The ending of a dalliance – especially one that had been travelling in a rather promising direction – is never a delightful experience.
The conversation itself is about as pleasurable as root canal.
You miss the little things you incorporated into your routine that are no longer there – the daily text message at 7.30am, wishing you a good day; the person on the other side of the bed when you wake up on a Monday morning.
Detritus of life left littered around the house is no longer just stuff on the coffee table, but something that gives you a nudge of guilt because you really should send it back, but don’t really want to (because, ahem, you’ve not got round to watching all the DVDs yet).
There’s the faint embarrassment of other people when you’re at a party on a Saturday night and they ask how the boyfriend is, only to be met with your reply that he’s no longer in the picture.
None of which is ideal, but none of which is as disagreeable as having to own up to The Mother.
Things had been going uncharacteristically well with The Northerner. I still had niggles about his jewellery and pro-death penalty approach to life, but he’d displayed no lingering emotional attachment to any of his exes and didn’t seem averse to becoming a frequent fixture at Blonde Towers, to the point that Colin was quite happy to curl up and sleep on top of TN’s head in the middle of the night. Unprecedented behaviour in a male of the species in Quite Some Time.
And then the cracks began to appear. Or rather, one crack appeared, repeatedly.
“I’m really sorry – I’m going to be stuck here for hours yet. Can we do another night instead?”
“Sorry, I can’t do Saturday – I’m going to be in the office all weekend.”
“Do you mind if I do a bit of work when I come over? I’ll just shut myself in the study and get on with it. It won’t take me very long.”
And the cracking:
“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make your birthday – I’ll be in the middle of exam revision.”
As women go, I’m not particularly high-maintenance. I don’t make outrageous demands; I’m not prone to throwing strops; and I’ve even been known to send boys to the pub to watch the football whilst I cook late Sunday lunch. But what I do ask is that someone has the time to see me. Which, ultimately, TN didn’t. It’s fair enough – if someone considers work and accountancy exam revision to be a better use of their time than getting laid, then that’s their lookout (although I won’t pretend I’m not just slightly offended by the notion).
But I do wish it didn’t mean that I’m faced with the unenviable prospect of telling The Mother that yet another dalliance has fallen by the wayside and that her eldest daughter is still unwed at the ripe old age of twentysomething. That I’ll have to face the sighs; the horrible sense not of anger, just disappointment; and her quite obvious fear that I might never find a nice man and Just Settle Down.
Maybe I’ll just not mention it.
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