60. A Rush of Blood to the Head.

Ms Double-Barrelled has loads of followers on social media but that’s not because she’s interesting, popular or famous for actually doing something. She doesn’t create anything. Her unusual name has opened doors her entire life, and she’s easily found online by people who like lazy, posh girls who show their tits. It was slightly embarrassing for her parents on the first day of nursery when there was another little girl there with the same rockstar first name as hers, but Mummy made sure that the other little girl didn’t get into the same school as her unique darling.

She only took her clothes off because some scum had papped her sunbathing, and those photos didn’t show her at her best. Anyway, Lily said that’s how to get famous, and it worked for a bit. Then there was a bit of amateur solo camming, for the lols, when she ‘went off the rails’  after she split up with her druggy actor boyfriend, but it was enough for the red tops to reprint tamer stills from the site and infer that her titled MP father was “furious.”

Whenever she gets a new follower, she routinely and meticulously dredges through their lists of followers and cherry picks the best ones to add to her own list. The sycophantic cycle continues as her new followees are delighted that she not only ‘remembered’ meeting them at some random party they both attended, but actually reached out to them. They must invite her to their next gathering.

Once the Sun and the Mirror got bored, and she failed to be considered for ‘TOWIE’, let alone ‘Chelsea’, nepotism got her a part as a regular extra on a new teen drama. Despite no experience, she assumed she would get a lead role, so thought she’d try her hand at lifestyle vlogging instead.

Her new boyfriend, Buddy, is one of those juicing, vegan, barefoot, fitness types who says “Namaste” a lot. He was one of the instructors at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, where she want to chill just after Christmas for dry January. He quit his yoga gig, and immediately moved into her Clapham flat with her. He has persuaded her to start her own youtube channel. Her face. His idea. A no-brainer, as they say. She doesn’t know his hit rate with the ladies is at least one client per retreat, because he’s so discrete. It’s been a very successful way to supplement his income for the last few years. Now he thinks he’s found the perfect mark, and it won’t do either of them any harm. All publicity is good publicity, right?

They’ve got a plan to “do Coachella and Burning Man, definitely Cannes, maybe Ibiza and Goa because they’re ironic, and some of the cooler, more intimate festivals in England, but only if the weather is good and they get a yurt.” She likes the idea of swanning around, being filmed just being, and not lifting a finger. Her PA will do all of the organising and they’ll hire someone to sort out the filming and do the techy stuff. Her accountant will take care of all of the expenses she can claim, like the travelling and clothes. Right now, she’s got more important things to worry about like the colour scheme and perfect name for her ‘brand’ and whether she should do a before-and-after fitness video. Telling people about what she is going to do, rather than just getting on and doing it, is the most exciting bit of any new project. Being seen and talked about while the idea is still fresh.

She can get loads of freebies to promote on her channel, from her equally clueless toff friends who pretend to run viable businesses in central London. These include flower shops, cupcake and artisanal bakeries, sex toys and boutique lingerie shops, birch/coconut water and small-batch gin pop-up shops, travelling tearooms aka afternoon tea, at events, cruise wear and coffee shops. Someone she knows has even got a food van at Kings Cross. She could never imagine why on earth would someone work that hard for so little? None of these ever break even.

Buddy has got his wholefood energy ball range to promote. Once he’s networked the fuck out of her friends and got his face on a wellbeing book cover, he’s outta there. Either that or he hopes to get paid off by her Daddy who doesn’t want a former escort in the family. Plan C is to continue with the sex work, albeit raising his game so it’s at the high end for fewer clients. The jackpot would be as companion to some titled old sugar mommy, but he needs to work his way up first. Failing that, he plans to get in on the ground floor when cannabis is legalised, but that looks like a lot of work.

This temporary rush of intense hormones when you think you are falling in love can lead to some very regrettable decisions, especially if you’re bored, stupid and used to getting your own way.

33. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

pexels-photo-216630.jpegIt seems like the memories of my most enjoyable moments from my life fade the quickest. Their brightness dimmer with every recall.  Each pang is quieter until I cannot even remember the expression on your face. All that remains is a fading ember in my chest and a slow, sad, smile. These are happy tears for times we can never have again.

Yet, that seared scar never fades. I can still feel your spit as those words shock and rob me of my future plans. They pressed a permanent imprint into my brain. That energy has not subdued over the years. The photos of us look like our younger siblings.

I was grabbing at a popped bubble of smoke.

I’ve written wishes for witches and prayers for nuns. Cheek resting on cold tiles, or curled, tangled in white sheets with nothing to look at but pure blue sky, wondering whether you’re looking at that same sky right now.

I’ve left the back door of my mind open on a spring morning, so you could wander around and leave when you’re ready. Those sleepy barefoot Sundays; marking the end with routine preparation, readying ourselves for the new.

I’ve skimmed all the pebbles we collected, sung out loud on stage and ridden my bike hard down steep hills to let you go. Travelled to far away places, terrified by crazy taxi drivers, sick with strange water and paid over the odds for things I didn’t need, to try to overflow new memories in. I tied a tiny bag of your possessions to a crossroads in a place I’d never been to before. I feel grateful to ever have known you. I’ve been blessed by someone dedicated to a cause I care not for, to cleanse my spirit of you. I thanked you. I asked you to leave. I’ve forgiven you; permission to go granted. I’ve slammed the door in your face every time you tried to get in. But you keep coming back. You don’t belong here. It’s limbo. A ghost from my past who won’t let me live in my present.

A woman with jingling wrists, smelling of woodsmoke, grabbed my hand in the street and said, “he’s sorry he hurt you”. My yoga teacher said our souls had unfinished business from other lives and we would meet again in the next. I read that it was all down to mercury in retrograde. Time heals. Have you not had enough of mine?

So, I have no choice but to give in. I have nothing left to lose. I have to find a way to live with you, as I wait without you. I grow older, while you will always be 27. You wont let go of my hand; the ache from my phantom limb.