‘So how did it go?’ I hear you all cry! Did you tell him? what did he say?!
In the words of Maria Von Trapp and all those frighteningly shrill lederhosed children- the beginning is a very good place to start…
We clambered on to the 9.30am Kings Cross to Waverley and settled in for the long haul. I needn’t have worried about being lacking in wit or charm as Dan was suffering from an horrific hangover and wouldn’t have noticed if id have had a labotomy or my head and been replaced with a pumpkin. This meant he spent much of the five hour train journey as a snoring unconcious lump. I pushed down the disappointment already bubbling inside me that my imagined cider sharing, picnic eating, landscape coo-ing idyll of a train journey had been instantly made such short sharp shrift of. Instead I buried my head in my book (The Book Thief – it’s very good if you haven’t read it!) for the solitary hours.
Thankfully by the time we reached Edinburgh Dan had managed to sleep off the worst of his hangover and was immediately possessed with an insatiable hunger for greasy food to replenish his damaged gut. A fried breakfast and a chirpier Dan later we headed to our hotel.
My god I love hotels – everything about them – the perky politeness of reception, the thin peculiarly patterned carpets (which is Scotland seem to be standard issue thistles) and that fresh pine smell of relaxation and decadence. Hotels are all the more alluring as I can ill afford to ever stay in one, so it always marks a truly special occasion. Dan had insisted on picking up the whole tab for this one – as it was booked before he’d been dumped and I was doing him a favour flanking him at a wedding where he knew very few people. I didn’t protest for too long – the train fare, and the very important new dress that I was going to stun Dan with, had emptied my bank account – plus an advert that he’d done a few years ago had just been re-released thus sprinkling him with, effectively, free money. Lucky bastard.
Two nights in a four star hotel that the man I was in love with was treating me to. If there wasn’t so much going on between the spaces of that lovely collection of words – how truly blissfully they would patter on to the page.
I sat with our bags in an impossibly plush chaise longue sipping a glass of complimentary freshly squeezed orange juice whilst Dan went and checked us in. He bounded over a couple of minutes later,
‘Hey – excellent news – I managed to trade our King size room into a twin – so you won’t have to have me drunkenly snoring and drooling on you for two nights’
My heart drooped a little further as disappointment number two hit the deck
‘Great’ I said, a smile frozen on to my face
Any (admittedly thought police dictated illegal) fantasy that we might have rolled on to each other drunkenly in the night and ‘accidentally’ fallen into some delicious passion burst with a flaccid belch. To be honest, that was less disappointing than the fact I suddenly realised I had been really looking forward to just simply waking up next to Dan. I could forgo all that messy passion just be able to steal some looks at him before he woke up, our limbs nestling beside each other for warmth. This is all much harder to do when we’re on opposite sides of the room.
The wedding was at 1pm the next day so for the rest of Friday we’d planned a boozy crawl of the burg’s best public houses. Three pubs down and I couldn’t help but notice that Dan seemed somewhat distracted, he was glued to his phone and every conversation I tried to start was punctuated by vibrations form his phone followed by minutes of frantic thumb tapping from him.
“Dan you rude bastard, put your phone away and talk to me – I’m rapidly building a fucking complex”
“You’ve already got more complexes than Freud’s back catalogue Maggie dearest.”
“Well be careful because I’m quickly developing another one. What could be possibly more important than beer or me?” I said with a hopefully cheeky and engaging smile.
A sheepish guilty look suddenly gathered in Dan’s face, and I swear to god he went a little pink.
“Daaaan…. what is it?”
“No, you’ll be angry with me.”
I raised my eyebrows and gave him a stern teachery ‘don’t you give me any shit Dan Burke’ look…
“It’s who?” (with a heavily laid on tone of disbelief)
“Zara – she’s been texting all evening”
“Zara – whore bitch from hell who dumped you for a himbo Zara?”
“Hey… Easy Mags – don’t call her that, she’s alright you know”
“Dan -actually I was quoting you. We spent a full drunken evening discussing the finer points of her utter whorishness and general elligibility for bitch of the century – or has your memory finally been addled by all the booze?”
“Yeah well I was angry – I needed to vent, you know.”
I sighed, already knowing the answer to the question I was just about to ask
“So what’s going on?”
He darted his eyes down and started concentrating very hard at turning a beer mat on the table,
“Well, we’re kind of, sort of… seeing each other again.”
“Since a couple of weeks”
“Well why the fuck didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I knew you’d react like this”
I couldn’t help it – I sighed again – hating myself for sounding so bloody didactic.
A fat smelly silence fell between the two of us.
“Well look, no actually, I don’t think its great news – I think she treated you incredibly badly – and I don’t trust her for a second not to do it again. And – and I…”
and I love you and I would do anything for you and the thought of you with someone else makes me feel sick to the very base of my stomach…
“and I … well its bloody embarrassing – I spent an evening bitching about her and telling you about how much I never liked her and now she’s, she’s what – your girlfriend?”
“And she’s not seeing that, that – what was his name?”
“She’s not seeing Jeremy anymore?”
“Right. Well – good.”
A longer pause.
“And you’re happy?”
He suddenly grinned like an overexcited school boy.
“Yeah – god yeah Mags – I don’t want to jinx it after last time but I’m, I’m so happy. You know how long I’ve liked her. She’s such a fucking force of nature, she’s so sparky and alive and confident and beautiful – I mean GOD she’s beautiful – isn’t she beautiful?”
A leaden tone of acceptance now settled itself into my voice.
“Yep – she’s beautiful”
“And I know you probably hate her right now, but she’s such a gorgeous girl and when you get to know her properly I just know you’ll love her too – I know you will. You and me are too alike – we feel the same about everything”
Oh dear Dan if only you realised how far that was from being the truth.
I forced a smile.
“If you’re happy then I’m happy. I mean it, I’m really happy for you”
A realisation dawned.
“But if you’re back together then why am I here and not her – surely you’d rather have a weekend long shagathon with her?”
“Maggie – I’m not a complete wanker – I’d already asked you and well – I didn’t want to mess you around”
Thanks Dan – thanks for nothing
“Plus you’d already bought your train ticket…”
So that conversation pretty much tells you all you need to know about my much hyped weekend away. Even my palest tamest hopes were blown out of the water. Dan spent pretty much the entire time surgically attached to his phone and I just let him get on with it, too flattened to exhibit any kind of indignation at the fact he’d dragged me up to Scotland at my own expense to twiddle my thumbs whilst he was making sweet love to an iphone. The wedding was fine (it was one of Dan’s old school friends) but to be honest watching two people tie the knot was the last thing I felt like doing with my heart as heavy as it was.
God I’m such a fool.
There was I bankrupting myself on a pretty dress to impress Dan and whiling a week away fantasising about all the quasi romantic moments we were set to have together whilst he was loved up with another girl, irritated that he had to bring someone else on his romantic weekend away out of a misplaced sense of duty.
Needless to say – any plans to tell him how I felt catapulted themselves out of the nearest window. I couldn’t handle feeling any more stupid than I already did.
This weekend did make something clear however. I can’t go on feeling like this. Loving Dan has broken my heart over and over again. Very obviously it’s not his fault – a combination of my fear and my lack of confidence has kept me trapped in this unloved symbiosis for far too long. So I’m going to do something about it.
I’m just not altogether sure what that is yet…
Any words of wisdom would be great.