My father got an OBE in the New Year's Honours list. I thought I was above this archaic, class-perpetuating nonsense, but it turns out I'm really rather proud.
Saturday 5 January 2002
With a superficially innocuous decision the whole carefully constructed edifice of denial I have built up over the last few months has come crashing down.
Despite all my best intentions to move on after her massive betrayal in August, it's been consistently clear to me that I've actually just been living in hope that she'll see the error of her ways, end her pointless dalliance with the stunted diplomat and pick me. Whilst busy opining that it's over to anyone in earshot I've been fervently wishing for the opposite.
Well, now the wishing has to stop because she's chosen him.
Christmas was crunch time, I had invited her to Sardinia over New Year, my opposition had invited her to Scotland. She told me that although she had decided that she didn't want to go out with me, she was going to spend the holiday with her family, and I could phone her from Sardinia just to prove that she wasn't in Scotland. I wanted to believe her and so that I could continue to do so I didn't phone her, but I knew that she'd prove too weak not to wind up in Scotland.
Upon my return from Sardinia (details of trip to follow) she told me that not only had she gone up to Scotland, but that her and Ben (for that is his name) had decided to give it a go and he was staying at hers until his return to the frozen wastes of Georgia on Jan 7th.
And then came the quiet decision that rammed it all immediately home with the force of a cruise missile. Before my jaunt to Sardinia, I had invited her to a small meal to celebrate my birthday on Jan 5th, involving a trip out to my parents' house and needing her to stay the night, she had accepted the invite. Now she told me she couldn't come. For some reason, that simple statement was enough to crush me more any of her lies and betrayals last year. It finally told me that from now on I'm second on her list, keeping Ben happy comes before keeping me happy.
She's doing the right thing though, if she's to make it work with Ben, then she should put him before me. But I don't give a shit. I'm filled with rage and self-pity like never before at the moment. I want to shout Fuck You repeatedly into the wind and into her face, I want her to regret the decision for the rest of her life, I hope that every time he lets her down in one way or another, every cross word, every thoughtless gesture, every missed phone call, makes her think of me and how I would have treated her better. I hope when she sees me in the office and elsewhere it rips her heart out to know she can never have me. I hope he turns out to be an unutterable shit.
And it's probably the right thing for me too, if she'd chosen me and if I'd chosen to take her back I'd have had to live up to his image as it increased in perfection over time and it would probably have destroyed us. Now he gets to field all that shit and I get to move on. And I get to move out of limbo too, having been too weak to do it under my own steam for the whole of last year.
At the same time as my soul releases this previously untapped and unexpressed bile to consume my mind, my rational mind knows it'll pass at some point. Within six months I'll have moved on, and like all life-changing events this will become another in the series of 'good things that made me who I am' (along with bad haircuts in the sixth form and failing to be good at Inter railing). I've seen enough other people move on after failed relationships (can a year and a half of sex and a couple of weeks of officially going out count as a relationship?) to know that I will too.
They'll go too - the tight, twisted knot of desparation that chews my guts and puts a crazy gleam in my eye (I can feel it, even if others can't see it), the voice that says "There'll never be another like her, you're too old, you don't ever meet anybody, nobody likes you anyway, all your other friends are happy and settled and you're in limbo again", the internal alarm clock that goes off to make me stare blank-eyed at the 5am bedroom wall. They'll all melt slowly back into my psyche. Hell, I'll probably even stay friends with her, I'm a nice guy.
Here's to 2002.