This time next month, I’ll have been single for two years. And, far from being the tragic period of penance you might imagine, it’s actually been quite fun.
Obviously, the first month or two was a period of mourning, where I was most likely to be found wallowing in a pool of tissues and tears. And that wasn’t remotely fun.
But even though it was hellish at the time, in retrospect even that particularly huge cloud had a spangly silver lining: it made me realise who my friends were.
Yep, it’s a cliché, but the girlfriends who listened to my wailing and teeth-gnashing not only earned my eternal gratitude, they also went up a notch in my estimation. It takes dedication to keep turning up to coffee dates when you know you’re going home with a soggy shoulder and snot on your lapel.
Equally meritorious were the friends who kept inviting me to parties and gatherings, despite my inability to commit to anything until ten minutes before kick-off. They also discreetly ignored my habit of scurrying off to the loo, returning only to make my excuses and leave, red-eyed and sniffling.
I’m especially remorseful that I missed the hen night of one of my oldest and dearest friends. But honestly, who wants a quivering pile of emotional jelly raining on your parade when you’re involved in a day of pampering and female bonding?
(I made it to the wedding, and she was radiant. And the only tears I shed were of the traditional, wedding-related sort.)
I’m also grateful to the guy friends who could quite easily have taken sides, but who made a special effort to keep in touch and maintain an impartial demeanour. The chap who dragged himself from his bed at 8am on a Sunday morning to accompany me to the wrong side of London to collect freebie furniture – after a particularly hard night on the town – should have been given a medal.
Inevitably, a few friends fell by the wayside, but such is life. It hurt at the time, but do I miss them now? Not really. Losing your partner and half your friends is a great incentive to get out there and meet a whole lot more.
The friends I’ve made in the last couple of years are fun, vibrant and active. Sure, we’re a quirky bunch, but with this ragtag band of misfits and miscreants I’ve done wine tastings, walking weekends and trips abroad, scoffed picnics and pancakes and … umm … disgraced myself at vodka parties.
And it’s been FUN.
In fact, one the best ‘gifts’ of that crappy, crappy time was the realisation that I could never feel so bad again. As a result, I’m continually struck by how happy I am now.
Life is good, and if I find a man to share the good life with me, then so much the better. But in the meantime, I’m more than happy all by myself.
As my Sicilian mammina* would say, megghiu sula ca malaccumpagnata: better alone than in bad company. And amen to that.
*affectionate: little mother