I’d never told a guy ‘I love you’. I came close with my sixth form boyfriend.
‘I love… your hair.’
VP asked me, was I in love?
‘What – with you?’
It was a pertinent question since at that precise moment I was in love with several different people: Tristan, Max (always), Tobias Menzies (the real life version and probably the blog version a little bit), not to mention several people who have never existed but been dreamt up by various novelists.
I ummed and ahhed a bit, thanked God that we’d opted to Skype without cameras, recalled my mother‘s advice never to tell a man you love him (‘What, never? What about Daddy?’ ‘Oh yes, well, I might’ve, in a moment of weakness…’) and wound up:
‘I’m not not in love with you enough to keep doing what we’re doing.’
Which made sense in context, sort of.
Four minutes until the next train.
I’m getting later everyday.
In the lift I mentally rehearse an excuse which I know I won’t use, rather I’ll slip into my seat hoping my arrival has gone unnoticed. As long as I get my work done, I tell myself, it really doesn’t matter when I start the day.
I power up the computer, deposit my lunch in the fridge, get a glass of water. Back at my desk I find a new email waiting. In the subject line, ’09:53′. The body of it is blank. I do a quick Google, copy, paste and send. And there it goes: ‘I love you’, courtesy of Clip Art. That wasn’t so hard.
‘You’re going to be a solicitor?’ he says.
When we were going out, I was still in my pathologist-gemmologist-ballet dancer phase.
‘Yep!’ I laugh. ‘With a view to re-writing the law on free-range eggs!’
‘Isn’t that down to politicians?’
Note to self: try to sound vaguely intelligent when talking to an ex – or anyone.
My parents were telling me about the wedding they had just been to. For two people who follow a No Clapping In Church policy (which I’m prepared to bet they’ll waive, should I ever make it up the aisle), the full-on ‘guitars/improvised prayers’ affair was something of a shock to the system; and, as if that weren’t enough, they were seated next to the parents of my sixth form boyfriend at lunch.
Our relationship had been short-lived and not particularly happy. The last time we saw each other, he had asked:
‘I’m sorry, I know this is terrible, but could you remind me how we met?’
‘Are you serious?’
He looked a little ashamed. ‘I know. I think it was some of the stuff I did at uni, it might have affected my memory.’
His mother, who had always liked me, observed over the smoked salmon starter: ‘I think they met at the wrong time.’
Whenever that was.