The thing about finding a pair of knickers at the bottom of your marital bed is, you better be sure that they're yours.
Some years ago we were invited to the wedding of one of my oldest friends. A couple whose love for each other was as true and as obvious as the weight I'd just put on. Two stone. So I had to buy a new wedding outfit. Spanx were required. I tested my look out on my ex.
"Well?" I asked.
"Well, it's not about you is it? It's the brides day, isn't it?"
True, very true but I didn't want to look like the chunky monkey that I truly felt and besides I love weddings. Sadly when your married to man who is 28 years older than you, it's been a bit more four funerals and a wedding.
The day before my ex declared he didn't want to go. A charming row followed. He said that thing, I said this thing. Usual stuff. I think when it comes to relationship rows there comes a point where you just keep saying the same crap.
Maybe we should just reduce the insults to numbers.
1. You're so bloody selfish!
2. Have you asked how I feel about this?
3. No wonder your second wife left you!
4. I wish I'd never met you!
5. I gave up my career for you!
6. And yes your ass does look big in that dress!
7. No wonder you don't have any friends!
8. You're just like your mother.
It would save a lot of time wouldn't it?
The row starts and instead of shouting the hurtful insults. Just shout "One, four, three, eight!"
And on that day it ended with him saying "you're just like your mother".
Somewhere in the caverns of hell even Beelzebub winced at that one.
But in his defence he did have work to do and his writing was going well. I excused his selfishness and thought let him work on his manuscript and as any writer knows it's good to be alone without distractions. It's important to know you can focus on the writing. So I set off alone to what was the most perfect wedding. Small village church, perfect summer sun, intimate and real. The atmosphere in the church was hushed and for me me it felt, to quote Rilke, 'for if there is a boundary to looking then the world that is looked at so deeply, wants to flourish in love'.
The reception was a short walk up a country lane as the wedding guests followed the bride and groom behind a jazz band to a beautiful garden marquee but my Spanx were a little bit too aware of the walk up the hill. Everything about that wedding was beautiful, so I left to drive home feeling hopeful, joyful and happy to have shared a very special moment with two people whom love each other so very much.
But when I got home my ex was nowhere to be seen and the flat was a tip. His desk was littered with crumpled notes, a sink full of dirty dishes, an overflowing bin and an unmade bed. I set about clearing up the crap. And when I got to the bed I pulled back the duvet to reveal something small, black and crumpled. It was so small I thought it was a sock. It was not. It was a 'pulled off in the heat of the moment' pair of pants.
A thong. An itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, victoria-secrets thing and this thing was not my my thong. Just at that moment my ex arrived back at the flat and without saying hello he hurried into his office. I stared at the thing and returned a short while later with his tooth brush to fish it out of our bed marching into his office and holding it under his nose I shouted at him.
"This is not mine!"
He looked at me as though I was crazy.
"Yes it is."
I deployed a Roger Moore eyebrow.
"Er no, it is not mine."
"Yes it is." He said pretending to focus on his writing.
I slammed his laptop down and waving the crusty thong under his nose I repeated myself.
"This is not mine!"
"You buy so much stuff you probably forgot."
And at one point he almost had me but a girl tends to know her knickers from her bras and this was not mine. It's not like I'm some kind of winceyette wearing kinda gal, I'm more of a Marks and Spencer multipack girl with a few pretty things that sadly my ass was now too big for.
Another row ensued and he stormed out of the flat so I slept in the spare bedroom that night and only left it when I heard him get into the bath the following morning. I stomped into the kitchen and frowned myself a cup of tea but as I dropped the tea bag into the bin, there it was.
The thing, the thong.
Hmm I thought, whose drawer is one short? But what was I supposed to do, put it on a fucking cushion and call around the the village like Prince Charming?
And the truth is this, it wasn't that he'd shagged some other broad in our bed, or that he was so thoughtless that he'd not bothered to change the bloody sheets it was something different and as I put my Spanx into the washing machine it dawned on me.
It wasn't just the lies, the infidelity or the total lack of respect but that the thing in my bin was a size fucking eight.