‘No I know.’
‘It’s just – we’ve spent a nice evening together, and that’s it. It doesn’t mean anything.’
‘I know!’ I laugh. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not suddenly going to go all needy on you!’
I am however going to leave. Because, if I know anything, it’s that I want something which means something. I think I always knew, from the moment I left the office, bent my steps in the direction of the tube, emerged onto the unfamiliar pavement, wended my way through the streets of the City, past the cafe where VP and I had our first conversation about what it was we were doing – I always knew I was walking towards nothing. We would mark time over drinks, dance maybe, but ultimately he didn’t care – he didn’t care how my day had been, what I thought of my new job, my new flatmate. It was all just words, because you had to say something, do something, until the alcohol had entered your system, made you both feel sufficiently relaxed to cross that line.
Which brings us to here: a sofa, a shabby flat, a shabby scene really. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him well enough and I must have fancied him a bit, but I felt… interchangeable. We’re all interchangeable up to a point of course, but the difference with VP, for want of a better example (and there isn’t one), is that with him I never felt that way. And I knew, as VP sat across from me in the frankly hideous cafe of his choosing set back from the main thoroughfare of Liverpool Street, nursing a pint, telling me:
‘I like you, but I can’t be ’emotionally responsible’ for you right now.’
I knew it would never mean as much to him as it did to me. But I knew… I knew he would never say it meant nothing.