When I was 21, I came to live in London. I shared a damp basement flat with a beautiful ex-art student from Cambridge. Her name was Anna. She had long brown hair and a slim figure that I was madly jealous of. She ate three chocolate bars for breakfast every morning.
I used to lie in bed looking at her eating and getting dressed, wondering how she could possibly consume so much sugar without losing her teeth, her figure or her complexion. She'd put on her make-up in under a minute, throw on whatever clothes happened to be lying around the room, and rush off to work looking like a model on the cover of a fashion magazine. Like me, she was just an art teacher in a secondary school.
I, on the other hand, used to put on weight if I even smiled at a bar of chocolate.
I'd already lost several upper teeth, my face was spotty and I looked like a heavyweight boxer whatever I wore.
My morning reaction to Anna was always the same. I'd shut my eyes, pull the blankets over my head and force myself back to sleep. I knew that I really ought to get up too, and make use of the early start to have a shower, iron my blouse, polish my shoes, paint my nails and eat something for breakfast.
But I have never been what you'd call a morning person. The teaching job I was doing at the time was the only period of my life, thank goodness, that I've had to be anywhere by 8.30 a.m. Anyway, I needed a few extra comforting dreams after the shock of seeing Anna looking so beautiful. Going back to sleep to shut everything out, and using my bed as a favourite...