Tuesday, June 30

Land of Couples

A WHILE AGO, AFTER breaking up, she had told me—‘O, maybe your thirtieth won’t be so bad,’ with this smile across her. We were sat in my living room – formerly our living room – and the May sun was coming in to pin shapes up on the wall. Maybe, I thought, she means we will be back together.
Some days are better than others. Today the thoughts were often overwhelming so that I cried. Only some days are like that, otherwise the world will distract. The capital is under a heat wave. It is beautiful out, glorious even, but hard to stomach for long periods of time. The evening sees the gathering of couples outside my window. Arriving home from work late I stand there and smoke, looking at the couples. My next-door neighbours are on the grass, too, lying down on a blanket. When she turns over from her back to her front, beside her lover, I see her thigh shake. On a bench there is a couple sharing a bottle of white wine. One cigarette they are sitting side by side; the next, she has her legs drawn up against him. They sit there and drink white wine. I do not care for white wine. I care for couples. They look so happy, talking, she gives him a kiss, he holds his wine glass aloft. They look very happy there.
Day and night I listen to love songs. I am terribly out of sorts. A sadness I have not known before wracks my innards. These days the consideration she is lying with another man does not maim as it did before – or maybe I am becoming comfortably numb to it. Time allows such things. This evening I experienced something that would have made her smile in the least, a real in-joke that we had shared, and never before had I had the chance to relay it. With incredible conflict, I was compelled to inform her for no other reason than it made me laugh and it would have made her laugh, too. Or maybe it wouldn’t; maybe she was hate-filled toward me. I would not tell her, so I sat back down.
A date on Saturday; a lovely girl who deserves better than me.
‘I’m sorry… I’m still hung up on my ex… Yes, it was an unhealthy relationship but she was my best friend… She broke up with me three months ago but not an hour goes by when I don’t think of her. She was my best friend. It is not good when you lose your best friend, the person you sleep next to every night, the person who created in you a love you had not known before… I realise I need to move on, yes, but all the logic I saved up is worth nothing if I struggle even to pretend to friends that I no longer care for her.’
She invited me out, so I said yes. A Saturday would be fine, and, no, I do not have any plans. Besides I would only most likely be wandering around the city. When I met her in the bar she was already quite drunk. She draped her long, nude legs across my lap and stroked my penis. She sat there talking to people with her fingers stroking my penis.
Still, I thought of someone else.
But, no, I lie: somehow it is getting worse rather than it getting better. Life is no good. In two months I will turn thirty. Still I think of someone else.

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