After months in fanny-rat purgatory, the phone call from the rogue was most unexpected. I had all but given up on the monobrowed lothario. It was a drizzly Thursday night and I was loafing with the lurchers when the call came through. I muted Cagney and Lacey and draped myself seductively on the sofa in the manner of Elizabeth Taylor receiving a call from Richard Burton (i.e. I poured myself a gallon of gin, put down the plate of buttered crumpets and popped open a button on my winceyette nightie).
Rochester: All right flower?
Miss U: Dear God Rochester, this is the first time you've called me all year.
Rochester: Aw, howay pet. Don't yack on about it. It IS only October, after all.
It was a call of not exactly unexpected revelations: there was an update on his shady business venture, Kremlin Enterprises, which he ebulliently proclaimed ' A great cunting success! Only 12 referrals to Trading Standards last month! FACT!'
He talked me through his latest tank top purchases, 'Aye, a new green one since I was last in touch, flower.'
And, after an hour of conversation that had the fluidity and effervescence of a cocktail glass of week-old blancmange, came his awkward admission that he'd been 'seeing someone'. Of course he had. After years of marital dithering, anguished longing and 1000 lovelorn blog posts, Rochester finally left the missus, and went off to be with . . . . SOMEONE ELSE!
Says it all really, doesn't it? Christine Cagney wouldn't have put up with such shit. Nor would Elizabeth Taylor, come to think of it. Poor Dick Burton would have been garroted by his distressed oatmeal polo neck if he had so much as looked at another woman. Liz would've known the PERFECT retort to any boozy philandering in the valleys. And it probably would have been this.
Mind you, how satisfying it must be to give the finger to a swarthy, poetry-reciting Welsh drunkard in a mink coat, when said finger is adorned with an emerald cocktail ring the size of The Ritz. I doubt my Elizabeth Duke cubic zirconia would have the same penis-withering impact on the Don Juan of double glazing. I imagine Rochester's response to such a feisty gesture would be, 'Aye petal, that's right. Just the one bag of pork scratchings, ta.'
Initially, I was rather proud of myself, having predicted this exact eventually to Noir on our last afternoon tea jaunt. 'He's seeing a bird from Manchester. I just KNOW IT!' I'd proclaimed over my tea-cup, nodding sagely like a end-of pier psychic as I dusted the scone crumbs from my cleavage.
Miss U: She was from Manchester, wasn't she?
Rochester: Yes. (perplexed) How the fuck did you know that?
Miss U: Oh, you kept texting me how fantastic Manchester was. You sounded smitten. I assumed there was more to it than a love of eccles cakes and misty canals. Nowt gets past me. What happened?
Rochester: It is finished now. She was lovely but it just wasn't right. She wanted kids. Well I think she did (we never discussed it). I've done all that. Many times. Christ, it would have killed me. What's left of me. There was the distance too. We saw each other for 3 or 4 months.
Miss U: That means 6 or 7 months, doesn't it? Maybe even a year.
And then, dearest reader, he started twittering on about it all, and I just couldn't bear to hear it. I COULD NOT BEAR IT. I ended the call, as swiftly as I could. He was free to make a choice. Finally, he was free to make a choice. And he chose someone else. FACT.