2008. The City. Trading floor. She kicked off her heels and started hitting a water dispenser. Her team – paralysed – watched her run to the lift.
Her mother cooked her chicken soup. She watched TV all day long. For 14 days.
This is where she met her ex-husband.
This is where they began Matthew.
This is where she kissed a porter at the Four Seasons – it was her dare. She didn’t like truth then.
She walked around the Old Town. Drinks were cheap. She drank. Latvians were clumsy.
No one comes here – unless they’re retired and German. She was neither. She spent time at an old museum-like hotel and going to spas three times a day. German sausages were good too.
6. St Tropez
Her father took her aside. She used to paint on this porch as a little girl. He didn’t dare ask her to put her high heels back on.
Why not? It didn’t matter to her where she went. She wasn’t allowed to speak to Matthew – her only son.
She started writing a journal in Barcelona. Her journal was full of economic terminology, which applied to her life. ‘Inflation – basic but accurate,’ she wrote.
She watched drag shows. She had never done this before. She used to be classy and drink champagne in Chelsea. Now she liked drags shows. Drag queens were sad but free, she thought.
She read Eat, Pray, Love. She spent days at the Four Seasons. She went to yoga. She didn’t like skinny men. She didn’t like yogis. Her ex-husband was like a Greek statue. But Joseph – whom she met at the airport in Bali – was calm and from Australia. Australia was warm and she needed the calm.
‘Now, no. 11 – Sydney,’ – she wrote in her journal.