December 24th, 1990
At home, England
“Happy Christmas babe,” Ben whispered, nuzzling my neck, as we waited on the platform for the train to arrive.
“Thanks,” I breathed, wishing I could freeze the moment.
“And Happy New Year, hope you get everything you want.”
“I’m sorry I messed everything up with us.”
I pulled away and stared at him in shock, as he continued. “I really am. I wish it could’ve been different.”
“Me too,” I uttered, feeling close to tears.
“But just think, this time next year you’ll probably be married and living happily ever after with lover boy in la la land.”
I choked back the lump in my throat.
“Right?” He asked, expectantly.
“Oh yeah,” I lied. “It’s entirely possible.”
“Course it is, you’ve already met the family, how was that by the way? You never mentioned it.”
“Things you don’t need to know,” I said, burying my face in his shoulder, wishing the train would hurry up.
“Makes me sad to think I’ll never see you again when you move to America,” he said, wistfully.
I cleared my throat but before I could answer he said, “Ah, here comes the train.” He kissed me full on the lips. “Bye babe.”
“Bye, Ben. Happy Christmas.”
No sooner was I home when Pamsy rang.
“Happy Christmas darling.”
“And to you, what’re you doing?”
“Taking a break from helping my mum prepare tomorrow’s feast. I really wish you were here.”
“Sounds-” I started to say, before bursting into tears.
“Oh no, what’s the matter?”
“Everything,” I sniffed.
I told Pamsy about my night of unbridled passion with Ben but that I’d omitted to tell him I split up with David.
“This year hasn’t exactly turned out as planned for either of us, has it?”
“Not in the least,” I sighed.
We continued with our mega chat and I felt much better after we hung up, then remembered I hadn’t told her about meeting Howie and talking to William. I was about to ring her back when the phone rang, making me jump.
“Hey McGarr, fancy a wild night with me and the boys at The Harrow? I’ll even come and pick you up. How’s that for service?”
“As tempting as that sounds, Jon,” I chuckled. “I have to decline.”
“My poor old heart,” he said, leading me to believe he’d already made some headway with the liquid variety of holiday cheer.
“Actually, I was supposed to go to a party in London but I got, ehm, distracted,” I said, failing to elaborate on the reason why.
“Oh,” he uttered, his tone hopeful. “You shouldn’t be alone on Christmas Eve, want me to come over?”
“Nah, that’s ok, my friend Sarah is having a party so I’ll probably just pop over there.”
“Fair enough. Are you enjoying your first Christmas in your new house?”
“To be honest I haven’t given it much thought.”
“Did you put up a tree?”
“Why not?” he asked.
“I’m leaving on Boxing Day, there didn’t seem much point.” Added to which I’ve been put through the love ringer and can’t wait for this shitty year to be over!
“Bah humbug McGarr, bah humbug.”
“Nooooo,” I laughed. “Don’t call me that!”
“Just kidding, anyway Happy Christmas to you. Ring me when you get back?”
“Of course,” I lied.
On reflection, after a painfully boring evening at Sarah’s where everyone gathered in the kitchen moaning about how much they hate their jobs and gossiping about who got fat this year (me!) and who got engaged (not me!) I should’ve made an effort and gone to Annabel’s where I’d no doubt be tipsy on Champagne and giddy at the sight of the hunks she had lined up for me.