‘Oh fuck-a-duck.’ I start to laugh. ‘That’s fast looking like my only option!’
‘Did you see it?’ I say.
I laugh. She joins in.
‘I mean – really!’ I say. ‘What – what does it take?! Of all the subject lines!’
Eventually the laughter subsides. I can picture my mother, sitting at the kitchen table, opening the email on the iPad she bought because she thought it was pretty.
‘O-K,’ she says, ‘I’ve read it.’
‘Yeah so… my question was… should I – no – am I entitled to any kind of… confirmation-?’
‘No.’ But my echo is more of a question.
‘Listen to me,’ she says. ‘You do not contact him.’
‘No. No, I know.’ I laugh. ‘Flatmate must be going soft in his dotage, cos he said different.’
‘What did he say?’
I start to tell her. She cuts in. ‘You do nothing. OK?’
‘Yep. Incidentally, Redhead seems to have also forgotten I exist. Oh fuck-a-duck.’ I start to laugh. ‘That’s fast looking like my only option! I’ve gotta say, my love life really is a fail!’
My mother doesn’t respond immediately. I find the silence oddly soothing.
‘And,’ I go on, ‘I don’t think I did anything so very wrong with this last one!’
‘No, but… well, it does sound like you tend to go for guys who have got it all: funny, charming, good-looking. And… well, they’ve got jobs….’
Which makes me smile. There’s no denying it’s part of the attraction.
‘… so what can you expect?’
‘Yeah but – I think that’s just the way I paint them. I mean, I don’t think they have got it all…’
‘Well, I don’t know, but from what you say…’
‘Hmm maybe, but I can’t help the fact they’re the guys I like! I mean, I don’t want to spend time with guys who aren’t those things! So, what, I’m going to be single forever?!’
‘You’re probably going to have to accept that for quite a lot of the time you’re going to be on your own.’
I look up at the building which houses my office. In there is Tristan, the only guy I really like who hasn’t blotted his copybook of late. He has got it all, including a girlfriend, but that doesn’t alter the fact he’s a kind of standard. Like Max, he has the ability to light up a room. When he walks in, people relax and smile. The effect is almost magical.
I climb the steps leading up to the entrance. ‘Yeah, well, I don’t think I’m gonna compromise.’
This muggle wants magic.