THE DIARY OF BRIDGET JONES

Saturday 7 May!!!

Cigarettes 0, alcohol units 0, calories 1,800

Today is an historic and joyous day. After 18 years of trying to get down to 8st 7, I have finally achieved it - without even trying. It's no trick of the scales, but confirmed by jeans. I am thin.

There is no explanation. I have been to the gym twice in the last week, but that, though rare, is not freakish. I have eaten normally. It is a miracle. Rang up Tom, who said maybe I have a tapeworm. The way to get rid of it, he said, is to hold a bowl of warm milk and a pencil in front of my mouth, (tapeworms love warm milk), then, when the worm's head appears, wrap it carefully round the pencil. "Listen," I told him, "this tapeworm is staying." I love my tapeworm. Not only am I thin, but I no longer seem to want to smoke or glug wine.

"Are you in love?" asked Tom in a suspicious, jealous tone. He's always like this. It's not that he wants to be with me, because, obviously, he is a homosexual, but if you are single the last thing you want is your best friend forming a functional relationship with somebody else. I racked my brains then stopped, shocked by a sudden, stunning, realisation. I am not in love with Daniel anymore. Maybe that explains it.

Saturday night

Went to Jude's party tonight, clad in a tight little black dress to show off figure, feeling fantastic.

"Bridget, are you all right?" asked Sharon when I walked in. "You look really tired." "I'm fine," I said, crestfallen. "I've lost half a stone. What?"

"Nothing, no, I just, thought ... "

"What? What?"

"Maybe you've lost it a bit quickly off your ... face," she trailed off, looking at my admittedly somewhat deflated cleavage.

Simon was the same.

"Bridgiiiiiit! Have you got a fag, angel?"

"No I've given up."

"Oh blimey, no wonder you look so ... "

"What??"

"Oh nothing, nothing. Just a bit ... drawn."

It continued all evening. There's nothing worse than people telling you you look tired. They might as well have done with it and say you look like five kinds of sh*t. I felt so pleased with myself for not drinking but as the evening wore on, and everyone got drunker, I began to feel so calm and smug that I was even irritating myself. I kept finding myself in conversations when I actually couldn't be bothered to say a single word, and just looked on and nodded in a wise, detached manner. "Have you got any camomile tea?" I said to Jude at one point as she lurched past, hiccuping happily, at which point she collapsed into giggles, put her arm round me and fell over. I decided I'd better go home.

Once there, I got into bed, put my head on the pillow but nothing happened ... I kept putting my head in one place, then another place, but still it wouldn't go to sleep. Normally I would be snoring by now and having some sort of traumatised paranoid dream. I put the light on. It was only 11.30. Maybe I should do something, like, well, er ... mending? The phone rang. It was Tom.

"Are you all right?"

"Yes, I feel great. Why?"

"You just seemed, well, flat tonight. Everyone said you weren't your usual self."

"No, I was fine. Did you see how thin I am?" Silence.

"Tom?"

"I think you looked better before, hon."

Now I feel empty and bewildered - as if a rug has been pulled from under my feet. Eighteen years - wasted. Eighteen years of calorie and fat-unit based arithmetic. Eighteen years of buying long shirts and jumpers, and leaving the room backwards in intimate situations to hide my bottom. Millions of cheesecakes and tiramisus, entire packets of Emmenthal slices, left uneaten. Eighteen years of struggle, sacrifice and endeavour - for what? For nothing. I feel like a scientist who discovers that his entire life's work has been a mistake. Eighteen years and the result is "tired and flat".

Last week my mother turned up on Sunday morning in floods of tears. I wondered if her new self-perpetuating sexual power surge had collapsed like a house of cards with dad, Julio and the tax man loosing interest simultaneously. But no. She had merely been infected with "Having it All" syndrome. "I feel like the grasshopper who sang all summer," she sobbed, "and now it is the winter of my life and I haven't stored up anything of my own." I was going to point out that three potential eligible partners gagging for it, plus half the house and the pension schemes wasn't exactly nothing, but I bit my tongue. "I want a career," she said. And some horrible mean part of me felt happy and smug, because I had a career. I was a grasshopper collecting a big pile of grass, or flies, or whatever it is grasshoppers eat ready for the winter.

Today, though, she was positively blooming. "My godfathers, darling!" she said, steaming through my flat and heading for the kitchen. "Have you lost weight or something? You look dreadful. You look about 90. Anyway, guess what, darling," she said, turning, holding the kettle and dropping her eyes modestly and then looking up, beaming. "I've got a job as a TV presenter."

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