Mr Stone and I have known each other, intimately, for around ten, eleven years. We met in a pub, or quite a few pubs, in Nottingham, when I was writing quizzes for a living, at Bell Fruit Games Ltd. I became friends with his two brothers, too, and to be honest, I’ve been trying to lose them ever since, but wherever I went, they would follow.
This week, at long last, I finally managed to convince the first Mr Stone to bugger off. For good, I hope. I never really liked his company, he was boring, and controlling, and made me feel fat and ugly. That’s what the Stone family do, they sap your physical confidence and tell you how unattractive you are, because they like to keep you under their influence. But, like most bullies, the moment you stand up to the Stones, is the moment you realise they’re not in control at all. You’ve just got to be strong, give them plenty of notice that they have X amount of weeks to pack their things and get out of your life then, when that day arrives, usher them out of the door and lock it firmly behind them, so they can’t get back in. I used to indulge and entertain Mr Stone, a lot, because I knew he didn’t like to do certain things alone, like eat cheese, or drink cocktails, so I’d join him, because that’s just the kind of person I am. He would always come to the game with me, too, and Mum and Dad loved him like he was one of the family. But we both knew our affair was coming to an end, and back in September I told him he had about six months to move out. To my surprise, he agreed to go earlier. The others have consented to be out, too, one by Valentine’s Day, and the other by my birthday. I’ll believe that when I see it, but I appreciate the effort.
The week had been tense. We’d been skating around each other for the previous few days, both wondering is this the week you move out? I’d left a bag out for him, just in case, but after another weekend with The Olds, when I realised just how close we all were, I considered that maybe I was being too harsh, and I should let him stay for a while. But by Monday, I was angry with myself for even considering this option. He’d already outstayed his welcome by a decade, there was no way he could possibly justify a stay of execution. I’d been far too generous as it was.
I didn’t speak to him until Thursday. For three whole days I just got my head down, concentrated on other things, and refused to crumble. Every now and then, he’d put his head over my shoulder as I was typing, and try and convince me to do stuff with him, like go to Pizza Hut, or drink beer. But he knew full well that, when I get my head in something, it’s impossible to pull me out. I find that things only become ‘issues’, if you let them. And Stone is nothing if not a drama queen. That constant yack-yack-yacking in my ear, the “one last toasted cheese sandwich for the road” rubbish, the “come on, I’m leaving on Saturday, let’s go and buy some wine while you play online Scrabble…” nonsense, it was all designed to lower my defences and make me ask him to stay. But this was no big deal. I was kicking Stone out, and on this, I was resolute. I think he was so shocked by my steadfastness, he didn’t even try to argue with me.
I did take him out for a final drink on Thursday, though, for the Anzhi game. I thought we’d argue and be niggly with each other, and although things did reach a crisis point sometime around 7.30pm, when I admit I couldn’t really see properly, Stone didn’t beat me up, like he would usually have done. Instead, he just nodded his head, acknowledged that I was hammered, and left me to it. No recriminations, no sly, accusatory glances in the mirror, no wagging fingers telling me what a failure I was.
On Friday, I avoided him all day, just tried to distract myself with work, wanting this morning to arrive so we could, hopefully, just say our goodbyes and that would be the end of it. So, now Saturday is here, I can report that he has moved out. He did scare me, briefly, when I saw a note from him, telling me he’d probably have to stay on one more week, but when I read it closer, I saw that my eyes just weren’t focusing properly. And then all was quiet. I crept upstairs to the kitchen, put the kettle on and, as I waited for it to boil, I stood on my terrace watching the orange morning sun wash over the Liver Building, and reflected on how peaceful everything felt, now that he’d finally gone.
Mr Stone officially left the building about two hours ago, and I don’t think it makes me too much of a bitch to say this, but I don’t miss him at all, and I only hope I never see him again for as long as I live. The only regret I have, is not asking him to f**k off earlier.
Things I Learned This Week
1. Patience is definitely a virtue
I never used to believe this, mainly because I don’t have any. I’m the most impatient person I know, although I’m very good at telling other people to try it more. On September 1st, when I began this madness, even September 2nd seemed too far away. I wanted instant results, and if I wasn’t a size 2, an hour after eating a bunch of grapes, then I would probably give up. But, as you find your routine, and remind yourself why you’re doing it, it does get easier, honestly it does. The vital thing, is to take your time. The first few weeks are always the killer, but when you have something to gauge, and you not only see, but feel, the difference in yourself, it’s the best motivation in the world. And it doesn’t matter a jot to me if no-one else even notices, because I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for me, and that’s the only reason you should ever diet.
2. A woman’s bum is the last place she’s going to lose the weight from
It’s leaving my arms, legs, even my hips and eyelids, but my arse, bloody hell, still as big as a 500 bendy bus to John Lennon Airport.
Having said that…
3. The rush of being able to wear jeans a size smaller than you’re used to, is a Class A experience.
It. Feels. Amazing.
4. The Saturdays are quite good
They’re my new set of ‘walking tunes’. Chasing Lights is a classic pop album, and a stunning debut one, and great for striding down London Road to. Half of the tracks could be Eurovision winners, dead easy, which is always the mark of a class album for me. Wordshaker offers up more great bouncing tunes (not as good as Chasing Lights, though), although I do get annoyed with singers who feel they have to say “witch you” instead of “with you”. It’s terrible diction. I thought they were going to lose me with On Your Radar, which was way too techno for me at first (think Cher’s ‘Believe’, or Stephen Hawking doing dance), but it has grown on me, especially ‘Notorious’ and ‘The Way You Watch Me’.
I am now word-perfect. Even the ‘street’ bits. I might try N-Dubz next.
Things I’m Dreading This Week
1. Further assassination attempts
I’m going to miss the mortgage again, plus someone else has ‘found me’ from years ago, and there’s only so many times I can dodge the Postie when he’s standing outside my door with ‘something to sign for’.
2. The Merseyside Derby tomorrow
I’m watching it in town. I never watch it in town. It’s nasty, nasty, nasty. Quite a few of our gang swerve the Goodison gigs because they’re so horrible (except Christine who’s hard as nails), and won’t even watch it in a pub because something usually kicks off. But a friend is up from the other side of the world (Kings Lynn), and doesn’t want to watch alone, so….not looking forward to it, in all honesty. Not worried about the result, though. We’ll batter them.
3. Darker nights
Hate them, but here they come…don’t forget to change your clocks at 2am. An extra an hour in bed, yeah, but I’d prefer more daylight.
The stats bit:
Week 1: 3.25lbs
Week 2: 4lbs
Week 3: 0.75lbs
Week 4: 0.75lbs
Week 5: 0.50lbs
Week 6: 1.75lbs
Week 7: 1lb
Week 8: 2lbs
Total after 56 days: 14lbs – 1 stone