This is what you didn’t want. You approached it jokily with some nervous laughter, and just enough of a cautious tone to let me know that you’d really rather I didn’t ever do this. “Just never write about me in your column, okay?” I remember you saying. You didn’t want me to ever write about us.
And I didn’t want this, either. I never wanted you go from being a boy I was growing rather fond of to eight hundred words of column material – of course I didn’t. But let’s talk about why you’ve ended up being exactly that.
Let’s talk about our first meeting, when my cheeks ached with laughter from spending six hours together, only parting because the bar was about to close – we really had talked and laughed the night away in a way I’d never done on a first date. Let’s talk about our clasped hands over the table as I confided in you the parts of my life I wouldn’t reveal to many; and all those texts, the gleeful ignorance of whatever we were meant to be doing at the time just for those texts to one another. Let’s talk about all the times I’d be sitting with my friends who watched me, amused and puzzled, as I giggled down at my phone, over and over. Let’s talk about walking through the West End as you told me I was now your excuse to visit this neck of the words more often. Let’s talk about the intoxicated conversations, when I knew you couldn’t lie, because that’s just not what people do when they drown their filter with beer and Jägermeister; “I like you, Flo…I really do.”
Is that so?
I have to confess, it really didn’t seem that way when you left my bedroom door and it was the last I ever heard from you. I floated into work that day, you know, and I kept floating for several days afterwards. Floating in that silly way girls tend to do when they’re happily nauseous with butterflies and elatedly dizzy with thoughts of what wonderful things could be about to brighten up their lives. But I quickly dropped hard back onto my feet when the texts stopped. No longer were the most futile details of our day shared, the snapshots and videos of our lives exchanged, the endless glances and smiles at my phone screen witnessed by my friends. Our contact went from constant to non-existent in a matter of hours.
Let’s now talk about what happened next. I tried to stay cool in my wait for you to text, but my patience crumpled eventually – what had happened?
I sought advice from my older, wiser friends, who assured me you were probably just “busy” and reminded me time and time again that I am a worrier by nature, and now that my feelings were intertwined with this whole situation, my worrying capacities were simply driven into an overload. But then another week passed, and those capacities were reaching all new heights of paranoia, with my constant inner monologue becoming fretful and self-loathing; “god, what have I done? It’s me, isn’t it? I did something. I’m so stupid I’m so stupid I’m so stupid” I thought that maybe I was too forward. Maybe I wasn’t forward enough. Maybe I wasn’t that attractive in the cold light of day. Maybe it turned out that I wasn’t worth the effort anymore.
That’s an interesting word for me to bring up. Because when I finally confronted you about why I appeared to have become this guilty afterthought, as opposed to a girl you claimed to like, you openly admitted your lack of effort. “I know I do this,” you wrote back to me. “I put in loads of effort for the first few weeks and then I just lose interest eventually, it’s a very bad habit, it’s fucking classic me.”
You know that you do this? You’re totally aware that you had put that warm glow back in the pit of my stomach, and were all set to put it out at your disposal? As I admitted to you that you had torn down the guard I’d put up after a terrible past relationship, you quietly knew that you’d “lose interest eventually”? You watched as my cheeks constantly flushed with joy and laughter, when I was becoming more besotted with you with every meeting, but you acknowledged that your “bad habit” would soon come back to slap me in the face?
That wasn’t a wise move of you, really. It certainly was a slap in the face, but now I’m fine with it, since I’ve done exactly what you didn’t want. I’ve made my experience of you just eight hundred words of column material. Fucking classic me, right?
With high hopes that none of your future girlfriends will ever read this letter,