“When did you last hear from him?” my German friend asks me.
“Oh, not for ages,” I say. “I sent him a text message a few days ago.”
“What did it say?”
I look a bit embarrassed. I have the dignity, at least, to look a bit embarrassed.
“Oh,” I say. “It kind of said: ‘I can’t live without you.'”
My German friend laughs quietly at that.
“Very original,” he says.
“Well, you know what happened? I was teaching that reported speech type thingie, well, you know, expressing surprise, and I had a moment of True Genius – like, I had a girl called Stupid Stephanie, I drew her on the board, right, and she was a real dumb bitch, she thought Paris was the capital of Germany and stuff. And her boyfriend was really tactful, right? He was called Diplomatic Dave. So then Stupid Stephanie was, all, like: ‘Paris is the capital of Germany!’ But Diplomatic Dave, instead of going: ‘You stupid bitch, you got shit for brains, Paris is the capital of France!’, he was all like: ‘But I thought Paris was the capital of France?’ He was being really diplomatic and that. And I just suddenly realized, halfway through the lesson, that it was, like, a hugely successful English lesson. Maybe one of the most successful English lessons of all time, ever. And then I remembered that Peter wasn’t my boyfriend anymore and I held the pen really hard in my hand and banged my head against the whiteboard and started crying. It wasn’t, like, incredibly professional of me.”
“No,” he says.
“So then I went and wrote him a text message: ‘I can’t live without you.’ And he didn’t reply. He hasn’t replied.”
“I think you need a new hobby, Jacinta,” says my friend.
“I was thinking that,” I say. “Maybe I should become a gourmet chef? Or you know, a gourmet-hobby-cook. I could prepare seven-course meals every night. With fresh ingredients and stuff. Bärlauch, for example. I could even start a supper club. Would you come to my supper club?”
“Yeah,” he says.
“Or I could join the Pirate Party.”
“I thought you were already a member of Die Linke party?”
“You’re not allowed to join two?” I ask.
“Well, I think you’re allowed, it’s just a bit pointless.”
“Or Scientology. I could become a Scientologist.”
“Or a Muslim.”
“Or I could organize a Slutwalk. They’re not organizing one this year. I could organize one. How hard can it be? I am on Twitter.”
“Yeah, you just need to do something to take your mind off things.”
“Or, I was thinking, I could just kill myself a little bit – like, try to kill myself, but not succeed, you know? And then he would visit me in hospital – I’m sure he would visit me in hospital, he came to see me when I had my tonsils out – and then he would feel really guilty and plus realize he loves me and we could get back together.”
“You’re not the first person who’s ever had this idea,” says my friend.
“The thing is, though, I don’t really think I do want to get back together anymore. I’ve kind of got used to smoking in the kitchen now.”
“Smoking in the kitchen is awesome,” says my friend.
“And what if I actually killed myself a bit too well and instead of ending up in the hospital I actually ended up dead? I would hate that. I’m going to Rostock for three days in June. And in July I’m gonna be the Monatsgast at Reformbühne Heim & Welt. And one day I might write a book that will end up being a bestseller. It would be awful to die before that happened.”
“Yes,” he says.
“So, you know, I think I’ll just do the new hobby plan.”
“What you really need is a bit of sex and Spargel,” he says. “A nice Spargel-based dinner and then a quick fuck. Nobody ever felt suicidal when they’d just had a bit of sex and Spargel.”
“You Germans and your Spargel,” I say. “Honestly. You think it’s the answer for everything.”