‘You work for Time Out? I’d love that job… If you ever need any help with all the restaurant reviews and free parties you know where I am.’
It’s a line myself and my colleagues hear many times. Being able to visit Dubai’s best hotels and restaurants and call that ‘work’ is amazing. That’s why this page was introduced. So we could share our highlights of this remarkable city.
Have we embraced that? Not one bit. All I remember writing about is the time an old man spied on me in a shopping mall toilet, falling off an exercise bike and wanting to throw a jellyfish at a stranger’s head.
So this is the last Last Word column. Next week, there’s a great new design to this magazine. New content, new ideas and a new back page. Obviously I’m paid to say this, but I tell you with unflinching honesty that it looks brilliant.
Should this column end on one of Dubai’s incredible highs? Of course not. We’ll sign off with the worst thing that ever happened to me.
A year ago, sadly, my marriage broke down and my wife moved back to England. Our split was amicable and my soon-to-be-ex-spouse helped me move into a small studio on my own before she left. She helped set up home before going away. Organising a removal van to ship furniture to my pad, buying me a shower curtain and hanging it in the bathroom. That type of thing. And then I was alone.
Every morning I would stand in the shower and think of love lost, happier times and wonder where it all went wrong. I have to say it was a sad time. Some mornings I would cry tears of regret, solitude and loneliness and just cling onto that shower curtain and sob and sob and sob. That was her final gift and last act of love before we went our separate ways. I came to cherish it as a symbol of all the good times we spent together.
I am ashamed to say I never washed that shower curtain in the whole year. It represented our love and I didn’t want to let go and give up. But one morning things didn’t seem quite so bad. Dabbing a final tear from my eye, I decided there and then to stop being unhappy and I took down the shower curtain and hung a new one. A fresh start.
But I wasn’t ready to throw it away. I’d give it as a gift to my ex. A last thank you for all the good times. I called her and told her how I cherished every second we spent together and how I wanted her to know I always thought of her with nothing but happiness. Our time together was over, but there would always be a place in my heart for her and that I was going to return the gift in the hope that that symbolic gesture might give her some comfort and happiness, too.
That’s when she told me something I will never forget for as long as I live.
‘I didn’t buy that shower curtain. It was in the apartment when you moved in. I think it belonged to that big hairy guy you rented the apartment from.’
Never look back. See you next week folks.
Will Milner is a contributing editor. He finally had the Last Word.