So fabulous being back in beautiful SG. It’s one of the few places where life just makes sense to me. Like Disney, and possibly Dubai.
I had a great first day by the hotel pool on Sunday – needed to get a tan before I could see anyone here or I’d have died of shameful pallor and pastiness. I still don’t get this Asian whitening thing. Then in the evening I decided to take a walk down Orchard Road to see what has changed in my absence. The most significant development is that there is now a salad and juice place in Tang’s, opposite Krispy Kreme. So now people can go for a doughnut, feel bad about their dietary choices, and have a quinoa bowl instead. Not being one to suffer the slings and arrows of personal guilt, I stuck with the doughnut. It’s fine because I was up at three this morning so I spent a couple hours at the gym. I thought that the six glasses of New Zealand’s finest would’ve been enough to make me sleep through the night, but jet lag is a capricious mistress.
I got to about 15k on the treadie when the lag did its wavey woaaaah thing, making me instantly unconscious, and next I knew, I was lying face down on the floor, following a minor collision with a cross trainer. I was so tired that I stayed there. What a lovely sleep I had! To anyone observing, it no doubt appeared that my unintentional fall was a deftly executed acrobatic transition between running and rest. As I slept I had a wonderful dream that I was back in my bedroom on Emerald Hill Road, after an awesome night out with my girlies; sleeping the morning away while the help packed the irritants off to school. When I heard, “Ma’am… Ma’am”, I thought sheesh, she still doesn’t know what day to send in Milly’s library book?!! How TF am I sposed to know??
Opening my eyes, I saw the hotel gym guy, looking all flustered.
“Ma’am, are you alive??”
“Thursday is library day, isn’t it?… Oh. Yes, I’m totes alive”, I said, “I was just napping. I always like a nap after a run.”
“But are you ok? I’m sorry, I don’t start til 6am, and I came in and saw you lying here, and I thought…”-
“It’s coolio, babester, I’m all good. I’ll do a few weights and abs and whatevs, and then I’ll shoot off.”
I didn’t really feel like any of that, but once I’d said it, what choice did I have, dear readers? None, that’s what. Hate having to do stuff just because my mouth says I’m going to, partic when I’m on holiday. Damn my integrity.
So after Tang’s, I thought I’d go for a roof terrace beverage. Happily ensconced at the Loof Bar on my own (girlies all on Valentine’s nights out apparently, these dull still married expat people), I was admiring the sky and thinking deep thoughts about active wear, when the very last person I wanted to see showed up: Mrs Doom and Gloom Expat Wifey. She was delighted to see me because she’s so awful at taking hints. I told her about me moving back to London and Don disappearing after his appalling behaviour, which she took as an invitation to recount her entire life since I saw her last June.
“You won’t believe this, EJ, but it turns out that my husband – soon to be ex-husband – is gay!! Can you believe that?..”
I totes could because I’d seen his sneaky airplane snogging, and as I’m a terrible liar, I looked away, pretending to have spotted a rare and fascinating bird hovering above Raffles Hotel.
“Unbelievable, right??! And you’ll never guess who he was having it off with…”
(His male PA perchance?)
“His PA! Who’s a guy!!”
(Right under your nose?)
“Right under my nose!! And guess who told me…”
(Uh maybe Flo, the most illustrious gossip on the island..?)
“Flo told me! What a good friend she is!! She said that everyone knew except me, and I didn’t believe her at first, but she was the only person brave enough and loyal enough to tell me the truth.”
“I’ve just got to go to the loo”, I said.
In the cubicle I practiced what I was going to say, with appropriate accompanying facial expressions, in order to indicate that I for one abso did not know, abso was v v taken aback (surprised face) and felt abso dreadful for what she had been through. Once I’d nailed it, I went back out.
“Well, babes, I for one abso did not know”, ectsetara, etc, and I must have successfully conveyed a sense of concern because she went on with the deets of her drama.
She told me that she is so much happier, without her hus, and for the first time she’s starting to enjoy being an expat. She even thanked me for my brilliant advice on expat divorce, and for my beauty and wellbeing guide (seems she hasn’t read any of my posts about her, phew). As she was talking, I found myself beginning to… like her! What now, now?? No longer a wifey, she was apparently not full of doom about being an expat anymore. Or gloom! She said she has made some new friends through the divorce support group, she got herself a job, she’s been working out, and she has stopped feeling guilty about assigning more of the childcare to her helper and her husband. Go her!!
“Wow, hon, that’s just amazing!”, I said, without having to practice because I really meant it, “You’re like a glowing exemplary to expat divorcees everywhere!! I’m so freakin’ happy for you!”
“Oh”, she blushed, “You’re always so sweet, EJ… But that’s not all! The best part is that a publisher read my blog about my experiences of living in Singapore, and they want to publish it!! As a book! Isn’t that awesome?!”
I looked up to find the imaginary bird again, but all I could see was my imaginary self about to jump off the Swissôtel.
“Oh golly, I seem to really need the loo again!”, I said.
Staring into the bathroom mirror, I tried some meditation techniques, focussing on my breathe, feeling the rise and fall, and visualising the ocean washing gently against the shore, calmly ebbing in and out. Rise and fall… Ebb and flow… Then I thought, “That f***ing smug c***, getting her blog published! Well my hus may have had his little dalliances, but A) At least he’s not gay, and 2) He came back to me, and I get to move to Bishop’s Avenue!! So there! So what if she’s here in the sun, with a live-in, having fun times, while I’m getting rained on in London, making packed lunches and wondering why there’s no home cooking in my house. So very what exactly?? She had clearly taken advantage of my empathic nature, and pushed me over the edge. To think I’d reached the point of actually liking her!! What a B. These expats are so damn self-satisfied. (Except the ones who are my friends, of course.)
Returning to the table with my composure intact, I said, “You know what, I’m really suffering the lag, so I think I should probably go…”
“Are you sure? I’m with the ladies over there for an anti-Valentine’s. The divorce support posse. You’d like them. In fact, you probably know most of them.”
She pointed round to a dark spot near the bar, and there I saw a bunch of my girlies – the ones who’d said they were out with their husbands tonight.
“Oh, that would’ve been soooo nice, but really I should take off. I’ve got this gig on Wednesday, and I need to practice. Yeah, I was into blogging, but now I’m more about the public speaking. I just think it’s a way cooler medium for sharing my life*. Wow though! It’s been a-maaazing to catch up with you. Congrats on uh things and stuff. I’ll see you soon…”
“Yes, see you soon! We’re coming to your gig actually, so see ya then! Can’t wait!!”, said non-D or G expat non-wifey. She kissed me goodbye and I noticed that she had finally absorbed the correct protocol for expat lady air-kissing, which she was always so shit at.
* Didn’t mean it, dear readers. I only said it because the other thing my mouth had queued was, “I knew all about your gay husband”.