Natascha, my attorney, called at three minutes to noon yesterday. I was in a workshop with my team at Foxwood, the conference centre we sometimes use, but I took the call. I was expecting it.

‘I’m phoning to tell you you are divorced, and the Settlement Agreement has been made an order of Court.’

I said to my team, ‘I’m not sure I should be making a public announcement, but I’m going to, anyway.’ There was an awkward, sympathetic response. Do you congratulate someone who has just been divorced? What do you say? I sent an sms to Rob, who replied immediately: ‘YEAH!!!!!!!CHAMPAGNE’S ON ME!!!!!XXXX’

The rest of the afternoon passed pleasantly enough – I took my team for lunch at George’s on 4th, a farewell for Anthony, who left us at the end of last year. But there was a sense of suspension, of not quite being there, as we ate and talked and joked and laughed.

Finally I got home to Rob, who had been waiting with growing anticipation for me to arrive. We hugged and kissed; I put down my things, and we sat out on the patio, overlooking the pool. I felt exhausted, weighed down, relieved but numbed. For a while we said little, and at one point the tears welled up in my eyes and I brushed them away. The past five years have been the hardest years of my life, I remember saying.

I phoned my children, one after the other – Jonathan called back from London, where he was still at work. Then I called my mother.

Later we opened the Moet that Rob had brought with her from her stopover in Frankfurt; I smoked one of my dad’s rather stale Havanas, and we began to perk up a bit. I sent Mike, my UK friend, a short email, and then we made supper – a Moroccan dish with cumin, of langoustine, giant prawns, that I had picked up in Dunkeld on my way home. Quite fabulous. Especially when accompanied by a fine Spanish rioja, that I had bought at the LCBO in Toronto. We put on music while we cooked and ate.

‘I feel like 500 lb of chains are slowly slipping off me,’ I said, somewhere along the way.

This morning when I woke, the sun was shining and I lay in bed thinking. 5 February. My birthday is 2 August. Life really begins at 56 1/2, I decided.

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