Chapter 2

Day Two in the Big Brother House.  Hmm, that was funnier in my head.  But it’s my diary, which is from my head, so whatevahh!

Maggie had emailed me, as I thought.  She wants me to start a new thread on the online news and views website I work for.  It’s a mix of real news and fun made-up stuff which is now called post-truth news, I believe.  Lots of listicles and videos and tongue in cheek commentary on current events.  I look after the fashion and beauty pages.  Oh yes…dream job!

She’s asked me to help out on the ‘funny animal videos’ team.  Imagine being paid to source and edit funny videos for a living!  There’s quite a lot of ad revenue comes from this though and a good cat roll can get more click-throughs than a gossip post about a Real Housewife.  I prefer my stuff though – ’10 top concealers so your boss doesn’t know you have a hangover’, ‘lipstick that won’t kiss off’, etc.  That first one was brilliant – I’ve enough concealer to last me a year now!

Right…here goes.  “The World’s Laziest Animals…”

Oh my god oh my god oh my god.  I do not believe what just happened!!!!!

Taking a well-earned coffee break (aren’t they all?) I scrolled through my Facebook feed idly wondering why everybody I knew seemed to be on holiday somewhere fabulous, when a Friend request popped up.  Now, I have plenty of friends, enough to last me a lifetime.  I’m not one to add people to my Friend list who I meet once a year at a Christmas knees-up, or even work with for God’s sake.  Why do I want my colleagues knowing how I spend my free time?  I certainly don’t choose to spend any of it with them.  My Friends list is very selective, very contained and I hadn’t met any people recently who might qualify to be added to it – so it was with absolutely no sense of foreboding that I looked to see who wanted to be my pal now.

Jamie Gibbons, as I live and breathe.

Jamie Gibbons had been my first love.  My first real boyfriend.  And he broke my heart.  Into a million teeny tiny pieces.  Irreparable.

We met in our first year at Manchester Uni.  Freshers week in fact.  He was the Captain of the Rowing Club, recruiting new members.  At 5’ 7” I was too tall to cox and, weighing in at 8 stone, too weedy to row, but once our eyes met – boof.  A coup de foudre, as they say in France.

Within days we were inseparable.  He was in his second year, studying law.  I was just starting.   He was from Surrey, daddy some sort of City millionaire.  I was from Cheshire; daddy a geography teacher.  Our childhoods couldn’t have been more different.  He’d been to boarding school for goodness sake!  But it didn’t matter; we talked all the time.  We studied in the library together.  He cooked for me.  I heated microwave meals for him.  ‘Joined at the hip’, people said.  And for two years it was utter bliss.

Then he left.

Graduated. Got a job with one of the Magic Eight law firms in London.  I never saw it coming.  Not the graduating and getting a job bit.  That was obviously going to happen.  The bit where he came round and told me goodbye.  Good luck.  Hope you get a good degree.  I actually said: ‘but I’ll see you soon you idiot!  London’s not that far off!’  To which he replied that long distance relationships never work, he’d be dead busy all the time and it had only really ever been a bit of fun, hadn’t it?

I thought I’d die.  It took months before I could even say his name.  I went home.  Dropped out.  Mum got me a job in the offices where she worked and I went through life as if underwater.   It took a full year before I woke up – and then…fury.  Incandescent, fiery rage.  My family learned to steer well clear of me.  I had no friends, so didn’t lose any.

The fury turned to outrage and the outrage turned to a realisation that while he was busily building a career in London, I was wasting my life in flaming Altrincham.  Not that I’ve anything against Altrincham, it’s very nice.  But it ain’t London.  And admin assistant for a double glazing firm isn’t anything worth boasting about.  Outrage turned to awareness and awareness turned to ambition.

I got myself onto the English Lit course at Manchester University, then onto a postgraduate journalism course up in Preston.  I met Sam, fell in love, got married.  I’m happy.  Really properly happy.  So why is my stomach flipping about like Louis Smith on an Olympic horse?  Why is my heart racing and my breath shortening?  Oh fucking fuckety fuck!

What do I do?  What should I do?  If a simple friend request has this effect on me, whatever I do I won’t know if it was the right choice or not!

Help me! You have to help me.

Do I accept Jamie’s friend request, or not?