This afternoon, after one and a half very happy years with The Lady I'm Walking Out With, I was suddenly struck numb by the feeling that something had disappeared from our relationship, never to return.
At first, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. And then it hit me: She's not married anymore.
At lunchtime, after a mammoth seven-minute court case – not quite as long as the duration of her co-habitation with her ex-husband, but not far off – The Lady I'm Walking Out With got divorced.
From what I can gather from a rather garbled phone call, she's now in a delirious near-stupor in the boozer with two of her mates, possibly with celebratory sparkling wine and God knows what else all down her front, and intends to stay there for a good few hours to come.
And after I finish work, I'm going to join them, wipe the dribble off The Lady I'm Walking Out With and tell her everything's going to be all right. And then drink a crate of Holsten.
One doesn't quite know what to say upon the completion of a divorce. Congratulations doesn't seem quite right, nor do condolences.
This seemed to be very much a "congratulations" divorce. As I know nothing about the ex-husband or the ex-marriage, I kept myself to myself. But the other people present, many of whom have known The Lady I'm Walking Out With longer than I have, were back-slapping and glass-raising as though it were the beginning, rather than the end, of a marriage.
So let's just say this: if you've been thinking of dumping her, wait until she's sober.
That could take a while. There were a lot of complimentary drinks last night.
Including one from me on the way home last night, for the poor lad who received a completely unexpected stream of invective while sat on a wall innocently eating his takeaway supper. ("You think you're a doctor, do you? A charlatan, that's what you are. Nothing but a CHARLATAN!")
And if you're thinking of proposing, wait a week or two.
Been there, done that, in September 2011.
The only condition I imposed – apart from no rings, no guests at the Register Office, no wedding suit (for me) and no changes of surnames or addresses – was that the wedding should take place on 1st September. Bureaucratic sloppiness by several parties involved has put the kybosh on that idea for 2012, but there's always next year.