Our wedding approached. We did a deal with Hello! magazine and arranged for an open-air, humanist ceremony down in the New Forest. The marquee went up. Wedding presents arrived from John Lewis. I got my fancy suit sorted out (complete with leopardskin waistcoat) and Heather got her dress (can’t tell you about that. Never saw it). The honeymoon was booked (one week in the Seychelles and one week in Zimbabwe).
And then six days before the wedding, I had my stag night. I returned in the early hours the worse for wear, as you do, and collapsed into bed beside Heather.
The next morning I woke up to find Heather already dressed. “I’m just off to the airport to collect Fiona,” she said. Her sister was coming in from Greece for the wedding, you see. “Okay,” I murmured, holding my sore head. “Bye.” “Bye,” she replied.
And that was the last time I saw her.
She phoned a couple of hours later to say simply:
“It’s off!” “But, but . . .” I gurgled.
“It’s off,” she repeated. “One hundred per cent off!” Well, the spell was broken in a heartbeat and I was now in a very different sort of trance. I was devastated and also humiliated. I phoned my father. “The wedding is off,” I said. There was a pause. “Christopher,” he said finally, “I have never been so relieved in all my life.”
I did my best to get through that time, but it was not easy. The wedding arrangements had to be unarranged. Guests informed. Presents returned. But also, of course, caterers had to be paid as did the marquee people. Nightmare.
But worse was to come.
I then found out, though I will never be completely sure of the timing involved, that you had become a significant figure in her life. That was not easy to handle.
“What’s Paul McCartney got that I haven’t?” I bleated to my friends. My friends said nothing. They just looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
“No, no,” I said, realising what they were implying. “Heather might be a bit of a fantasist, but she is not driven by money. Look at the bamboo ring she wanted from Cambodia.” I still wanted to believe the best about her — even then. But it got more and more difficult.
Now, I don’t know what she told you about me but I have my suspicions. You see, it wasn’t long before friends of mine in the media were phoning me to tell me that Heather was going around telling everyone the reason she had left me was that I was gay.
Well, Macca, I have to tell you, gay is one thing I am not. Out of respect to my gay friends I will not call it a slur, but it was a king-size porky. So to hear she was spreading this rumour was not pleasant. But it was an effective smokescreen for her to hide behind, I suppose. Suddenly, her ability to reinvent the truth was not quite so endearing.
If that was not enough, I then heard something even more bizarre. You see, once I had confided to her that I had, in a previous incarnation, had a brief brush with the intelligence services when I was contemplating a career with the Foreign Office. What a mistake that was. I then heard that she had inflated this into the idea that I was an
MI6 agent whose mission was to infiltrate her world and sabotage her anti-landmine work in order to protect the British arms industry. So, she had me down as James Bond. In fact a gay James Bond. What would Judi Dench say about that? Anyway, life moved on. I did find it quite difficult to make subsequent relationships work, to be honest. I went through quite a few girlfriends and just could not give those relationships the attention they deserved. I was, for a while, quite untrusting and unable to commit. Poor girls. A bloke that has been “Heathered” is not always a good bet. Well, I wasn’t anyway.
Gradually, the clouds lifted. My life returned to some sort of normality. In fact, after a while, I could hardly believe what had happened, but it provided me with a great line for cocktail parties — almost Pythonesque: “Yes, I was once six days away from marrying a one-legged, ex-glamour model who is now married to a Beatle!” Some of my more outlandish exes were very excited as they felt they could now claim to be related to you. You gotta laugh, haven’t you? Life’s too short not to.
So, Macca. I hope you are okay. Time heals all, as they say. We have both experienced the same feelings towards the same extraordinary woman and both, to a greater or lesser extent, been wounded by those feelings. But I have to say this. I totally agree with you that Heather is not a gold digger. I think she is someone who desperately wants recognition and is frustrated when it does not come the way she wants it. Her men suffer because of it, but then so does she.
The irony is she has so many authentic qualities that could provide her with the recognition she craves that she really doesn’t need to reinvent herself the way she does. I have seen for myself her remarkable ability to counsel those who have lost limbs and her astonishing determination to get something done. Her motives? I am not always sure about those. But she is a force to be reckoned with and no mistake.
I was considering writing to Heather but I think I will leave it. But, for what it’s worth, I hope both you and she find some peace now. Thanks for reading this letter, Macca, if you have. Just wanted to get a few things off my chest and to say hi really.
Must go now. Sergeant Pepper has finished. I think I will listen to Revolver now and then A Hard Day’s Night and then Help!. Glad to have you back in my life, mate.
PS Don’t know what you are going to settle on with her, but please make sure it is enough that she can pay me back for the damned wedding.
PPS If you ever want that beer, give me a bell.