I am, literally, holding my pearls. I’m outside Tiffany & Co on Old Bond Street, London, with the box containing the last vestiges of David’s 40-year love affair. It is as if it contains ashes. As if he was once my pet.
There is a guard at the door. I’m a little ashamed of the battered and chewed Teddy Prada handbag the designer gave me over 20 years ago. The security guard didn’t seem to notice, and let me in.
I love fine jewelers: quiet as churches, worshiping as they do at the altar of money, women smart enough to marry, not to get off, as I did.
I once toured Cartier in Paris. Elizabeth Taylor was a customer — her face on the wall everywhere. She just pretended Richard Burton bought her jewels to save face. Cartier gave me a handbag, which I, in turn, gave to my sister in Australia.
The only Chanel bag I ever gifted to me, I bequeathed it to my sister Claire, who passed away shortly after, and I never got it back.
The box contains the last remnants of his 40-year love affair with David
I was shown to a seat, a young woman carefully taking my relation’s corpse into a back room. I always get nervous when they do that. It’s like the Chancery Lane branch in NatWest, back in the early ’80s, when I’d go inside to cash a check (this was before ATMs were everywhere), and they’d say, “Just a moment.”
I fully expected the portcullis to come down and sound the alarm.
I was all set for the young lady to return, shaking her pretty head, to tell you the news: “I’m so sorry, but she’s plastic.” but not. Hello! I could pick up a pair of Elsa Peretti diamond earrings in a diagonal setting and only have to shell out £90!
As Basil Fawlty once said to Polly, “For the first time in my life, I’m ahead!” There was a moment of nostalgia, too, when I petted Robin’s little beige-blue chest. Before my wedding, I brought my nieces, Sophie and Anna, here to buy their first Tiffany necklace: tiny silver beans. God, the optimism I had, the generosity. Gone, gone, as if it had never happened, like the last cap of snow in the valleys.
Almost ran out of the store. I moved to Selfridges, my spiritual home, to get one ear pierced: my earlobes had to be sewn up by a plastic surgeon after the earrings my ex-husband gave me disappeared down the hole because the diamonds were too small, which meant they had become infected. Private Eye later wrote that I got a divorce due to having to upgrade the jewelry.
Jones moans… what Liz hates this week
- People who always say, “No pressure.” Life is all about pressure!
- Escalators in supermarkets that have you making a circuit up to 10km from the shop floor in order to find the exit
- People who say, “It’s not my fault” voiced by Catherine Tate. that it
Even though I emailed David to thank him for the expensive gift out of nowhere (I didn’t tell him I had traded it), he didn’t reply. Do men send a woman something from Tiffany if they no longer love her? Are these not mixed signals?
As I asked him in my email, “What does the gift mean?” I thought it would be best to add “exactly”. I think David regretted not making more of an effort to hang on to me. I’ve been thinking the same thing about my ex.
The other day, I stumbled across a picture of me with him online at his* book launch, back in 2006. Despite the fact that The Daily Telegraph, in a vile article by a staunch Catholic writer (Thank you, God. Farewell, brothers), said I looked Like a “corpse,” I clung tightly to him with huge eyes, and I thought I looked pretty.
I even remember what I was wearing: Chloe Cream Smoke, which I borrowed from the designer. My ex, Nirbal, would stare at me in a way that can only be described as what happens when Minnie discovers a cocktail sausage.
I’m sure he loved me once. He must regret losing me. We had such a beautiful and privileged life. I was clearly not an “old hag,” for he was in the habit of calling me.
Note: Have you read Hags by Victoria Smith? It’s totally cool. There are far worse things to do than getting old.
* Review of his guardian The novel was just one line: Keeping Up with the Joneses. I’m pretty sure that one line made him strike up another relationship