The Last time I saw Dick

The last time I spoke to my husband was a year ago, he contacted me- first time since the separation hearing- because he got a letter informing him that he had to pay property tax on our flat, and it wasn’t fair. As I read his name, there was a flood of emotion. Not hatred, not hatred. Just the memory of when his name went with mine, when we were tied up together. His name, his name, the name I was forced to sign after my own on the act of sale when we bought the apartment, even though I didn’t take his stupid name because I didn’t want to, and I already had my own double barrelled name anyway. But they were all men around the table.

There was the ancient white haired notary, impeccable, ivory hands like a pope’s, latest in a long line of king’s lackeys, Oh the money that man skims off the top. The cream of my life’s earnings. Then my father, shaking hands and knocking his fist on the table, asking if it’s mahogany, one piece? What a table. One solid piece of wood. One of these for the office, eh? Waggling his eyebrows at me. So alien to us, the legal, the formal world. He’s a businessman, there’s a certain amount of respect for him even though he’s scruffy and unconventional with bitten cuticles and a battered leather briefcase. Me, dressed up nice, makeup, well groomed for an Irish woman but not quite up to Italian standards. I was just a little girl to them, playing house, peering over the shoulders of the men. And there we were, my dad, my Papi, who was getting more estranged from me every day, and my husband, and then the owner, a weasly man waving his hand sickly to indicate all the properties he owned, who regarded our odd little family with some disgust. Foreigners, and an Italian who didn’t drive or dress in the style he could clearly afford to. Those men, they just looked at me blankly as I said I didn’t want to sign his name after mine on all the documents.

Why should I?  I elected not to take his name when we married. Isn’t a signature something important, something expressive? How could I SIGN a name that isn’t mine? They just looked at me and said “that’s how we do things in Italy.” I said no, it’s not my name. There were so many pages in that document, each to be signed. Each page. And it wasn’t my name. But my dad said this isn’t Ireland, this is how it goes here. I bristled. The little notary added, trying to help, trying to move it all along, because his time was more money than I could imagine, he said “it’s so we know who you are, who the document is talking about.” Without my husband’s name at the end, presumably, I could have been anyone, anyone. I wonder if an unmarried couple buys a house, how the hell anyone knows whose name that is, with the female name, the name unattached to any man mentioned. Who is she, if not someone’s wife?

But this feminist blather, I couldn’t even begin to verbalise. I was outnumbered, and making too much of it, so I swallowed the bile and gracelessly signed around 80 times, 80 times, like I’d been a bad girl, 80 times to drill it into me, Abby Natascha Di Gianni Flicker in Garcia Ramirez, over and over as the men watched until I had hot tears stinging my eyes, and I fell into a place where the words had a beat, and it drummed through my fingers, Abby Natascha Di Gianni Flicker in Garcia Ramirez, again and again and again and my fingers cramped and seized up, it wasn’t fair, nothing was fair, I was buying a lousy little apartment that needed work, and I was the only one of us with any money at all, and I was putting my every penny into the notary fees, to pay the little man, and the estate agent fees, so Graziella could have her Jimmy Choos, the odious woman, almost deformed by her sense of style. Blue mascara and perma tan and frosted lips, and everything so bright and lifted, a sad caricature of youth.

All my money, my grandparents’ generous gift to me, into this apartment with this man, and I loved him still then, but then I know that I had learnt to love alongside hate, too. Stubbornly, because I didn’t want to let go of love wherever I found it, it was too intoxicating. And I sort of always hated him, from the beginning, when he was awful and cruel and used me. And made me feel stupid, or invalid, or like a silly woman, when I was so much cleverer than him. Perhaps that was why he did it.

So I handed over the money, all those thousands, I never saw money like that before or since, and the notary thanked me but it was nothing to him. It was just some kids playing house, plankton, and he had such big fish. But it was all the money I ever had. And then three years later, a year ago, maybe, he emails me, this man whose name I signed with mine, his name brings me back to that table made from one piece of mahogany and impregnated with the metallics of sweat and money. And after his name, after I let myself float off into venomous memory, it subsides, and I can read the message.

We haven’t spoken in so long, it’s surreal to converse with him. Scary, because for so long he’s inhabited a world that’s unchangeable, fixed- that is, the past, but now he’s writing to me and I remember how volatile and poisonous he became, so I’m very aware that this exchange now is not fixed, this is all being written as I write, as I choose my reply. Choose carefully. He holds some power still, to fuck with my life. So I read and reread, and think before I type. He says they’re asking him for property tax, but it’s not fair, because he doesn’t even live in the apartment, so why should he pay? Oh, fair. That word. What is fair? Who teaches us the word, even? What use does it have? The last time you could judge a thing to be fair, I believe it was a birthday party and somebody was cutting the cake with Pythagoras theorems and a spirit level. I point my index finger at the computer screen and its neighbours squeeze tight into a fist. It’s a strange gesture, I’ve never made it before. But I must be physical, or I’ll burst something in my head. My jaw is clenched too.

Oh you you you… Not fair. Not fair to leave me with the whole mortgage, and all those old bills, and never pay, knowing if you don’t I will, and if I don’t, my father has to, because he’s our guarantor. And all the money I put in, and all the money my dad put in, and then you say it’s not fair I get to live in the apartment.

When I told my lawyer, the bitch with the sexless frame stamped in Versace, when I told her he moved out, and never paid me another cent, she told me firmly, you’re a fool. she didn’t think much of my dad or I. She was polite to him, and talked to me like I hadn’t just got married too young, but more like I’d come over from Estonia and given my passport and money to a man in a van who claimed he was a modelling agent. She glared at me as I spoke, her jaw sharp enough to castrate, and I never knew if I was giving her too much information or too little, but she thought I was a damned fool for not trying to get anything from him when we split, and not just that, but to lose money too.

I asked her if I could sue him for the money he owed me, but she said no, there was no point, it would cost more to sue than I’d get back. And he could just skip the country anyway. That wasn’t fair. Debt is an awful thing, it hangs around your neck like a bag of rocks, and it hurts because it’s heavy but also you remember when you picked up those rocks, and you remember that you made that choice for yourself, back then, and you didn’t care it would hurt now because it was good then. It was hard to be stuck in Italy for a year on my own, with a separation, having lost my closest ally in the country, and custody of all our friends, and with my little sisters wanting to cheer me up but lacking the tools, because they were too young. And with that debt, but it was worse still because it wasn’t my debt, and I hadn’t picked up the rocks.

They were his, him, the man with the name, the name they slapped on me, and he left when he wanted, he moved on as soon as he was ready, he met a new girl, kept the visa from our marriage, met his new girl. An Italian. She’s older than me, less attractive, simpler looking. The kind of girl a man would go crazy to love, because she’d make him happy. Not me. I don’t make men happy. I drag them down, and up, and down again. I’m sweet sometimes but then maybe too sweet, and then I’m all claws and pathos and I need, need need. And I’m not sure of anything but I’m passionate about it all, passionately optimistic, but nihilistic, and obsessive and compulsive and impulsive and lazy and hopeless and full of scorn. A woman like that, all simplicity, grounded, real; god, I’ve looked down on that kind of wman but she could make a man happy.

I don’t feel jealous, no, he’s a stranger now, I look at his face and I don’t even know if I remember anything about him, anything I used to know, his secrets, his face, the lines… Oh yes, but there were lines under his eyes, in a sort of network, I remember looking at them, scrutinising his face and thinking he’s older than me, he’ll die first, and I’ll be so lonely without him. But that was another face, and another version of me. there isn’t a grain left of the girl who loved him or cared if he lived or died. I’m not jealous, not of that petty, greedy, mean bully. I’m not jealous. It just feels sad, sometimes, that the people who aren’t good enough for me, supposedly, well, they’re much more capable of finding happiness. Simplicity, and perhaps humility. I find it harder now,because I want so much, and I start to wonder if all my self satisfaction isn’t just self soothing, and maybe i don’t have anything to offer a man after all.

Maybe I’m just young, and men are attracted to me, and I’m intelligent, so I tell myself I’m this full package, this wonderful woman, too good for most I meet. But I’m lonely, now, sometimes. Not in my own thoughts. It’s the physical space, it starts to feel like time for me to move on, onto someone, try it again, more sensible this time, less of a fool, or a different kind of fool. I’m not jealous he moved on, I’m just sad that he’s better at it than I am, that I’m the one still recalling these moments with anger because he’s the last person to share my life, and I haven’t found someone to fill that space since, not really. And tonight, he wrote to me again, a year since we last exchanged some curt, emotionless words, and tonight he asks not for money, but for information. When are we getting divorced? When can we apply? Can we already? Are we good to go?

It occurs to me, he wants to marry his girlfriend. I tell him October. We’ll need a lawyer. A lady told me we could share one, if it’s amicable. I snorted.

Amicable, like our marriage. He never hit me.

He never hit me. But I took a fucking pummelling.

Tonight I tell him October, and I’m about to say we need a lawyer, but I choose not to. I don’t need to enter a discussion with him now. I can’t bear to let him back into my reality. He’s boxed up, fixed, sealed, he stays the same, in the past. If I engage with him now, I can’t… it’s all old. It’s all been pored over, I’ve woven all my own justifications around the past, processed everything, and now I’m firmly in the right, and I didn’t hurt him, no, he deserved it. And anyway I was hurt too.  And he got a visa, and I got his debt. So it’s all set in stone, and let it rest. Please.

But sooner or later i’ll have to not just engage, but speak face to face with him.

With husband. Dick.

The last time I saw Dick was Italy, two years ago, and I had lost weight and given up smoking and I felt so good and happy to be casting off the things that held me, that saddened me. I wore a blue dress I’d bought before our wedding, that I’d considered getting married in but it was a bit tight and then it got too tight altogether as I put on weight.

I had never worn it before, and he didn’t know it was nearly my wedding dress. But I knew, and it gave me a secret power. I wore it confidently, looking great, looking much better than I looked on my wedding day. I felt better. I felt free, or closer to it than ever. In the pit of my stomach was a little twisted piece of pleasure, because I was wearing a dress I couldn’t wear while we were together, and now I was better, a better version of myself without him. We met outside and walked in, the Palazzo di giustizia, big awful hideous eyesore, reminds me always of the Ministries in 1984. Minitru, Miniluv… We walked past staircase A, B, C… it’s a huge complex. A path runs all around, and it takes ages. Lawyers everywhere. The invisible strings of money and power whipping past as heels clicked neatly. Ball stomping heels.

We made small talk. Waited outside the courtroom, finally were ushered in. An old man, a beautiful old man with crinkled eyes and an appropriately gentle smile for us,  in a little room. He was the judge, apparently. I expected an amphitheatre of a court room. Of course it wouldn’t be that. It was a little office. We sat in rows facing the judge. Mari Angela, my lawyer. Dick. Me. I remembered our wedding day. The stony faced registrar asking do you, and Dick bellowed “ABSOLUTELY.” And I was embarrassed, a little, and annoyed that he did it and not I, and then I was going to be the boring one who said I do.

But the judge read our statement made nine months before when we had really split, and the terms of the separation, which I craned my neck to see because I remembered his tears falling on the page and a sick part of me wanted to see the smudged writing. We agreed and signed, and I signed my own name, and then the judge said you are now legally separated, and I wish you the best of luck. And his eyes were on mine as he said that, and I got a feeling of his wishing me well, specifically me, and his understanding, in those eyes, of what I had escaped from, the sad stifled life. I felt he must see so many couples do what we did, and he must catch these glimpses. But his eyes sought me out, and I thought he recognised me and understood. And I felt the whoosh of freedom, and my mouth stretched out into a grin, and I begged myself to stop grinning, to switch it off, go back to the sombre divorce face, it was so rude, so cruel to grin, god, no, and Dick there looking sad and lost. I couldn’t stop smiling so I smirked, but that was awful too, so I strained and strained and covered my face with a hand and scratched my nose, desperately. But the smile leaked out anyway and I was just grateful my body didn’t break out into a dance, or leap into the air, because it felt like it might have.

Oh, to be truly free. October, October. How long will it take and how much will it cost, to get there?

To finally leave him behind, Dick, his name, his face, his part in my life.

Moving, shifting.

I moved house last night.

Out of the cold, old, dilapidated apartment with space for things and a good solid table to be fucked on. But it was too cold and old and the wooden window frames trembled at passing buses and I found myself retreating into my bedroom, first, and then my bed, where I lay with my solitude and my drinking and never wrote anything.

Yesterday my long suffering mother, still mothering me long past the gestation period of an adult, helped me move into my new place. Maybe I’ll get some writing done here.I’m all excuses. Recently I spoke to an artist, an actor, and he told me I needed to DO things and get up in the mornings and live my life like it’s not the waiting room for something else, and I felt like crying because he was right, no, not because he was right, but because I’d let my guard down and forgotten that intelligent people can see right through my flimsy bravado. I must have relaxed and let someone see me for what I am, my sadness pouring out in excuses and defence of doing nothing.

I feel happy, I have the symptoms of happiness. But I’m not independent, my life is paid for by the state, my mother shouldered more than half the weight of the fridge-freezer. I’m just like so many others. But I feel wrong, like this. You can justify any lifestyle, I believe, from housewife to banker to lunatic to whatever I might be, as long as your life doesn’t injure or abuse and you can pay your own rent.

It’s not my fault I grew up now, when rent is commonly half a person’s wages, and everyone feels entitled to avocados and parma ham, and craft beer. And suffers without them. But I’m a little ashamed that I grew up now, if I did indeed grow up, and failed to adapt to the world, as it crumbles and swells and freedoms are legalised and then encroached upon, and finally we’re told it’ll all sink into the sea. This is my generation. I’m built for it and by it. Maybe if I lived in the Chelsea hotel, and paid a pittance to live, I’d have been right, or right-on, there’d have been room for my dreams, but this is a bit sad, me, lamenting the fall of the starving artist, in post celtic tiger Ireland, like  a less impressive, less grotesque Ignatius J Reilly with his copy of Boethus.

I’m broke, I’m penniles, I’m cold and I’m a chancer. I’m Sebastian Dangerfield with a vagina. But I’m not, I’m not, I have cognac in my wardrobe and three avocados in varying stages of ripeness, a chilean one and a pair of new zealanders. And I have all these skirts and heels, and when I’ve worn them more than thrice they look old and like they belong to someone I haven’t been for a long time, or a week, but then I shed my passions so quickly, and I shed my skin, and need to buy it new. Because the shoes are worn from climbing walls at 4am and the skirts have been worn thrice and pulled lustily over my head by rougher hands than mine as many times. All my clothes with tags, a look of approval, lust, a compliment. From that moment, the clothes became his, like a lick of paint on a sheep. The skirt I wore to meet Jack, and it was all he thought about, lifting that skirt, he told me later, lifting it. The Shoes that Adam loved so, the ones that left angry red marks on his chest, his neck. The dress I wore for dinner with Antoine, dinner in my flat, with the candles and a tablecloth and he saw me and said “what a dress.” and I wore stockings and he’d never been with a woman in stockings before, he was so young. And he didn’t know to leave them on, when we made love. He took them off me, and I could see he wasn’t sure if they should go, because socks are bad in bed, or stay because they were sexy. And in the summer, I wore those shorts, my little shorts that barely held me inside, and Max watched me paint the sign for the bar in the sun while he sawed planks and sent a breath of sawdust onto the wet paint. And I didn’t mind, because he was so gentle, so adoring, then. And he held me while I was in crisis, not sure what to do or where to go, on the verge of tears at any time, and he made all sorts of promises. He should have let me be and stayed away, and he would have stayed away, but then I would were those shorts.

 I bought them for myself, for how I’d feel, who I thought I was that day and how she would look. But those men, they like to own things, and maybe the don’t know they do it, but they wear me down and they take possession of my clothes, and then I don’t feel like that girl I wanted to be in my skirt any more, covered in fingerprints. Perhaps I just want to give myself fresh to each new lover, and I’m afraid he can see the wear, and it’ll remind him how my mouth isn’t new either, how many hands have reached under my hair to release a clasp. Perhaps it’s not, it’s just there’s so much hope and possibility in new clothes. I remember when I bought my little black playsuit with the high neck and the short shorts, and I saw it in the mirror and thought I looked so sexy, and glamourous, and like I belonged draped on a couch somewhere fabulous drinking something expensive. But then where did I have to wear it, really? I wore it to Bob’s kitchen, to dance to 80s music, which was lovely and fun but my little playsuit went to waste. And then I wore it to the Market Bar, and it was too short, and I felt uncomfortable, but I looked great. And then I went home with Steve, and I shouldn’t have because he’s so wrapped up in himself, he can’t even tell that I don’t care about him, so there’s something insulting about how he never calls or sends a message later. These clothes have too many memories.

What I’m trying to say here, essentially, is that I need a new dress, and I hope you understand how I need a new dress. It’s not wrong, to want a new dress, when you can see how all my other clothes are tarnished so.

But ah, what was I telling you? About the move. Out of my hermit’s cave, into a bizzare houseshare of over 20 inmates, an old hospital of sorts, padded handrails down the corridors and three floors, and everyone has their own fridge, fridges littering the two kitchens and when I scurry down the corridor to the bathroom there’s a ladies and a gents.

And the inmates are friendly and some seem lovely warm people, and others seem obvious like characters written lazily by someone lacking imagination. When I was a child I entertained the thought that I was the main character, and all others were minor, or bit players, or extras. When an adult chastised me I felt sorry for them, that they were written that way, their only contribution to the world as a fleeting villain.

I eventually grew out of the idea that I was the centre of the universe but I never gave up feeling sorry for those people who were written by hacks.

It’s strange to be back in shared living… but it seems like a good thing. It’s warm, I’ll be less inclined to go out every night, maybe, maybe I’ll save some money too.

But the thing that struck me straight away is that I now find myself in a censored environment. For months I’ve surrounded myself exclusively, truly exclusively, with people who I can be so open about, tell every secret, every filthy secret and thought. And now I’m in this area where I don’t know the people, and some will be open minded freaks and perverts, too, but some will not, and so I’m keeping myself to myself, a little. Which is odd for me.

I got so used to being just me, living in a world of my own creation where nothing in nature is twisted, or dirty, as a man said long ago, I think it was Servius.

Changes, anyway.

I hope I write more here, I hope I do. I’ll try.

But it’s not, as people close to me who don’t write seem to thing, some kind of muscle I can get up in the morning and knock out 20 reps of 100 words.

I could write 50,000 words right now, and I’d forget to eat, drink, pee, masturbate, yes, even masturbate. But what kind of words would they be, and is there any point?

My friends tell me to just DO it. Do it and you’ll have written, and you can edit. But I don’t like to edit, because then I read back and it’s not the voice in my head any more, it’s something I’ve crafted. And why did I do that? It’s the honesty of writing I love… and beautiful turns of phrase, and sentences that make something lurch inside you like arousal of your sense of harmony. But mostly honesty, and when I edit I think why did I do that? What am I trying to say, and what’s the point?

And I collapse in nihilism, and I don’t do anything, and I feel bad about it, because even though I don’t think anything matters, it matters to me that I don’t fade into a sad future. Also, I don’t edit because I don’t know what’s good.

People tell me to just write. Just write, write all the time. You have so much free time, you should be writing. I know. I KNOW. I know. I just need to… do it. I know.

In my old place, you see, it was too cold. It was so cold, I couldn’t think, my fingers were cold, my brain was occupied in being cold and suffering from it and overcoming it. In France you may know, I thought I’d recreate the misery and solitude of my life in Italy, without being so miserable and solitary that I’d hate it, like in Italy.

But it seems it’s either one or the other. I’m too unhappy in Italy to live. I wrote there, maybe nothing great, but I was so unhappy I wrote like my writing was my friend who understood me and it just kept me from the abyss of true misery. And France, oh I didn’t speak French, but I learnt French. And I didn’t know anyone, but I met people, and I met wonderful people and they made me laugh and I somehow made them laugh in my awful French. But I wasn’t truly happy because I was like the dumb princess, the little mermaid, clumsy on my legs and deprived of my singing voice.

The prince didn’t love me without my gifts, but he was compassionate, he thought me charming with my strange ways and my clumsiness. But that’s fine, for a short time. In France there were men, but none of them loved me for what I was, they just loved what they could see, a ballsy travelling girl with a love of wine and food and a tendency to make clumsy puns that didn’t really work in French. And they murmured things in my ear, that sounded less beautiful as my French improved and eventually just made me roll my eyes. Fucking French, everything so doomed and poignant. On a beach somewhere near Bordeaux we watched a sunset together, feet curling in the sand, and one lover told me he was glad the clouds were there, on the horizon, because had it been any clearer the sunset would have been too much, too cheesy. “I ‘ate cheesy” he said.

“I ‘ate you”, I remember thinking. But I loved him a while longer.

I missed my wit and humour and I felt dulled. I drank far too much and snuck my bottles out of the lovely, jolly house I shared with 6 people so they wouldn’t know how far it went. I couldn’t write there, because I was learning French and my head was full of French and I was being pestered by romantic men who felt no shame in throwing themselves at me.

I had so many friends, there, I couldn’t muster enough loneliness to really write. I was aware as I made this excuse that I could never make myself be lonely, Italy was a mistake, I was trapped there with my husband and my mortgage and my debt. I’d have run home, long ago, had I not been caught that way. I told people I moved to France to be lonelier.

Really I think, now, in hindsight, that I knew full well I was moving to France to have a legitimate and shameless reason to be lonely. I was desperately lonely in Ireland but I was from Ireland, there was no excuse, how could I not find the right people? And I couldn’t write there either, because I had to work in this awful call centre and I didn’t have time to write because I had to work from 9 til 5.30 and didn’t get home til 6.30 and then I was tired and sad, and needed to relax and watch something absurd and funny and forget about my life, and I’d do that til 1 in the morning and then I had to go to bed because i had work in the morning. And if I tried to write anything I’d write how I felt, and god, that was awful, and I didn’t want to think about how I felt because I felt sad and hollow and like something really awful had been done to me and I was being made pay for it. Some awful wrong, my whole life was an awful wrong that had been inflicted on me by my parents, my teachers, my friends, my boyfriends, my parents, my parents, my parents.

And I was such a lovely girl with such a sweet heart and I loved so strongly and why did they all do that, tread on me and make me so sad and break my heart so now I haven’t been sweet or loving in years.

So I didn’t like to think about that, it was too dark and I cried so much when I thought of how I felt and who I had become or was becoming. And my eyes would be puffy in work the next day. Maybe I’d write at the weekend. That’s it, I’d get a bottle of whiskey and lock myself in my bedsit, quite a nice bedsit, not really suited to drowning your sorrows, but I’d make do. And then Friday I’d be half drunk and thinking of typing a few words about something, and I’d get a call from some man I’d vowed to stay away from because he kept giving me false hope and then hurting me, and whenever that subsided I’d remember he was no good, not very interesting and not at all impressive. But I’d be lonely so I’d go and meet him, and sleep with him, and start to feel the rumblings of emotion again, and then I wouldn’t write because all I’d write about would be how I liked him, and maybe I didn’t, and why wouldn’t he call when he said he would.

and what’s wrong with me.

Well, that’s all sort of gone now. I’m not that kind of unhappy now. I’m quite happy, really. In the short term. Long term, I’m not sure, because I need to prove to myself that I am what I claim to be, a writer, and that I’ll do something with that and not just be a drain on family and the state. Not that I care about being a drain on the state, because look at everyone else, and look at all the corruption. But it’s still not right for me, personally.

I am quite happy, really. I don’t cry, I don’t feel like I’ve been hideously wounded by life any more. I feel like I’ve been wounded just the right amount, to make me someone I could respect, if only I got off my ass once in a while and contributed something to the human experience. Because no, it doesn’t matter one bit if I drink and fuck all day and get old and then no one will want to fuck me any more, but it matters to me that I leave a little bundle of pages behind, with something in them that can be picked up, and read, and maybe enjoyed, and maybe someone will read and know me through them, and my life will be in there, and all the silly things that you couldn’t invent, that don’t matter at all, but that contain everything of me but my DNA.

And it ends

He leaves on Wednesday, and today is Friday.

I called in sick today…. again.

To spend the night in my lover’s arms, desperately wringing out all I can before he’s gone.

He spent Wednesday night with me, cooked me dinner and we drank wine and then whiskey and made violent love on my furniture and in the morning it rained and I had to lend him my jumper.  He’s a very, very tall man, my lover, so I only had one massive hairy woolen item that would fit him, a charity shop find for snuggling into on cold lonely evenings. We took the bus together and I wallowed in the bonus time with him, almost part of my workday…

At work I was given yet another pointless boring task and my eyelid started twitching as it does sometimes when I’m stressed or haven’t slept or drank too much coffee. Or usually all three. I couldn’t look at the screen any more so I whinnied to my boss and left early, and paved the way for a no-show the next day, today.

But would he want to see me? Again, so soon? Whatever, there’s no point playing it cool, I have five days left and I’d be a fool to waste any of that time. I texted him if he’d like to join me… no alarm clock the next morning… interested?

He came, of course he did, and he told me he spent all morning looking at his phone, hoping for a message from me. Why didn’t he text me then? Because you had to work early, I didn’t want to distract you again…

Distract me as much as you like, I want you all the time. But he said I made him so happy when I sent him that message. Ah, I’ll miss this one. I’ll miss this one when he’s gone. I hope… I dare to hope that when he leaves it will hit him, the whiplash of our relationship or affair or whatever it is. He’ll miss me too. I hope so. I know so. I just fear a little bit that he won’t, that he’ll move on and his life back home will close around the gaps where I should be and sure a little hole will remain but it will be so much smaller than the emptiness I’ll have back here.

He’s exchanging my love for home, for friends, for his language, for his life.

I’m not exchanging anything… he’s being extracted like a perfect tooth, yanked out of my world and replaced with nothing.

But he will miss me.

And I don’t know what to do, I’m frightened of how sad I am going to be.

He entered my life a month ago, my period had just started and we had an instant connection.

4 or 5 days of every week, we have spent intensely and passionately and tenderly in each others presence.

Today I got my period again. We’ll end this like it started, with a wild night on the town and messy sheets and potato waffles under the grill and so many cigarettes.

Today is Tuesday and he leaves on Wednesday.

Tomorrow.

I told my boss my twitchy eye is acting up and I need tomorrow off… I’m taking the piss, absolutely… but this is more important, it’s a matter of hours left, with my happiness. I’d lose my job for a few more hours. I might lose my job for a few more hours….

Friday night he took my face in his hands and told me he loved me and he knew I loved him too.

We spent that night loving each other and we danced together and I said sorry to his friend, sorry for being Yoko on your last night together. It’s ok… he said… he’s happy with you. I like to see him like this…

A guy took photos of us and later he sent them to me and I thought, fuck that’s going to hurt. But they’re lovely and I’m glad to have them.

He leaves tomorrow and I don’t want him to go, but there it is, the full stop that loomed over our love affair from the first night. I’m waiting for him in the apartment where we must have made love … no, we never fucked, did we? Fifty… sixty… oh go on, a hundred times…

I’m waiting in a pretty dress and I have a stupid hope that it’s pretty enough to change things.

When I’m with him I’m not alone, and when he leaves it will just be a bedsit again and all my sick days will drop down into my empty life like tinny change.

Oh but it was all worth it. It has to have been worth it, it was beautiful.

To feel like this again, to know I can feel like this and someone can fall for me…. I’ve never been anyone’s first love before, and now I fill that space in a life and I’m so honoured.

At least there won’t be bitterness. Maybe I’ll never see him again but he’ll see me every time he’s sad or every time  he falls out of love with a woman, and I’ll be there, untouchable, beautiful, never fading, because the love didn’t grow old and wither but lived fast and left a perfect corpse to torment us with.

And then it seems ridiculous because we met a month ago, but I’m no newcomer to love, I’m not kidding myself romanticising something mediocre just because it has an expiration date to sigh over.

He’s packing his life away as I type and soon he’ll be here for our final night. Part of me wants to sit in silence and boredom like Yossarian’s friend  Dubar, to make the night live forever through inaction. He’ll be here soon and then it will be over.

I have too many condoms left to use up tonight. I feel like throwing away the rest because they are our condoms and they are for us and I don’t want him to leave and I don’t want to go back out there, dressing up and going out and allowing someone who isn’t him to disappoint me by comparison.

And he’s coming over soon and I’m all sad…. and I have to be happy for our last night together. So I’ll leave off my lamenting for now and try coax myself into good spirits and I’ll come back and cry to you all tomorrow or the next day.

Good night….