A Mother’s Love

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CC Image courtesy of dbeck03 on Flickr

I stop dead. ‘He’s not coming. The colleague – the one in the posts…’

My mother looks aghast. ‘Not Tobias?’

I can’t help smiling. One day I’ll accidentally call a colleague by their blog name.

‘No, the other one.’ I say his real name.

‘Aww.’

Fuck.

 

My brother is laying the table. ‘Are you going to eat with us?’

‘Don’t worry,’ I say, ‘I’ll eat later. I’m going to go… spaz out somewhere.’

 

My mother finds me in the sitting room, staring at the floor.

‘Do you want this candle?’ she says.

‘Oh… err it’s a new one. There’s not much point opening a new one for tonight. None of it matters anymore. I don’t mean that. I mean… it’s just – probably not worth it.’

‘OK.’

She’s about to go.

‘This isn’t about Tristan, by the way,’ I say quickly. ‘It wouldn’t matter who it was. It’s about numbers.’

‘I realise that.’

CC Image courtesy of MinniekBunnik on Flickr

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The Worst of Times

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CC Image courtesy of Juska Wendland on FlickrA couple of years ago, just after the car crash that was my 26th birthday party, my brother gave me some good advice.

Don’t invite someone you’re dating to a party because it will make it all about them.

When I drew up the guest list for my housewarming, Tom‘s name was conspicuously absent. Obviously. I’d said I didn’t just want something casual and he’d suggested ‘being friends’.

Colleagues featured heavily on the list. Then the usual round-up of friends, my brother, and men I’ve always had a vague crush on but nothing has ever happened with.

It was safe. The latter wouldn’t come; the former would treat it like after-work drinks.

Then Friday happened.

‘Can I invite Tom?’

Beatrice says no. I play the Friday card. Tom is the least of my worries.

I don’t see Tom everyday and feel a jolt in the pit of my stomach. I don’t don my headphones to drown out his voice when he comes over to talk to Ryan. I don’t look up mid-meeting, see him walk past, meet his eye, struck by the sadness of his expression, and spend all afternoon wondering what it means.

Tom doesn’t pass my desk on his way out…

‘Bye,’ I say, with a wave.

… and acknowledge my farewell but keep walking.

CC Image courtesy of Vickilgh's Pictures on Flickr

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At the end of the day

 


She & Him

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CC Image courtesy of mRio on Flickr

It went like this.

Me: Witty question, though I say so myself.

Him: One-word response.

Me: Witty question.

Him: Two-word response.

Must be love.

Me: Question.

Him: Question…

Finally, a sign of life.

… though not a very encouraging one.

Me (fed-up): Response.

Silence.

Feelings of sadness, self-loathing… depression.  Blaming of Beatrice, first in my head, then out loud, that is, via online chat.

The following evening, Beatrice and I go to a housewarming.  We last a couple of hours.

‘So, anyone?’ I say, en route to the station.

‘No.  You?’

‘No.’

Besides a sweet girl who works in films and who I would later go to considerable lengths to track down the name of – the kind of lengths people in films go to to track down the love of their life, but since I didn’t meet the love of my life

I get in, drop my stuff on the table in the sitting room, and go through to the kitchen to make a drink.

Mug in hand, I flop down on the sofa.  My phone is blinking.  I swipe the screen and there it is, the distinctive orange logo.  And the words,

You have a new Tinder message from Viable Prospect.

That’s not exactly what it says.

I stare lovingly at the screen, open and close the window a few times, revisit his Facebook profile.  Birds are singing by the time I do finally hit the hay.

CC Image courtesy of mallix on Flickr