That night, I slept soundly. Waking up to an icy morning. It seemed to appropriately reflect the atmosphere between us that morning. I knew something was coming; I just didn’t want to face up to what I knew it might be… I left with barely a cuddle and I tried to de-ice my car before setting off for school with a heavy heart. The traffic out of Worle was worse than I had anticipated and I was nearly late for school. I took a detour through Puxton, making it in surprisingly good time…
That week, I didn’t care much to talk to Matt. I was ready for the worst and treated everything with a bitter twist when it came to him. I turned cold and business-like. It was kind of a defence mechanism and I think it threw Liv a little bit when he called me in the car on the way back from Pizza hut that Friday. We’d barely spoken all week and I didn’t particularly want to talk to him now. As I was driving, Liv took the call. He said he wasn’t feeling too great and maybe we shouldn’t meet up tonight, but he was still on for the family dinner party at mine tomorrow night. I was short and abrupt, trying desperately hard not to get overly emotional. We arrived back in school a little late for Gospel Choir, but I grinned and bore it all the same.
Saturday morning came and I sent him a text before I left for Euphoria.
>We need to talk… Call me after Euphoria?
There was nothing. Nothing until I looked at my phone again two and a half hours later with a message from Matt.
>You’re right, we do need to talk. I think it’d be best if we took a break for a bit and focussed on our friendship…
>What do you want to do about tonight?
I asked. It was like someone had torn my heart out – again – and was eating it in front of me…
>I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Great. I was really hoping he would say he’d skip it and we’ll talk later. I couldn’t handle this. I got home and ran up to my room, locking myself in there for some hours. Eventually, I got out my laptop and began to write… Write about it all. The good things. The way he had made me feel. How special I had felt when I was withhim.No one else had ever cared for me the way he did, and right then, I wasn’t sure anyone ever would. As I wrote, I thought to myself, didn’t he remember any of this? Was it just me who had felt like this? Then the doubt came. Had I not kept up with what he was used to? Was I just a kid after all? Had he just grinned and bore the whole of the last three months? I couldn’t do it. I shut the laptop, put on my coat and went for a walk.
I love to walk when I’m stressed or upset. Just leave the house and get away. It’s one of the reasons why I love living where I do. I walked and walked and walked. Retracing the steps we had taken on our very first date. I ended up walking across the warren and then further into the Mendips. Out through Burrington and across the village, over the A38 and down through Wrington before coming back across Farmer Nicks Farm and through the Vet School. I was gone six and a half hours. I tried to leave it so long that he would already be there when I got home, so I wouldn’t have to look. I couldn’t look. I hadonly just taught myselfto trust this man and he’d gone and thrown it straight back in my face. It felt he’d taken like everything he had learned about me over the last three months and used it against me. But I knew he wasn’t that malicious. Deep down, I knew that. But right now, I couldn’t look at him. Eventually, he arrived. I was on the verge of texting him telling him not to bother coming. I didn’t really want him here. But then what would I say? Nobody knew what had happened yet. Nobody had said anything. I just couldn’t.
When the doorbell rang, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I didn’t look around and used the excuse that I was making coffee so that I didn’t have to answer the door. He came in and greeted everybody as though everything was perfectly normal. And for thatslightest moment, I hated him. In that instant, I wanted him to get out of my life and never see me again. I couldn’t take it. I hurried out of the kitchen and holed myself back up in my room, making a point of shutting the door behind me. Earlier, I had found a song called ‘Get Out of My Life’ which I quite liked and played deliberately. I knew he would follow me up the stairs and, sure enough, a few minutes later, there was a cautious knock at my door.
“Can I come in?” he asked. I didn’t reply, but he came in anyway and sat on the end of my bed. I just looked at him. He knew what I was thinking. I wasn’t going to cry. There wasn’t any point. I just couldn’t believe this had actually happened. It’s so true what they say. Everything you love is held by the thinnest of thread.
We just sat opposite each other for a while and just stared. I just couldn’t work it out. Why was he here?
“What are you feeling?” he asked eventually.
I couldn’t summarise it. There were no words. I used an analogy. I was good at these.
“This leg, wants you to leave and never, ever come back. This leg, wants you to leave me alone for a while and then come back and see where we stand. This arm wants to scream and cry and hurl abuse at you. And this arm wants to hold you close and never let go. This side of my body,” I said, pointing to my heart, “Still loves you, and wants things to be back the way they were a month ago. And this side just doesn’t know what it wants… And my head wants to kiss you.”
“Well, I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” he smiled, but I didn’t find it funny… “And I’m pretty much the same…” he told me how he felt and I just didn’t get it.
Somehow, I unattached myself from my legs and ended up in his arms once again, for one last time. The rest of the evening was just awkward. He talked with Issy in the study for a while as we listened to the RENT soundtrack, which only a couple of weeks ago, we had been belting out at the top of our voices in the car on the way home… It had been one of our plans to learn either ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ or ‘Without You’ as a duet to sing… One of our plans which we had never got around to…
It was weird that we played footsie watching Bride Wars with everybody else in the living room. I just couldn’t in the end and moved onto the floor. Before long, having eaten and tried to be sociable, while I was being torn up inside, Matt announced he was leaving. In all honesty, I was relieved. I couldn’t handle this anymore. He spoke to me by the front door before he left, then tried to lean in for a kiss goodbye. I leant away.
“No no. No no no. No kissing.”
“Sorry,” he said, clearly feeling a little rejected, “… See you…”
“Bye,” I said and shut the door without looking back…