Part 118: As Good As It Gets

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I’m a right laugh here normally, aren’t I? Hilarious and witty and always on hand with a wry, unexpected observation to make you choke on your cereal, or morning croissant, or can of coke, or whatever it is you consume while you read me. I know my strengths, darlinks. I know why you come back, I can tell – just like I know when men only want me for my body, occasional sporadic passivity and excellent listening skills.

I do try to keep it cheerful, babes. I really do. I know that life is very difficult. That it’s not only me. We’re all in this together: struggling, working hard to mend our hearts and our self-esteem – which have been smashed into tiny sharp pieces by bad decisions, circumstance and the penises of a thousand careless scoundrels. I know that all any of us really wants is for the shards of our shattered hearts to jump back into place, piece by splintered piece, allowing us to love again – and properly this time, so no one gets broken.

The last thing you need is morose self-pity from me. You crave amusing metaphor, sex tales and crude blowjob stories. And, actually, I was privy to a very entertaining sex tale, told at a very awkward moment, just a few evenings ago. I cannot offer it to you right now, however, due to my having implemented a two-month embargo on sharing stories told by those who would probably prefer not to feature in this blog, if they knew about its existence. (I promise I’ll tell you once the embargo’s up though. It is just too good not to be immortalised in writing.)

There are only so many jokes I can make about drunken misadventures and eating cheese and crying into my Egyptian cotton pillows before it starts to sound desperate. So here is the truth: it’s January and I am blue. Blue, da-boo-dee da-boo-doo (remember that tune? It was shit, wasn’t it?). Blue, like the sky, or a smurf – only more depressing.

And I keep making it worse by embroiling myself in unwise romantic liaisons – mainly to stave off the growing panic of impending unemployment, poverty and the realisation that a recent spate of engagements mean I’m likely to spend the next two years attending weddings, alone – being forced to coo over newborn babies and answer questions about my single life (at least twenty-five of which are bound to be, ‘but what’s wrong with you?’, uttered with smug patronising concern and accompanied by the kind of head-tilting sympathy normally reserved for the terminally ill) without punching anyone in the face.

And just to rub salt in the – already fairly painful – wound, people keep giving me advice that makes me want to hang myself (if only metaphorically).

Like my aunty, for example – when I told her about the folly of a particular all-consuming crush I’ve been nurturing. As I described – in really quite moving detail – the delicious pain of yearning for that you’ll never have, she looked at me knowingly, as though I were a toddler who has yet to learn anything about the ways of the world.

‘Do you know what?’ My aunty said, with the weariness of the long-married, ‘just enjoy this bit. Because I’m telling you, this bit is as good as it gets.’

And I was like, ‘?!’

‘As good as it gets’, she repeated. ‘All that excitement and the uncertainty and the promise. That’s the best bit. Enjoy it.’

Of course, I didn’t remind my aunty of the fact that she is not (and has never been) a thirty-year-old single woman whose womb might or might not dry up before she completes the obstacle course of liars and wankers and actual, proper weirdos that the universe has placed in the way of her securing romantic love. Nor did I punch her in the face (I think she’s still reeling from the last time I did that).

Instead, I took a deep breath and pondered on the wisdom of her advice. If this is as good as it gets, then that is very tragic – because this is in no way enjoyable. But then again, what do I know?

Perhaps more than I’m giving myself credit for.

I’ve been writing a blog about how single life is endlessly fabulous for almost two years now. It seems I might have stumbled upon truth when all I was trying to do was make you laugh and take the edge off my own neuroses.

Gah!

Being single really is the thing. Maybe. Perhaps. If my aunty is right. Which I kind of hope she isn’t because the idea of love, of putting myself aside and making room to accommodate another, was starting to seem quite appealing.

But you learn all sorts about life don’t you? I suppose we just have to live it. The struggles and the moments of reprieve as well. Because if I know one thing, I know this: you get what you’re given.

And that really is as good as it gets.

*Image by digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net. Not quite what I was after, but you catch my drift.

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