‘He’s a ginger version of Rob,’ she says, ‘so that might be a problem.’
‘I think Ginger Rob is par for the course,’ I send back. ‘I’ve spent the last eight months looking for a doppelganger of Viable Prospect.’
I go upstairs to get ready. My top needs ironing and I’m contemplating washing my hair in the vain hope it will come out looking entirely different. Longer and more bouncy.
I put away the ironing board, transfer essential items to my evening bag. There’s ten minutes until I need to leave, enough time to reply to a couple of messages.
At the top right of the screen, a small number two, in red. Reminders, no doubt, of invitations unanswered. I click on the icon and feel my stomach drop.
Two days earlier…
Beatrice shifts in her chair. ‘It’s embarrassing.’
I tell her about the time I almost went to see someone for the same reason. ‘But I knew a therapist couldn’t tell me what I needed to know – only he could do that. So I messaged him, and, when he stopped replying, I was finally able to move on.’
‘Do you still think about him?’
I shrug. ‘I guess I compare people to him. But I know now he doesn’t want to be with me, and it’s invaluable, knowing that.’
I stare at the screen a moment.
‘Fuck you!’ I say with a half-laugh. ‘Fuck you!’ I get up, pace the room. ‘You are not fucking doing this. You’ve fucking ruined enough of my fucking life already. You are not ruining my evening.’ I grab my coat and bag. ‘I am going to have a fabulous night.’
‘Do you want another drink?’ My date gestures towards the menu. ‘Or do you want to dance or… do you just want to get out of here?’
He’s already told me he’s not a very good dancer.
‘Err… out of here?’
‘So,’ he says, once we’re outside, ‘your place or mine?’
I suppress a smile. ‘Err… yeah, that’s what I meant earlier by I think we want different things.’