February 26 2012
Ffion is not 45. Not now. She’s had the facelift, neck-lift and breast boost and now, post-scalpel, she is confident she looks better than ever. Her girlfriends at her Ashtanga yoga class tell her she could easily pass for 35, so Ffion feels the surgery has been worth the pain. Privately, though, she admits it was almost as arduous as getting her ex to pay alimony after he left her in the dust in favour of his trainer. She showed him – and she’ll show middle age too.
It’s time for a new man now. And why not? Ffion feels her size-10 shape should be appreciated. After all, how many women over 40 can still squeeze into the clingy Lycra dresses and skinny jeans they were wearing 15 years ago? And that’s after two children. Not that Ffion broadcasts the fact that she has teenage offspring. That would be just too… mumsy. And also, she thinks, shuddering, old.
That’s why Ffion’s naturally dark hair is always dyed a luxuriant honey colour, and why the staff she hires for her small marketing company are youthful, in their early 20s, and, above all, blonde. “They look so successful, so good for our image, sweets,” she tells her best friend.
So, when Ffion sees Him – tall, slim, blonde and youthful – across the edamame beans in her local deli, she tosses back her honey locks, sucks in what tummy she has, and makes a beeline. After she “accidentally” drops her business card, he gallantly picks it up and they exchange pleasantries. Justin is looking for chorizo; Ffion is buying seeds (she hasn’t eaten much else since 1990).
They click like rocket and half-fat Parmesan. Not only is Justin a wealthy corporate lawyer but, Ffion is delighted to learn, newly divorced. In fact, Justin’s only flaw, so it seems to Ffion, is that he hasn’t heard of her and the team of lovelies who make up her marketing company. But she forgives him; he is too good looking and attentive to be cross with for long. As they get to know each other over the weeks, he always pops in when he picks her up from work. He wants to “get to know” her world. And the girls at the office think he’s great. He’s taken the trouble to learn all their names, even that of the intern, who she frankly finds a little dopey.
So when Justin suggests a weekend in Ibiza, Ffion has no hesitation in accepting. He has been offered a splendid villa for a couple of nights as the owner, one of his friends’ clients, is being sued “for ageism”, as he puts it, and is therefore busy in London. Justin assures Ffion that his friend is a really good barrister and will spin his way out of it; Ffion makes the appropriate sympathetic noises.
They have a wonderfully romantic weekend and the weather is glorious. Ffion, who tans faster than you can pop a champagne cork, loves wearing her short summer frocks. As Justin remarks, she not only has a head for money but the legs for it too – amazing at her age!
In fact, that “compliment” is the only fly in the ointment. While Ffion is only vaguely admitting to something over 35, he has now seen her passport. He can’t believe she’s over 40. Well over 40, in fact. Ffion mutters something about age being all in the mind, and changes the subject. She took Justin’s shock as a compliment. And it is such a good weekend. So good, in fact, that after their return to London Ffion is slightly surprised that she hasn’t heard from Justin so far this week.
He’s usually in touch every day.
His PA says he is in client meetings or at court and yesterday, while having her roots done, Ffion left a message on his mobile. After an unprecedented 72-hour silence, she receives a text: “Emergency meeting in New York. Catch up on return. Love Justin.” Ffion sighs. That explains it. She decides to buy some revitalising, non-fattening herbal tea from her, or rather, their local deli. After all, she recalls fondly, that’s where they first met.
As she hesitates in the store, torn between organic lemon and ginger or Japanese green tea, she hears a voice she knows only too well. Ffion turns round to see Justin laughing and holding hands with young, blonde, lovely Emily – the “dopey” intern – who’s a good 20 years younger than her employer.