Authors: Robert Bryndza
Tags: #Love, #Book Club, #British, #iPhone, #Women's Fiction, #Comedy, #Diary Format, #Chicklit
“This is not a good situation. You have to be strong,” she wiped a tear from my cheek. “For years my mother turned a blind eye to my father’s cheating and it nearly destroyed her. You can’t stay with him.”
I came home and stared at the ceiling in the spare room for hours.
Tuesday 13th January 08:48
Please can you cancel BBC Music Magazine, BBC Proms Magazine, and Keyboard Companion.
Thank you, Coco Pinchard.
Wednesday 14th January 23:47
Daniel has been round repeatedly. I ignored his knocking. On his fourth attempt, I opened the front door on the latch. He stood in the rain unshaven, looking annoyingly handsome.
“Can I come in?” he said through the gap. I was about to say no, when Rosencrantz arrived home from college, and I had to open the door.
“Hello,” said Daniel following Rosencrantz into the hall.
“Yeah, like whatever,” said Rosencrantz fiddling with his iPhone
“I’m still your father!” yelled Daniel. “And speak properly! “
“Don’t you shout at Rosencrantz.” I said stepping between them.
“I think Dad needs his Passport,” said Rosencrantz looking up from texting. A flicker slid across Daniel’s face.
“Is that what you’re here for?”
“Well, that. And other things,” he said. “It’s not my fault. I need it for work!”
I pushed him out, slammed the door, and locked it. Daniel stayed banging on the door for a few minutes then it was quiet. The rain began to fall harder pinging off the roof. Rosencrantz made coffee and lit me a cigarette.
A couple of hours later the phone went. It was Ethel, moaning about Daniel sleeping on her floor on a li-lo.
“I know e’s me son ‘an all that but e’s so noisy, tossing and turning,” she said. “Surely you can make it up? ‘E needs that Passport.”
“Ethel,” I said. “Daniel brought another woman into our bed and I saw them at it.”
There was a pause whilst she covered the phone, and I heard her muffled voice shout at Daniel,
“You never told me that’s what yer did!” Then the receiver began to clatter as she tried to put it down, still shouting. In all the years I’ve known her she’s never managed to replace her phone back on the hook in less than a minute.
I am going to eat a Peppermint Aero and go to bed.
Thursday 15th January 11:01
Daniel came round. I caved in and let Rosencrantz poke his Passport through the letterbox. He only has ten days to get his Visa. I stayed upstairs in bed. I just want to sleep. Thanks for your messages.
Sunday 18th January 16:45
Ethel came walking into the spare room this morning and plonked down a cup of tea on the bedside table.
“Ere, get this down yer,” she said leaning on the bedpost to catch her breath.
“How did you get in?” I said pulling the covers up to my chin.
“Yer son. E’s worried about you,” she said. “And yer neighbours are going to wonder why you’ve got your curtains shut in the afternoon. People talk.”
“It’s not the 1950s Ethel.” I snapped.
“If it were 1950 you and Daniel would still be man and wife,” she said. “If I’d ‘ave chucked out my Wilf whenever ‘e gave some woman the glad eye, I’d never have got any shelves put up.” I looked at her.
“Here love have some tea,” she said pushing it up under my nose. I took a gulp and choked.
“It’s got whisky in it,” she said. “Perk you up.” She crossed the hall and began to run a bath.
“Danny’s coming over and I want you two to talk,” she shouted clanking around in the bathroom.
“Just leave me alone.” I said sinking below the covers.
Ethel came back in wiping bath foam off her arm, and perched on the end of the bed.
“E is gutted for what ‘e did,” she said. “E’s been in tears in the Residents lounge all week. One of the women told ‘im to shut up during Emmerdale. Why throw away twenty years in haste?” I agreed to have a bath and get dressed.
When Ethel had gone downstairs, I looked at myself naked in the mirror. I think I may have lost some weight; but I’m no Snow White. That girl had such smooth taut skin. That has gone from me and I will never get it back.
When I came downstairs, Ethel was leaving on the arm of Rosencrantz.
“We’re going to Soho for a coffee and a look at all the poofs,” she said straightening her hat.
Rosencrantz gave me a hug, saying.
“You know I think heterosexual men are like stupid, as a race. I hope he like knows what he’s throwing away.”
“Come on, stop talking shite,” said Ethel and pulled him out of the door.
When they’d gone I perched on a stool at the breakfast bar, waited for Daniel and began to think. If this is an apology, a sincere apology, maybe it could work if he wants to try again. I thought I could make him sleep in the spare room for a few months… Maybe I haven’t lost everything.
When I opened the door, he looked so good. He pecked me on the cheek, handed me a bunch of roses and we went through to the kitchen. I got this warm feeling and realised this maybe was just a horrid blip and somehow our relationship might gain strength from it.
However; he told me he’d not been happy for a long time, that we got married too young and he wants to separate. I sat there with my mouth open.
“Coco,” he said. “I’m giving ‘us’ a gift if you will. We can move on to pastures new. You’ll thank me one day.”
“What?” I said feeling my face getting redder. “A gift? I’ll give you a gift,” and I hurled the coffee pot at him. He ducked and it burst down the kitchen wall.
“That could’ve killed me! “ he shrieked.
“You’re only here because you’re scared of Ethel.” I shouted. “You just want an easy life with her for a few days until you skip off on your crappy tour.”
“Crappy tour!” said Daniel.
“Yeah! Crappy tour! “ I screamed. “I’ve had your fucking Mother telling me how upset you are, that you want to talk, and all she’s done is made it easier for you to dump me!” I started to beat him over the head with the roses.
“Don’t be rude about Mum!” he shouted. “I’m going upstairs to get my stuff.”
“You’re not!” I said pushing him. He pushed me and I crashed into the table. With strength I didn’t know I had, I dragged him by his hair, down the hall. Opening the front door with my free hand, I shoved him out, slamming it behind him.
The letterbox opened.
“You pulled some of my hair out,” he said, his face appearing, shocked.
“Well, I don’t want it!” I said pulling the little wisp of black and grey hair from between my fingers and shoving it through the letterbox.
I came up to the spare room and stared at the ceiling. After a while, my rage subsided and it sunk in. I’m going to be alone.
I heard the door go and Ethel and Rosencrantz chattering, which subsided when they walked into the kitchen.
Rosencrantz came up but I pretended to be asleep.
Monday 19th January 10:07
Hi love, I just woke up and I see you’ve gone. I hope you don’t mind I’m emailing. I would rather write this than have to tell you.
Your father and me are separating. I am so sorry. He’s coming to get some of his stuff tonight. I’m going over to Chris’ whilst he is here.
We both still love you so much. Please don’t take sides.
Tuesday 20th January 11:38
Daniel took the blender! He has moved to a Travelodge in Peckham to rehearse Whistle Up The Wind. What does he need a blender for in a Travelodge?
Rosencrantz is furious. He is halfway through Katie Price’s juicing diet. He wants to fit into some twenty-seven inch waist jeans he has seen in American Apparel.
Ethel evicted Daniel from her room at the Rainbow Nursing Home now that he is an ‘impending divorcee’. She says she might die of shame.
Friday 23rd January 13:34
I am not ignoring you. I switched my phone off and made a nest in the spare room to watch The Sopranos.
Marika just came round in her lunch hour. Rosencrantz had been updating her via Facebook. He had asked her to make my favourite Cauliflower Cheese, which she brought with her.
“This is not constructive,” said Marika surveying the sweet wrappers and mess in the spare room.
“It is,” I said. “It’s taken my mind off things.”
She picked up The Sopranos box set. “Where are you up to?”
“The fourth series,” I said.
“You’ve got till Monday. Then we need to get you back out there. Me and Chris are arranging something.”
Where are you taking me? She wouldn’t say. I refuse to go to an over forties disco.
Saturday 24th January 11:33
Chris came over and watched some Sopranos. He admitted he was rather thrilled by Tony Soprano. I am too. He’s so greasy and corpulent. It must be the power thing. Are we all that predictable?
I decided I might try to move back into my bedroom. Chris helped me cart the duvet and TV through, but I found an earring by the bed, which wasn’t one of mine.
Chris, with his expert eye identified it as from the Coleen Rooney range in Argos. It brought back images of Daniel and Snow White in a state of ecstasy. He flushed it down the toilet.
I’m staying in the spare room for now.
Sunday 25th January 20:08
AAGH! I was just watching the final episode of The Sopranos with Rosencrantz when the screen went blank. He’s ferreting around the back of the television to try to see what went wrong. I have to know how it ends. Don’t tell me!
Sunday 25th January 21:34
Why didn’t you tell me that’s how The Sopranos ends? After forty minutes spent faffing around with Scart plugs, I pressed play on the remote control, and the screen jumped to life with the credits rolling. I’d sat on the pause button. That’s how it ends with the screen going black.
I put in so many hours with that box set, and like everything now, I feel cheated.
Rosencrantz thought it was ‘like genius’.
Monday 26th January 10:30
Daniel flies to Chicago at lunchtime. He phoned Rosencrantz this morning to say goodbye. Apparently, ‘Whistle’ as he is now calling it is going to be a huge hit. He invited Rosencrantz to see him off at the Airport but he declined. We are still without a blender and Rosencrantz hasn’t made it to a 27-inch waist. I told him to get the jeans in a perfectly enviable size 30. However, he said that 30 in Indie boy terms, is obese.
Marika says you are both taking me out tonight and ‘no’ is not an option.
Tuesday 27th January 10:43
If you do have to get drunk after your classes, please remember this is my home too. When I opened the front door to collect the milk this morning, I found a half eaten Kebab on the doorstep.
Tuesday 27th January 17:18
Rosencrantz just came home from classes grinning at me. It was my Kebab. He found me on the doorstep at one this morning, clinging to the boot scraper for dear life and shouting, ‘the world is spinning!’ I am mortified. Did we really get kebabs?
Tuesday 27th January 18:43
Ah yes, we were doing Drambuie shots in the Shadow Lounge… I remember. The barman made a big show of blowing dust off the bottle, saying ‘older people’ only ever ask them for Drambuie.
I sincerely hope none of Rosencrantz’s friends were there. I remember you and Marika going up on stage to help judge the amateur male stripper contest and me dancing, no grinding against the winner…
The only thing I should be grinding at my age is pepper.
Was fun though. Made me forget for a bit.
Wednesday 28th January 09:07
I’ve just had an email from your Drama School with this term’s reading list. Thirty-two books? That’s going to be over £300! Do you really need them all? The complete works of Shakespeare (£49.99) has never been touched and ditto all of Stanislavski’s scribbling’s (£19.99 a piece) All I ever see you read is Heat magazine.
Wednesday 28th January 11:22
Please can you put some money into our current account? The joint account is empty. I need to buy Rosencrantz’s books.
Wednesday 28th January 15:01
This just in from Daniel: -
I have just deposited £100 into the joint account. That is all I can spare now. I haven’t had my first Whistle cheque through yet. Why are we still paying the Council Tax and Water yearly? The direct debit cleaned nearly four grand out of our joint account. That’s half what I earned over Christmas, and you’re asking for more. I’ve also had to pay yours and Rosencrantz’s phone bills. His is £87 for the month! I have had a word with him about it.
Why didn’t you tell me about your book? I am very sorry for you. Despite everything that has happened, I think Chasing Diana Spencer is a brilliant piece of writing.
As the iPhone was your Christmas present I will pay the remainder of its contract, but you really do need to find your own money solution.
My own money solution! Cheeky bastard, he’s the one who left me!
Thursday 29th January 14:55
Have just been round to Chris’ and raided his library. He had everything on Rosencrantz’s list apart from the play Shopping and Fucking. He’s boycotted it from his shelves after the writer Mark Ravenhill once pushed in front of him, and bought the last packet of cheese and onion crisps during an interval at the National Theatre.