I am eating a lambs lettuce and Cambozola salad in a discreet restaurant somewhere in Kensington, marvelling at how much a life can change in a very short time.
After navigating through the streets with my cumbersome weekend bag – a bag which began the trip weighed down only by an outdated edition of the Writer’s Handbook and a change of undergarments, and which is now crammed full of hardbacks – I have completely lost my bearings.
I pinch myself, firmly yet discreetly, under the table, wondering if it is time to wake up yet.
My head is spinning slightly, from the wine, the heat, the dashing around and all the superlatives which have been bandied about in the last forty eight hours. I think I am supposed to be feeling excited and confident, fingertips itching for a keyboard.
Instead I am a bottomless pit of cold, hard fear and self-doubt. A sly voice whispers in my ear: “what if they are all wrong? Maybe you can’t do any of this…”
I jab at the last piece of Cambozola, remarking inwardly to myself that Roquefort would undoubtedly have been a much better choice of cheese in this context, its firm yet crumbly texture infinitely more pleasing on the fork than these rubbery, yielding cubes.
My lunch companion carries on talking.
I wonder if he has noticed the angry red crescent moons on my exposed wrist.