The pointsetta that arrived creamy and full of life is drooping and shedding its leaves like blossom on the turn. Is this a sign, I wonder? Giles is back in Paris waiting for news that I have booked my ticket for the next visit. He’s been doing this for days while I dithered in and out of a screenplay starring Sylvester and yours truly. Sylvester flew back from his conference early. Can’t wait to see me I thought. I phoned the second his plane touched down which is a rather cougarish thing to do and talked him into a meeting at Patisserie Valerie ostensibly to hear all about crop formations and the latest twists in that ongoing mystery. He was jet lagged and grey around the gills but as gentlemanly as he had been the first time we met. I teetered on the edge of my chair fishing for clues;body language, words, silences, pauses, smiles and eye contact. So intent was I in reading his relationship to me that I almost missed his casual reference to ‘my girlfriend’. I let the words sink into the pulsing in my ears and carried on the conversation seamlessly, until some time later I slipped in the question about his girlfriend travelling to California with him. Oh no. She was off with a BBC natural history team filming some extraordinary ‘new’ reptile in the jungles of Sarawak. My heart sank. I drew on all my skills as an actress to keep the dialogue going and eventually exited the cafe, my head whirling with untied ends.
What am I like? There I was thinking that a gorgeous man like that would entertain for a moment a relationship with someone my age. No Allie I thought, your sights had best be lowered a little (possibly to the floor). Men are simply not looking for older women, not in this country anyway. Here they are after something succulent and dewy, to remind them of what was once possible. We carry no currency here, we women of maturity; intelligent, experienced, fun-loving and sexually fluent we may be but all this is of little use when the main aim is to massage the ego.
The Boy warned me. He told me that the richer and more powerful a bloke, the younger the bird he can pull and the more kudos he has in the eyes of the other men. I hated hearing that and on reflection I think it speaks volumes of the Boy’s incipient cruelty.
I’ve been on quite a road since Marrakech, once more pursuing a story down the stoney track to realization, without flinching. At night I may look twenty years younger than my chronological age but in daylight the grey hairs and turkey neck sing their song. So no more surreptitious snogging for me with eager men ducking and diving to avoid the vigilant eyes of their spouses. Catching the attention of men is a young person’s game and I’m seriously thinking of calling it a day and retiring from the fray. I’ve got far more important things to do. But at the moment I have to admit I’ve never felt more like a post Christmas pointsetta.