Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chapter Fifty - The Ghosts of Christmas Farce

Relationship Rehab - week 33

OK, so what do Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Light of the Silvery Moon, Nigella Lawson and Anthea Turner all have in common? Apart from the fact that they’re all SO last year? They all nurture an unrealistic view of Christmas.

The harsh reality about Christmas is that it’s about kids and couples and a huge quest for retailers to suck as much from our credit cards in as short a time as possible! Forget the snowflakes and hot toddy, lose any dreams of log fires and sheepskin rugs! It’s all a farce! There’s no mention of the hundreds of pairs of socks that men get on 25th December, or the rows over the remote control and the hours spent standing, sweating, over an uncooked turkey the size of a 3-year old toddler! It’s just not worth it! And then there’s the songs - I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, Without You! It’s all for couples and I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be in L.A. At least Christmas with sunshine will be slightly easier to swallow.

With only a few months of Relationship Rehab to go I have to say that it’s been a tough year so far. I’d hoped that choosing to stay single would mean that I had loads of free time to be just ‘me’ - but the reverse has been true. As I’ve spent more time alone it’s given me lots of free time ... time for reflection, self-doubt and recrimination ... time to question why I serial-date losers and why, to quote the book, “If I’m so ‘wonderful, why am I still single?” It’s knocked some of the edges off of me, which probably isn’t a bad thing, and given me a slightly more realistic view of what a ‘good’ relationship means. But I’m still in no hurry to settle for a ‘better than nothing’ relationship.
So maybe this rehab is working....

I won’t wish you a Merry Christmas just yet - we have another 3 weekends of raucous office parties and drunk revellers to endure yet..


I’d promised myself a shopping trip after work but I’m just too tired. I know I’ll pick up something for Mum’s wedding in either Monsoon, Coast or Zara but, thanks to a spinach, pesto and pasta lunch I have an absurdly bloated stomach tonight. And no - it’s not because of something else! So I’m swerving the shops tonight and can’t wait to get home. It’s been a tough day and AJ was the most irritating women ever as she fussed and foosted about with the box of tired old Christmas decorations. She spent the afternoon draping worn tinsel over the guys computer screens and talked incessantly as she bent and shaped the wire branches of the ancient Christmas tree.

I think it was first bought when Woman To Woman opened - about 1968! I step out of work, in the dark again, to find that it’s cold and wet outside. Head down I brace myself, tightening the belt on my black raincoat, and make my way determinedly to the tube station. Can’t wait to get home and get out of these wet clothes. It feels like a night for pj’s and hot chocolate. Hmmmm..


I get home forty minutes later absolutely drenched. I’ve left my umbrella in my bottom drawer at work and the rain drops are dripping from my hair onto my cheeks and from the tip of my nose. Not a pretty sight. Forcing the key into the lock I stand on my door mat and peel my coat from me, only to hear Jen’s voice. It sounds as though she’s talking to herself, so when I check my reflection and see that my mascara has panda’d around my eyes and my hair is so wet it looks black, I make no effort to fix myself. She’s probably web-camming again. To be honest I’m a little concerned about her fixation with these dating sites and web cams. She doesn’t know I saw her, but when I got up late last night to go to the bathroom I noticed her, through the crack in her bedroom door, showing off on web cam. Showing off and showing all. She was cavorting on her bed wearing only a miniscule g-string and I was rooted to the spot, open-mouthed, as I watched her lift up her boobs and wiggle them to the camera with a giggle and pout. It’s like living with a recalcitrant teenager! So imagine how shocked I am to walk into my lounge and see her there - inappropriately dressed (I use the term loosely) in a pair of tiny shorts and vest. And Rob sitting in the armchair listening to her. I have to admit that I’m so shocked to see him here once again that I temporarily forget about my unfortunate appearance. I have to admit, he does look rather as though he’s losing the will to live. And I also have to admit that my groin kind of pings strangely as my tum flips - at the sight of his broad shoulders beneath his black t-shirt and his fabulous thighs, tight against the denim of his jeans.
“Sophie!” Jen jumps up as though I’d just broken in.
To my own home. She has the decency to blush a little.
“Look at the state of you, Soph! You’re dripping!”
It’s then I remember my wet hair, blackened eyes and streaked cheeks. Instinctively I bring my hands to my face and rub it,
“Oh, yeah. It’s hell out there tonight.”
Rob stands, unfolding himself before me and I feel myself slowly looking up into his rather handsome face. His voice is warm as he puts his hand on my shoulder and says,
“You go get showered and changed. I’ll make you something hot to eat.”
Obediently I trip along to my bedroom, sensing him go in the opposite direction to the kitchen.
And I can’t fail to notice the slight scowl on Jen’s face as she watches us both leave her to sit alone in the lounge.

I like having him here, but I‘m not sure about Jen‘s motives and I am a little rattled that he‘s here so much lately. He‘s my new best friend, not hers. And what is she up to, anyway? She looks ridiculous in the vest and shorts combo on such a dreadful day and she’s an unnatural shade of orange thanks to her sunbed addition. She’s a typical addict - replacing one addiction for another! I return to the lounge, feeling 100% better dressed in my jeans and black wrap top, my hair feels sleek and smooth after a wash and blow dry. I’ve already decided that I’m going to call around and see Tam tonight. I’m not too sure what Jen is up to, but if I give her enough rope, I’m sure she’ll tie herself up in knots... Rob has made me a sizzling chicken stir fry and it’s gorgeous. Jen has a bowl of it too, which she’s staring down her nose at - you can virtually see her computing calorific / fat / GI content. But I have to say that for her credit and debit approach to trying to stay young, I feel I need to point out to her that the organic blue berries and soya milk are not negating the effects of the sunbeds and cigarettes. Her skin is beginning to look dire - wrinkled and dry and parched.
Rob will never go for her!

Ohmigod - what made me say that???

Chapter Forty Nine
Chapter Fifty One

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