‘Do you want me to go?’ he asks, his voice little more than whisper.
‘No’. I reply. God! That would be terrible. It’s bad enough dealing with it with him still here, but at least I’m managing to hold it all together. If he leaves me now, he’ll take away the biggest part of me and I’ll have to go through the seven stages of bereavement all by myself and I really don’t fancy that. Not yet. Not tonight.
We go back to the table and I make some semblance of eating the very-tasty-in-any-other-circumstances stuffed peppers.
‘Very good!’ he mumbles, chewing loudly and nodding approvingly between mouthfuls.
‘I’d like to smash your face in!’ I growl and he looks surprised at my sudden aggression.
He then embarks on some long-winded story about how when he was sixteen, his divorced parents got back together to support him at a football match and he scored his best ever goal with both of them watching.
It all comes out like white noise to me and I don’t give a flying fuck about him and his fucking parents and his fucking football. The reality of what has just happened is starting to hit me, swishing around in my head like thick slurry in a cesspit and I know as sure as eggs is eggs that a deep depression will descend on me very soon.
I exit the kitchen again leaving him to clear up. I actually do not want to be in his company any longer. I consider hurling myself onto my bed and doing a big, sobbing, drama queen number but it’s not really my style and would serve very little useful purpose. I hover about in the hallway, chewing my thumb, then go and sit down on the sofa and soon he comes in and sits beside me. I move away.
‘Look, I’ll go shall I?’ he offers.
‘Do you want to go?’ I ask menacingly.
‘No I don’t…but…’
‘I don’t want you to go. But please try and understand the way I’m feeling. I’m trying to deal with what you’ve just told me and I’m experiencing all sorts of different emotions. I’m not going to try and sublimate them by acting normally to make you feel better. I’m just letting them run through me at their own pace until they find their own level. It all feels a bit scrambled just now… if that makes any sense to you at all…’
He doesn’t say anything. We stay silently one on each end of the sofa, and I think what a waste it is to have him here for the last time, and not be close to him. I get up and go into the kitchen for some water. His trainers are lined up neatly against the skirting board and I pick them up and hide them in the broom cupboard. That’s bound to stop him leaving, isn’t it? No shoes? Oh I’d better stay with her forever then…