Bridget joness diary, p.14
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.14

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding
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  4:45 p.m. No-smoking policy in tatters. Peter finally rang. 'Hi, Bee.' (We always used to call each other Bee and Waspy.) 'I was going to ring you anyway. I've got some good news. I'm getting married.'

  Ugh. V. bad feeling in pancreas area. Exes should never, never go out with or marry other people but should remain celibate to the end of their days in order to provide you with a mental fallback position.

  'Bee?' said Waspy. 'Bzzzzzzz?'

  'Sorry,' I said, slumping dizzily against the wall. 'Just, um, saw a car accident out of the window.' I was evidently superfluous to the conversation, however, as Waspy gushed on about the cost of wedding cakes for about twenty minutes, then said, 'Have to go. We're cooking Delia Smith venison sausages with juniper berries tonight and watching TV.'

  Ugh. Have just smoked entire packet of Silk Cut as act of self-annihilating existential despair. Hope they both become obese and have to be lifted out of the window by crane.

  5:45 p.m. Trying to concentrate hard on memorizing names of Shadow Cabinet to avoid spiral of self-doubt. Have never met Waspy's Intended of course but imagine giant thin blond rooftop giantess-type who rises at five each morning, goes to gym, rubs herself down with salt then runs international merchant bank all day without smudging mascara..

  Realize with sinking humiliation that reason have been feeling smug about Peter all these years was that I finished with him and now he is effectively finishing with me by marrying Mrs. Giant Valkyrie bottom. Sink into morbid, cynical reflection on how much romantic heartbreak is to do with ego and miffed pride rather than actual loss, also incorporating subthought that reason for Fergy's insane overconfidence may be that Andrew still wants her back (until he marries someone else, har har).

  6:45 p.m. Was just starting to watch the 6 o'clock news, notebook poised, when Mum burst in bearing carrier bags. 'Now, darling,' she said sailing past me into the kitchen. 'I've brought you some nice soup, and some smart outfits of mine for Monday!' She was wearing a lime green suit, black tights and highheeled court shoes. She looked like Cilla Black on Blind Date.

  'Where do you keep your soup ladles?' she said, banging cupboard doors. 'Honestly, darling. What a mess! Now. Have a look through these bags while I heat up the soup.'

  Deciding to overlook the fact that it was a) August b) boiling hot c) 6:15 and d) I didn't want any soup, I peered cautiously into the first carrier bag, where there was something pleated and synthetic in bright yellow with a terracotta leaf design. 'Er, Mum . . . ' I began, but then her handbag started ringing.

  'Ah, that'll be Julio. Yup, yup.' She was balancing a portable phone under her chin now and scribbling. 'Yup, yup. Put it on, darling,' she hissed. 'Yup, yup. Yup. Yup.'

  Now I have missed the news and she has gone off to a Cheese and Wine party, leaving me looking like a door-to-door cosmetics saleswoman in a bright blue suit with slithery green blouse underneath and blue eyeshadow right up to my eyebrows.

  'Don't be silly, darling,' was her parting shot. 'If you don't do something about your appearance you'll never get a new job, never mind another boyfriend!'

  Midnight. After she'd gone, called Tom, who took me to a party a friend of his from art school was having at the Saatchi Gallery to stop me obsessing.

  'Bridget,' he muttered nervously as we walked into the white hole and sea of grunge youths. 'You know it's unhip to laugh at Installation, don't you?'

  'OK, OK,' I said sulkily. 'I won't make any dead fish jokes.'

  Someone called Gav said 'Hi': twenty-two maybe, sexy, in a shrunken T-shirt revealing a chopping-board-like midriff.

  'It's really, really, really, really amazing,' Gav was saying. 'It's, like, a sullied Utopia with these really really really good echoes of, like, lost national identities.'

  He led us excitedly across the big white space to a toilet paper roll: inside out with the cardboard outside the paper.

  They looked at me expectantly. Suddenly I knew I was going to cry. Tom was now drooling over a giant bar of soap bearing the imprint of a penis. Gav was staring at me. 'Wow, that is, like, a really, really, really wild . . . ' he whispered reverently as I blinked back tears, '. . . response.'

  'Just going to the loo,' I blurted, rushing away past a configuration of sanitary-napkin bags. There was a queue outside a Portaloo, and I joined it, shaking. Suddenly, just when it was almost my turn, I felt a hand on my arm. It was Daniel.

  'Bridge, what are you doing here?'

  'What does it look like?' I snapped. 'Excuse me, I'm in a hurry.' I burst into the cubicle and was just about to get on with it when I realized the toilet was actually a molding of the inside of a toilet, vacuum-packed in plastic. Then Daniel put his head round the door.

  'Bridge, don't wee on the Installation, will you?' he said, and closed the door again.

  When I came out he had vanished. I couldn't see Gav, Tom or anyone I knew. Eventually I found the real toilets, sat down and burst into tears, thinking I wasn't fit to be in society anymore, and just needed to get away till I stopped feeling like this. Tom was waiting outside..

  'Come and talk to Gav,' he said. 'He's really, like, into you.' Then he took one look at my face and said. 'Oh shit, I'll take you home.'

  It's no good. When someone leaves you, apart from missing them, apart from the fact that the whole little world you've created together Collapses, and that everything you see or do reminds you of them, the worst is the thought that they tried you out and, in the end, the whole sum of parts adds up to you got stamped REJECT by the one you love. How can you not be left with the personal confidence of a passed-over British Rail sandwich?

  'Gav likes you,' said Tom.

  'Gav is ten. Anyway he only liked me because he thought I was crying about a toilet roll.'

  'Well you were, in a way,' said Tom. 'Bloody git, Daniel. If that man turns out to be singlehandedly responsible for all the fighting in Bosnia, I wouldn't be in the least surprised.'

  Sunday 13 August

  V. bad night. On top of everything else, tried to read myself to sleep with new issue of Tatler, only to find Mark Bloody Darcy's face smoldering out from feature on London's fifty most eligible bachelors going on about how rich and marvelous he was. Ugh. Made me even more depressed in way cannot quite fathom. Anyway. Am going to stop feeling sorry for myself and spend morning learning newspapers by heart.

  Noon. Rebecca just rang, asking if I was 'all right.' Thinking she meant all right about Daniel, I said, 'Chuh, well it's very depressing.'

  'Oh, poor you. Yes, I saw Peter last night . . . (Where? What? Why wasn't I invited?) ' . . . and he was telling everyone how upset you were about the wedding. As he said, it is difficult, single women do tend to get desperate as they get older . . . '

  By lunchtime could no longer go on with Sunday, trying to pretend everything was OK. Rang up Jude and told her about Waspy, Rebecca, job interview, Mum, Daniel and general misery and arranged to meet at Jimmy Beez at two for a Bloody Mary.

  6 p.m. As luck would have it, Jude had just been reading brilliant book called Goddesses in Everywoman. Apparently the book says that at certain times in your life everything goes wrong and you don't know which way to turn and it is as if everywhere around you stainless steel doors are clamping shut like in Star Trek. What you have to do is be a heroine and stay brave, without sinking into drink or self-pity and everything will be OK. And that all the Greek myths and many successful movies are all about human beings facing difficult trials and not being wimps but holding hard and thus coming Out on top.

  The book also says that coping with difficult times is like being in a conical shell-shaped spiral and there is a point at each turn that is very painful and difficult. That is your particular problem or sore spot. When you are at the narrow, pointy end of the spiral you come back to that situation very often as the rotations are quite small. As you go round, you will go through the troubled time less and less frequently but still you must come back to it, so you shouldn't feel when it happens that you are back to square one.

  Trouble is now I have sobered up not sure I am 100 percent sure what she was talking about.

  Mum rang up and I tried to talk to her about how difficult it is being a woman and having a sell-by date for reproduction unlike men, but she just said, 'Oh, honestly, darling. You girls are just so picky and romantic these days: you've simply got too much choice. I'm not saying I didn't love Dad but, you know, we were always taught, instead of waiting to be swept off our feet, to 'expect little, forgive much.' And to be honest, darling, having children isn't all it's built up to be. I mean, no offense, I don't mean this personally but given my chance again I'm not sure I'd have . . . '

  Oh God. Even my own mother wishes I'd never been born.

  Monday 14 August

  9st 5 (great-turned into lard mountain for interview, also have spot), alcohol units 0, cigarettes many, calories 1575 (but threw up so effectively 400, approx.).

  Oh God. Terrified about interview. I have told Perpetua I am at the gynecologist – I know I should have said dentist but opportunities to torture the nosiest woman in the world must not be allowed to slip through the net. I am almost ready and merely need to complete my makeup while practicing my opinions on Tony Blair's leadership. Oh my God, who's the Shadow Defense Secretary? Oh fuck, oh flick. Is it someone with a beard? Shit: telephone. I can't believe it: terrifying telephonic teenager with patronizing South London sing-song going, 'Hel-lo, Bridget, Richard Finch's office here. Richard's in Blackpool this morning so he won't be able to make the meeting.' Rescheduled for Wednesday. Will have to pretend have recurring gynecological condition. Might as well take rest of morning off anyway.

  Wednesday 16 August

  Horrible night. Kept waking up bathed in sweat, panicking about the difference between the Ulster Unionists and SDLP and which of them Ian Paisley was involved in.

  Instead of being ushered into the office to meet the great Richard Finch, I was left pouring sweat in reception for forty minutes thinking Oh my God who's the Health Secretary? before being picked up by the singsong personal assistant – Patchouli – who sported Lycra cycle shorts and a nose stud and blanched at my Jigsaw suit, as if, in a hideously misjudged attempt to be formal, I had turned up in a floor-length shot-silk Laura Ashley ball gown.

  'Richard says to come to the conference, know what I'm sayin'?' she muttered, powering off down a corridor while I scurried after her. She burst through a pink door into a vast open_plan office strewn with piles of scripts, TV screens suspended from the ceiling, charts all over the walls, and mountain bikes propped against the desks. At the far end was a large oblong table where the meeting was in progress. Everyone turned and stared as we approached.

  A plump, middle_aged man with curly blond hair, a denim shirt and huge red spectacles was jigging up and down at the end of the table.

  'Come on! Come on!' he was saying, holding up his fists like a boxer. 'I'm thinking Hugh Grant. I'm thinking Elizabeth Hurley. I'm thinking how come two months on they're still together. I'm thinking how come he gets away with it. That's it! How does a man with a girlfriend with looks like Elizabeth Hurley have a blow job from a prostitute on a public highway and get away with it? What happened to hell hath no fury?'

  I couldn't believe this. What about the Shadow Cabinet? What about the Peace Process? He was obviously trying to work out how he could get away with sleeping with a prostitute himself. Suddenly, he was looking straight at me.

  'Do you know?' The entire table of grunge youths stared. 'You. You must be Bridget!' he shouted impatiently. 'How does a man with a beautiful girlfriend manage to sleep with a prostitute, get found out and get away with it?'

  I panicked. My mind went blank.

  'Well?' he said. 'Well? Come on, say something!' 'Well, maybe,' I said, because it was the only thing I could think of, 'it was because somebody swallowed the evidence.'

  There was a deathly hush, then Richard Finch started to laugh. It was the most repulsive laugh I've ever heard in my life. Then all the grunge youths started to laugh as well.

  'Bridget Jones,' said Richard Finch eventually, wiping his eyes. 'Welcome to Good Afternoon! Take a seat, my darling,' and then he winked.

  Tuesday 22 August

  9st 2, alcohol units 4, cigarettes 25, lottery tickets 5.

  Still haven't heard anything from the interview. Don't know what to do for Bank Holiday as cannot face remaining alone in London. Shazzer is going to the Edinburgh Festival, as is Tom, I think, also lots of people from the office. Would like to go but not sure can afford it and fear presence of Daniel. Also everyone will be more successful and having a better time than me.

  Wednesday 23 August

  Definitely going to Edinburgh. Daniel is working in London so no danger of bumping into him on the Royal Mile. It will be good for me to get away instead of obsessing and waiting for Good Afternoon! letter.

  Thursday 24 August

  I'm staying in London. I always think I'm going to enjoy going to Edinburgh then end up only being able to get into the mime acts. Also you dress for summer, then it's freezing cold and you have to teeter shivering for miles up cobblestone precipices thinking everyone else is at a big party.

  Friday 25 August

  7 p.m. I am going to Edinburgh. Today Perpetua said, 'Bridget, this is absurdly short notice, but it's just occurred to me. I've taken a flat up in Edinburgh – I'd adore it if you wanted to stay.' So generous and hospitable of her.

  10 p.m. Just called Perpetua and told her I'm not coming. It's all stupid. I can't afford it.

  Saturday 26 August

  8:30 a.m. Right, I'm going to have a quiet, healthy time at home. Lovely. I might finish The Famished Road.

  9 a.m. Oh God, I'm so depressed. Everybody's gone to Edinburgh except me.

  9:15 a.m. I wonder if Perpetua's left yet?

  Midnight. Edinburgh. Oh God. I must go to see something tomorrow. Perpetua thinks I'm mad. She spent the entire train journey with the portable phone pressed to her ear, bellowing at the rest of us. 'Arthur Smith's Hamlet is completely booked up so we could go to the Coen brothers instead at five but that means we'll be too late for Richard Herring. So shall we not go to Jenny Eclair – Chuh! I frankly don't know why she still bothers – and do Lanark, then try to get into Harry Hill or Bondages and Julian Clary? Hang on. I'll try the Gilded Balloon. No, Harry Hill's booked up, so shall we skip the Coen brothers?'

  I said I'd meet them at the Plaisance at six because I wanted to go to the George Hotel and leave a message for Tom, and I bumped into Tina in the bar. I didn't realize how far it was to the Plaisance, and when I got there it had started and there were no seats left. Secretly relieved, I walked or rather mountaineered back to the flat, picked up a lovely baked potato with a chicken curry and watched Casualty. I was supposed to meet Perpetua at the Assembly Rooms at nine. By the time I was ready it was 8:45 but I didn't realize you couldn't ring out on the phone so I couldn't book a taxi and by the time I got there it was too late. I went back to the George bar to look for Tina and find out where Shazzer was. I'd just got myself a Bloody Mary and was trying to pretend I didn't mind not having any friends when I noticed a flurry of lights and cameras in one corner and nearly screamed. It was my mother, done up like Marianne Faithfull and about to interview Alan Yentob.

  'Absolute quiet, everyone!' she trilled in a Una Alconbury flower-arranging voice.

  'Aaaaand action!!!! Tell me, Alan,' she said, looking traumatized, 'have you ever had . . . suicidal thoughts?'

  The telly's been quite good tonight, actually.

  Sunday 27 August, Edinburgh

  No. of shows seen 0.

  2 a.m. Can't get to sleep. I bet they're all at a really nice party.

  3 a.m. Just heard Perpetua come in, giving her verdict on the alternative comedians: 'Puerile . . . completely childish . . . just silly.' I think she might have misunderstood something somewhere along the line.

  5 a.m. There is a man in the house. I can just tell.

  6 a.m. He's in Debby from Market
ing's room. Blimey.

  9:30 a.m. Woken by Perpetua bellowing, 'Anyone coming to the poetry reading?!' Then it all went quiet and I heard Debby and the man whispering and him going into the kitchen. Then Perpetua's voice boomed out, 'What are you doing here?!! I said NO OVERNIGHT GUESTS.'

  2 p.m. Oh my God. I've overslept.

  7 p.m. King's Cross train. Oh dear. Met Jude in the George at three. We were going to go to a Question and Answer session but we had a few Bloody Marys and remembered that Question and Answer sessions have a bad effect on us. You get hypertense trying to think up a question, putting your hand up and down. You finally get to ask it, in a semi-crouching position and odd high-pitched voice, then sit frozen with embarrassment, nodding like a dog in the back of a car whilst a twenty-minute answer in which you had no interest in the first place is directed at you. Anyway, before we knew where we were it was 5:30. Then Perpetua appeared with a whole bunch of people from the office.

  'Ah, Bridget,' she bellowed. 'What have you been to see?' There was a big silence.

  'Actually, I'm just about to go to. . . ' I began confidently, ' . . . get the train.'

  'You haven't been to see anything at all, have you?' she hooted. 'Anyway, you owe me seventy-five pounds for the room.'

  'What?' I stammered.

  'Yes!' she yelled. 'It would have been fifty pounds, but it's 50 percent extra if there are two people in the room.' 'But . . . but, there weren't . . . '

  Oh, come on, Bridget, we all knew you had a man in there,' she roared. 'Don't worry about it. It isn't love, it's only Edinburgh. I'll make sure it gets back to Daniel and teaches him a lesson.'

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