Bridget joness diary, p.8
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.8
 

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding

  I was just standing waiting for my coat, reflecting on how much difference the presence or absence of a diamond-patterned sweater can make to someone's attractiveness, when I felt hands lightly on my waist

  I turned around. 'Daniel!'

  'Jones! What are you doing skulking off so early?' He leaned over and kissed me. 'Mmmmmm, you smell nice,' then offered me a cigarette.

  'No thank you, I have found inner poise and given up smoking,' I said, in a preprogrammed, Stepford Wife sort of way, wishing Daniel wasn't quite so attractive when you found yourself alone with him.

  'I see,' he smirked, 'inner poise, eh?'

  'Yes,' I said primly. 'Have you been at the party? I didn't see you.'

  'I know you didn't. I saw you, though. Talking to Mark Darcy.'

  'How do you know Mark Darcy?' I said, astonished.

  'Cambridge. Can't stand the stupid nerd. Bloody old woman. How do you know him?'

  'He's Malcolm and Elaine Darcy's son,' I began, almost going on to say, 'You know Malcolm and Elaine, darling. They came over when we lived in Buckingham – '

  'Who in the – '

  'They're friends of my parents. I used to play with him in the paddling pool.'

  'Yes, I bet you did, you dirty little bitch,' he growled. 'Do you want to come and have supper?'

  Inner poise, I told myself, inner poise.

  'Come on, Bridge,' he said, leaning towards me seductively. 'I need to have a serious discussion about your blouse. It's extremely thin. Almost, when you examine it, thin to the point of transparency. Has it ever occurred to you that your blouse might be suffering from . . . bulimia?'

  'I've got to meet someone,' I whispered desperately.

  'Come on, Bridge.'

  'No,' I said with a firmness that rather surprised me.

  'Shame,' he said softly. 'See you Monday,' and gave me a look so dirty I felt like throwing myself after him shouting, 'Shag me! Shag me!'

  11 p.m. Just called Jude and told her about Daniel incident, also about Malcolm and Elaine Darcy's son, whom Mum and Una had tried to get me off with at the Turkey Curry Buffet, turning up at the party looking rather attractive.

  'Wait a minute,' said Jude. 'You don't mean Mark Darcy, do you? The lawyer?'

  'Yes. What – do you know him as well?'

  'Well, yes. I mean, we've done some work with him. He's incredibly nice and attractive. I thought you said the chap at the Turkey Curry Buffet was a real geek.'

  Humph. Bloody Jude.

  Saturday 22 April

  8st 7, cigarettes, 0, alcohol units 0, calories 1800.

  Today is a historic and joyous day. After eighteen years of trying to get down to 8st 7 I have finally achieved it. It is no trick of the scales, but confirmed by jeans. I am thin.

  There is no reliable explanation. I have been to the gym twice in the last week, but that, though rare, is not freakish. I have eaten normally. It is a miracle. Rang Tom, who said maybe I have a tapeworm. The way to get rid of it, he said, is to hold a bowl of warm milk and a pencil in front of my mouth. (Tapeworms love warm milk, apparently. They love it.) Open my mouth. Then, when the worm's head appears, wrap it carefully round the pencil.

  'Listen,' I told him, 'this tapeworm is staying. I love my new tapeworm. Not only am I thin, but I no longer want to smoke or glug wine.'

  'Are you in love?' asked Tom in a suspicious, jealous tone. He's always like this. It's not that he wants to be with me, because, obviously, he is a homosexual. But if you are single the last thing you want is your best friend forming a functional relationship with somebody else. I racked my brains, then stopped, shocked by a sudden, stunning realization. I am not in love with Daniel anymore. I am free.

  Tuesday 25 April

  8st 7, alcohol units 0 (excellent), cigarettes 0 (v.v.g.), calories 995 (continuing good work).

  Humph. Went to Jude's party tonight in tight little black dress to show off figure feeling v. full of myself.

  'God, are you all right?' asked Jude when I walked in. 'You look really tired.'

  'I'm fine,' I said, crestfallen. 'I've lost seven pounds. What's the matter?'

  'Nothing. No, I just thought . . .'

  'What? What?'

  'Maybe you've lost it a bit quickly off your . . . face,' she trailed off, looking at my admittedly somewhat deflated cleavage.

  Simon was the same.

  'Bridgiiiiiiiit! Have you got a fag?'

  'No, I've given up.'

  'Oh blimey, no wonder you look so . . . '

  'What?'

  'Oh, nothing, nothing. Just a bit . . . drawn.'

  It continued all evening. There's nothing worse than people telling you you look tired. They might as well have done with it and say you look like five kinds of shit. I felt so pleased with myself for not drinking but as the evening wore on, and everyone got drunker, I began to feel so calm and smug that I was even irritating myself. I kept finding myself in conversations when I actually couldn't be bothered to say a single word, and just looked on and nodded in a wise, detached manner.

  'Have you got any camomile tea?' I said to Jude at one point as she lurched past, hiccupping happily, at which point she collapsed into giggles, put her arm round me and fell over. I decided I'd better go home.

  Once there, I got into bed, put my head on the pillow but nothing happened. I kept putting my head in one place, then another place, but still it wouldn't go to sleep. Normally I would be snoring by now and having some sort of traumatized paranoid dream. I put the light on. It was only 11:30. Maybe I should do something, like, well, er . . . mending? Inner poise The phone rang. It was Tom.

  'Are you all right?'

  'Yes. I feel great. Why?'

  'You just seemed, well, flat tonight. Everyone said you weren't your usual self.'

  'No, I was fine. Did you see how thin I am?' Silence.

  'Tom?'

  'I think you looked better before, hon.'

  Now I feel empty and bewildered – as if a rug has been pulled from under my feet. Eighteen years – wasted. Eighteen years of calorie– and fat-unit-based arithmetic. Eighteen years of buying long shirts and sweaters and leaving the room backwards in intimate situations to hide my bottom. Millions of cheesecakes and tiramisus, tens of millions of Emmenthal slices left uneaten. Eighteen years of struggle, sacrifice and endeavor – for what? Eighteen years and the result is 'tired and flat.' I feel like a scientist who discovers that his life's work has been a total mistake.

  Thursday 27 April

  Alcohol units 0, cigarettes 0, Instants 12 (v.v. bad, but have not weighed self or thought about dieting all day; v.g.).

  Must stop doing the Instants, but the trouble is I do quite often win. The Instants are much better than the Lottery itself, because the numbers no longer come up during Blind Date (it is not on at the moment) and all too often do not have a single one of yours among them, leaving you feeling both impotent and cheated with nothing to be done except crumple your ticket up and throw it defiantly on the floor.

  Not so with the Instants, which are very much a participation thing, with six cash figures to be scratched off – often quite a hard and skilled job – and never giving you the feeling that you didn't have a chance. Three amounts the same secures a win, and in my experience you always get very close, often with as many as two matching pairs for amounts as great as ?50,000.

  Anyway, you can't deny yourself all pleasures in life. I'm only on about four or five a day and, besides, I'm going to stop soon.

  Friday 28 April

  Alcohol units 14, cigarettes 64, calories 8400 (v.g., though bad to have counted. Slimming obsession v. bad), Instants 0.

  At 8:45 last night I was running a relaxing aromatherapy bath and sipping camomile tea when a car burglar alarm started up. I have been waging a campaign on our street against car burglar alarms which are intolerable and counterproductive since you are more likely to get your car broken into by an angry neighbor trying to silence the burglar alarm than by a burglar

&nbs
p; This time, however, instead of raging and calling the police, I merely breathed in through flared nostrils and murmured, 'inner poise.' The doorbell rang. I picked up the intercom. A v. posh sheep-voice bleated, 'He's having a fucking affair.' Then there was hysterical sobbing. I rushed downstairs, where Magda was outside the flat in floods of tears fiddling under the steering wheel of Jeremy's Saab convertible, which was emitting a 'dowee-dowee-doowee' of indescribable loudness, all lights flashing, while the baby screamed as if being murdered by a domestic cat in the car seat.

  'Turn it off!' somebody yelled from an upstairs window.

  'I bloody well can't!' shrieked Magda, tugging at the car hood.

  'Jerrers!' she yelled into the portable phone. 'Jerrers, you fucking adulterous bastard! How do you open the hood on the Saab!'

  Magda is very posh. Our street is not very posh. It is of the kind which still has posters in the windows saying 'Free Nelson Mandela.'

  'I'm not bloody coming back, you bastard!' Magda was yelling. 'Just tell me how to open the fucking bonnet.'

  Magda and I were both in the car now, pulling every lever we could find, Magda swigging intermittently at a bottle of Laurent-Perrier. By this time an angry mob was gathering. Next thing, Jeremy roared up on his Harley-Davidson. But instead of turning off the alarm, he started trying to grab the baby out of the backseat with Magda screaming at him. Then the Australian guy, Dan, who lives below me, opened his window.

  'Oy, Bridgid,' he shouted. 'There's water pouring through my ceiling.'

  'Shit! The bath!'

  I ran upstairs, but when I got to my door I realized I'd shut it behind me with the key inside. I started banging my head against it, yelling, 'Shit, shit!'

  Then Dan appeared m the hall. 'Chrisd,' he said. 'You'd biddah have one of these.'

  'Thanks,' I said, practically eating the proffered fag.

  Several cigarettes and a lot of fiddling with a credit card later we were in, to find water flooding everywhere. We couldn't turn the taps off. Dan rushed downstairs, returning with a wrench and a bottle of Scotch. He managed to turn off the taps, and started helping me to mop up. Then the burglar alarm stopped and we rushed to the window just in time to see the Saab roar off, with the Harley-Davidson in hot pursuit.

  We both started laughing – we'd had quite a lot of whisky by now. Then suddenly – I don't quite know how – he was kissing me. This was quite an awkward situation, etiquette-wise, because I had just flooded his flat and ruined his evening, so I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I know that didn't give him license to sexually harass me, but the complication was quite enjoyable, really, after all the dramas and inner poise and everything. Then suddenly a man in motorbike leathers appeared at the open door holding a pizza box.

  'Oh shit,' said Dan. 'I forgod I ordered pizza.'

  So we ate the pizza and had a bottle of wine and a few more cigarettes and some more Scotch and then he restarted trying to kiss me and I slurred, 'No, no, we mushn't,' at which point he went all funny and started muttering, 'Oh, Chrisd. Oh, Chrisd.'

  'What is it?' I said.

  'I'm married,' he said. 'But Bridged, I think I love you.'

  When he'd finally gone I slumped on the floor, shaking, with my back to the front door, chain-smoking butt ends. 'Inner poise,' I said, halfheartedly. Then the doorbell rang. I ignored it. It rang again. Then it rang without stopping. I picked it up.

  'Darling,' said a different drunken voice I recognized.

  'Go away, Daniel,' I hissed.

  'No. Lemme explain.'

  'No.'

  'Bridge . . . I wanna come in.'

  Silence. Oh God. Why do I still fancy Daniel so much?

  'I love you, Bridge.'

  'Go away. You're drunk,' I said, with more conviction than I felt.

  'Jones?

  'What?'

  'Can I use your toilet?'

  Saturday 29 April

  Alcohol units 12, cigarettes 57, calories 8489 (excellent).

  Twenty-two hours, four pizzas, one Indian takeaway, three packets of cigarettes and three bottles of champagne later, Daniel is still here. I am in love. I am also now between one and all of the following:

  a) Back on thirty a day.

  b) Engaged.

  c) Stupid.

  d) Pregnant.

  11:45 p.m. Have just been sick, and as I slumped over the loo trying to do it quietly so Daniel wouldn't hear, he suddenly yelled out from the bedroom, 'There goes your inner poise, my plumptious. Best place for it, I say.'

  MAY. Mother-to-Be

  Monday 1 May

  Alcohol units 0, cigarettes 0, calories 4200 (eating for two).

  I seriously think I am pregnant. How could we have been so stupid? Daniel and I were so carried away with euphoria at being back together again that reality seemed to go out of the window – and once you've . . . oh look, I don't want to talk about it. This morning I definitely felt the beginnings of morning sickness, but that could be because I was so hungover after Daniel finally left yesterday that I ate the following things to try to make myself feel better:

  2 packets Emmenthal cheese slices.

  1 litre freshly squeezed orange juice.

  1 cold jacket potato.

  2 pieces unbaked lemon cheesecake (very light; also possibly eating for two).

  1 Milky Way (125 calories only. Body's enthusiastic response to cheesecake suggested baby needed sugar).

  1 chocolate Viennoise dessert thing with cream on top (greedy baby incredibly demanding)

  Steamed broccoli (attempt to nourish baby and stop it growing up spoilt).

  4 cold Frankfurter sausages, (only available tin in cupboard too exhausted by pregnancy to go out to shop again).

  Oh dear. Am starting to get carried away with idea of self as Calvin Klein-style mother figure, poss. wearing crop-top or throwing baby in the air, laughing fulfilledly in advert for designer gas cooker, feel-good movie or similar.

  In the office today Perpetua was at her most obnoxious, spending 45 minutes on the phone to Desdemona, discussing whether yellow walls would look nice with pink-and-grey ruched blinds or whether she and Hugo should go for Blood Red with a floral freize. For one 15-minute interlude she said nothing whatsoever except, 'Absolutely . . . no, absolutely . . . absolutely,' then concluded, 'But of course, in a sense, one could make exactly the same argument for the red.'

  Instead of wanting to staple things to her head, I merely smiled in a beatific sort of way, thinking how soon all these things were to be immaterial to me, alongside caring for another tiny human being. Next I discovered a whole new world of Daniel fantasies: Daniel carrying the baby in a sling, Daniel rushing home from work, thrilled to find the two of us pink and glowing in the bath, and, in years to come, being incredibly impressive at parent/teacher evenings.

  But then Daniel appeared. I have never seen him look worse, The only possible explanation was that on leaving me yesterday he had carried on drinking. He looked over at me, briefly, with the expression of an axe-murderer. Suddenly the fantasies were replaced by images from the film Barfly, where the couple spent the whole time blind drunk, screaming and throwing bottles at each other, or Harry Enfield's The Slobs with Daniel yelling, 'Bridge. The baby Is bawlin'. Its 'ead off.'

  And me retorting, 'Daniel. I am avin' ay fag.

  Wednesday 3 May

  9st 2* (Eek. Baby growing at monstrous unnatural rate), alcohol units 0, cigarettes 0, calories 3100 (but mainly potatoes, oh my God).* Must keep eye on weight again, now, for Baby's sake.

  Help. Monday and most of Tuesday I sort of thought I was pregnant, but knew I wasn't really – rather like when you're walking home late at night, and think someone is following you, but know they're not really. But then they suddenly grab you round the neck and now I'm two days late. Daniel ignored me all day Monday then caught me at 6 p.m. and said, 'Listen, I'm goin to be in Manchester till the end of the week. I'll see you Saturday night, OK?' He hasn't called. Am single mother.

  Thursday 4 May
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  9st alcohol units 0, cigarettes 0, potatoes 12.

  Went to the chemist to discreetly buy a pregnancy test, I was just shoving the packet at the girl on the till, with my head down, wishing I'd thought to put my ring on my wedding finger, when the chemist yelled, 'You want a pregnancy test?'

  'Shh,' I hissed, looking over my shoulder.

  'How late's your period?' he bellowed. 'You'd be better with the blue one. It tells you if you're pregnant on the firstday after your period is due.'

  I grabbed the proffered blue one, handed over the eight pounds sodding ninety-five and scuttled out.

  For the first two hours this morning I kept staring at my handbag as if it was an unexploded bomb. At 11.30 I could stand it no longer, grabbed the handbag, got in the lift and went to the loo two floors down to avoid the risk of anyone I knew hearing suspicious rustling. For some reason, the whole business suddenly made me furious with Daniel. It was his responsibility too and he wasn't having to spend ?8.95 and hide in the toilets trying to wee on a stick. I unwrapped the packet in a fury, shoving the box and everything in the bin and getting on with it, then put the stick upside down on the back of the loo without looking at it. Three minutes, There was no way I was going to watch my fate being sealed by a slowly-forming thin blue line. Somehow I got through those hundred and eighty seconds – my last hundred and eighty seconds of freedom – picked up the stick and nearly screamed. There in the little window was a thin blue line, bold as brass. Aargh! Aargh!

  After 45 minutes of staring blankly at the computer trying to pretend Perpetua was a Mexican cheeseplant whenever she asked me what was the matter, I bolted and went out to a phone booth to ring Sharon. Bloody Perpetua. If Perpetua had a pregnancy scare she's got so much English establishment behind her she'd be down the aisle in an Amanda Wakeley wedding dress in ten minutes flat. Outside, there was so much traffic noise I couldn't make Sharon understand.

 
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