only eight hours left till I have to leave the house. Aaargh. Aaargh. Aaargh.


8.15pm Relieved yet horribly deflated. It was Mark Darcy.

"Have you packed?" he said.

"Nearly," I said, looking round at the scene of carnage.

"Bridget," he said again. "Have you packed?"

"No," I mumbled sheepishly.

He laughed. "Listen," he said gently. "After all this time, I don't think it's a very good idea to finally fall into bed on top of a pile of wet washing, when I've got jet lag, and you've got to get up at three in the morning, do you?"

"Not really," I whispered, seeing the logic but feeling the awful, lurching sense of being stood up.

"You go off and have a nice holiday," he said. "I'll see you when you come back. And Bridget?"


"You do know it's the rainy season in Thailand, don't you? You should maybe take an umbrella."