LIZ JONES’S DIARY: In which I make the first move
Two days in the company of a man at close quarters is quite enough
So, after spending the weekend with me, David left. When he got back to London, he sent this: ‘I had a lovely time. I’ve just realised it’s your birthday next week. Would you like me to come back?’
It was odd, really, that he said he’d had a lovely time, given we didn’t have sex, and it was August Bank Holiday weekend. Which meant three whole nights sans sex. The main reason for the lack of physical contact, I think, is because there were always three puppies on my bed. Mini in particular is very tenacious; she literally holds on to me with her snowy paws. I don’t know why women go on the pill or risk getting pregnant and having to iron school uniforms for 18 years. Just rescue a large collie.
After he left, I spent the whole day cleaning. If he comes back to Yorkshire for my birthday, I will have to clean all over again (not that he’d notice). Do a Waitrose shop. Put on make-up. Pretend I don’t have a bath in the middle of the day before watching Pointless.
He tries to do nice things for me. Trouble is, he generally misfires. When he arrived, he came bearing an old chair I’d asked him to dump when I moved out of my London flat. It had woodworm and was broken. I’d bought it in a junk shop. It was worthless.
‘Why have you brought back the chair?’
‘I treated it for woodworm. Glued it. Sanded it. Stained it. I thought it belonged to your mum.’
‘It didn’t. Throw it away!’
I complained to my new friend A over text that David didn’t lift a finger while staying with me, and she concurred guests are a nightmare. ‘We hosted a friend a couple of years ago and she didn’t put her hand in her pocket once and borrowed £10 off me! Guests should always bring gifts and help around the house. Cook one meal and clear up. Go to bed early. My husband is like a robot. If I ask him to do something, he’ll do it. But he has no initiative.’
I have come to realise that two days in the company of a man at close quarters is quite enough. It was a super-hot weekend, even in North Yorkshire, and he just walked around in his underpants, like a toddler. He used my Cowshed bath products. I’m slightly suspicious he used my towel, too, when his was clearly labelled. He didn’t notice the new mushroom velvet curtains in the bedroom. When I said, ‘Isn’t the view amazing?’ he replied, ‘It’s a pity the hedge means you can’t see anything from the garden.’
One evening I suggested walking the dogs down to the river. It’s magical, with owls and bats whirling overhead, a sky full of stars, and the ghostly ruins of an abbey. He asked if we could drive instead. I gave him an uncorrected proof of my novel to read. When I got back, after six hours looking after my horses, he told me, ‘You wrote, “Weight crept up on us, a stain on a shirt just like the moment someone is shot in the chest with a 12-bore rifle. And just as deadly.” A rifle only has one bullet. You should have written, “shotgun”.’
‘I’ll shoot you in a minute.’
Anyway, after I’d got all nostalgic about my sister over the weekend, he had urged me to make the first move. I texted my nephew, thinking I’d sound out the lay of the land.
‘Hi! Hope you had a great summer. Are you still looking for a job? I know a lovely young man based in LA who makes shoes. For every pair sold he gives a pair to children in Africa. How’s your mum? Can you give her my love? Auntie Liz. Xx’
I waited. And I waited. My heart was beating in my chest. Relationships are strange. One moment you’re having a drink in a bar with a man, the next you’re double locking the hotel room door. One minute you are watching back-to-back episodes of 24 in bed with your 11-year-old nephew, the next you are terrified of what his reply might herald.
And then, bing! Oh my God!
‘Your message could not be delivered. Blah blah blah.’
How could that be? Only a few weeks before, he’d texted to ask for the password for his account (I used to pay his phone bill), so he could keep his number but change provider.
And then it dawned on me. He’s blocked my number! What on earth does he believe? What on earth does he think he knows?