I listen, spellbound, to Rachel‘s sister, as she details his every action and word over the course of two years. It would be cruel, I feel, and impolitic since we’ll be sharing bridesmaid duties come the autumn, to start spouting stuff like:
If you’re asking whether he likes you, he doesn’t.
None of that matters. If he’s not asking you out…
The distance thing – he’s using it as an excuse.
He’s having his cake and eating it too.
But I say it nonetheless. Rachel is more practically minded:
‘You should date other people,’ she says.
I agree, while secretly thinking only someone who’s been out of the dating game for a while could think that you can go on dates, with people you’re genuinely interested in, just like that.
‘Yup,’ is her sister’s response, the light easy syllable of someone who has no intention of following through on the advice they’ve been given.
A couple of hours earlier I’d received an email from my mother. It was in response to a detailed breakdown I’d sent her of Tom’s most recent behaviour.
‘Just to confirm,’ I wind up, ‘I shouldn’t contact him, should I?’
‘You shouldn’t,’ she sends back. But it’s the next bit that stings, that makes me for a moment have to concentrate on not crying at my desk.
‘You need to deliberately park your mind elsewhere,’ she writes, ‘and develop a different interest, rather than dwelling on an area of your life where you are not in control.’
I’m reminded of the chorus of Carrie Fisher’s character in When Harry Met Sally every time Sally tells her that the guy she likes is never going to leave his wife:
You’re right, you’re right, I know you’re right.
‘Yeah, you’re right…’ I start writing, by way of reply.
But how the fuck do you do it?
The Final Act