No Reply

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CC Image courtesy of Iain Farrell on FlickrBeatrice and I laugh.

I’ve just told her that, with Tom proving to be flakier than dandruff, Viable Prospect is starting to look like a ‘safe haven’.

‘I’m laughing,’ she says, ‘but we both know…’

‘I know.’

‘What did he say?’

‘He said, “Anna. How goes? Sor–”.’

‘Oh for fuck’s sake,’ she cuts in. ‘”How goes?” Argh. You know anything the guy says is gonna make me angry.’

In contrast to how I felt when his message came through.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying not to look at my phone, hoping for a message from Tom (yes, that’s a legitimate activity for a Tuesday night). It didn’t occur to me that the message from an unknown number might be VP resurfacing. It even took me a moment to recognise his photo.

‘And I felt… nothing.’

‘That’s a really big thing,’ Beatrice says.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, think how far you’ve come. I mean, would you have reacted like that two months ago?’

‘I suppose not.’

I wouldn’t have contemplated not replying either.

CC Image courtesy of jcbwalsh on Flickr
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CC Image courtesy of Slaff on FlickrI’ve got it bad for the guy. The usual suspects: waking up and he’s the first person I think of; asking everyone I’m on speaking terms with – and a few people I’m not – if it would be a bad idea to add him on Facebook; I even start writing poems again. Shudder. (They really are bad.)

The consensus is, add him. Which is nice to hear, but I’d have done it anyway.

The next day, I’m at a friend’s house. She’s trying to persuade me to ask an old flame for help with a job application. I’m being stubborn.

‘If you won’t call him, I will!’

‘No!’ I say, grabbing the phone out of her hands. ‘Argh, OK, I’ll do it.’

I fish my phone out of my bag. The ‘home’ button is flashing green.

‘Ooh! He’s accepted my–.’

The words die in my throat. Below the profile picture and education information are three little words:

In a relationship.

‘But – but – I don’t understand!’

‘He’s in a relationship,’ my friend says, in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

‘But – but – he asked me if he should get with that girl! At the party!’

‘Oh – yeah.’

‘He must have been really drunk,’ I say, nodding.

‘So… what are you going to say to him?’


Friend sighs. ‘No, to Richard! About the job!’

She’s invited me round to do job applications, not to discuss my latest crush’s dubious take on monogamy.

‘Oh – right. I’ll draft something.’

I get out notepad and pen and begin.

Hi Richard,

I break off. ‘I can’t believe it.’



I bend my head to the notepad.

I hope you are well…

I pick up my phone, scroll down the page.


I throw the phone into my bag.

… and enjoying the summer.

Like I am.

CC Image courtesy of SimonQ on Flickr