“You know what really hurts?” I ask my friend Martha. I am drinking red wine so fast I might as well be syringing it into my anus.
“Go on,” she says warily.
“Like, about splitting up with someone. Well, I mean, someone splitting up with you. What really hurts. Well, I mean, everything really hurts. That first night, my heart ached so much, I thought I was actually having a heart attack, it was like I had this gnawing aching hole where my heart was meant to be. But it might’ve been heartburn. But what also really hurts is everyone going: ‘Oh, he doesn’t deserve you. You’re too good for him. I never liked to say, but actually, he was out of his league with you.’ Coz, you know, if that’s true, you were too good for him, and he’s still fucking dumping you, then you must be a really shit person. I mean, basically, you must be a total cunt of a person. I must be a total cunt of a person. Am I a total cunt of a person, Martha?”
“No,” says Martha quietly. “I thought you were a great couple. I thought you were really good together. I really did.”
“I mean, I guess they have to say that,” I say, thoughtfully. “Imagine if everyone said: ‘Yeah, actually, he did get a First at uni and you only got a 2.1 and plus he has a Masters and he earns a lot, doesn’t he? Whereas you’re just a shouty Essex girl with a blog. I’m not surprised he wants out, to be honest.’ Well, then, you’d just shoot yourself, wouldn’t you? If you could get hold of a gun. I don’t know how hard it would be. There’s that weapon shop on Karl-Marx-Straße. I don’t know how you go about getting one. I mean, maybe you could just go there at night and steal one. Or you could drown yourself in the bath. It must be quite easy to drown yourself in the bath, don’t you think? Or I suppose you could always go down a Sylvia Plath route. That’s another option which is always open to you.”
Martha looks at me gravely.
“I think it’s really important you don’t blog about this, Jacinta,” she says gently.
“Yeah, I know,” I say.
“You need to protect yourself,” she says.
“Yes,” I say.
“It’s very important that you protect yourself during this difficult time,” she says.
“I know,” I say. I hear myself in my head, I sound like Sybil Fawlty. No wonder he wants to leave me, I think. “Also,” I add, “he might change his mind, don’t you think? Like, he might just really miss me – maybe he’ll dream about me and stuff – and then he’ll be like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill or someone – and he’ll just really, really, really want me back and then he’ll come back to Germany with, like, an engagement ring and, like, tickets for Disneyland – or maybe Center Parcs – and then he’ll whisper desperately: ‘I just couldn’t live without you!’ and that will be, like, totally wonderful and excellent. But if I blog about it, I’ll just be nailing the nail into the coffin of our relationship, kind of like Agatha Christie when she ran off to that Hydro, you know when she went missing? She was trying to win him back, Archie Christie, but really she just drove him away, because she just, like, seemed kind of unstable and stalkerish and he didn’t find her very attractive after that, did he? So I’d really better not blog about this.”
“Jacinta,” says Martha sternly, “he won’t change his mind. Men never change their minds.”
“Oh,” I say. I sit and think for a few seconds, and then I say: “Well, I might as well get a blog out of it then, mightn’t I? Also, like, you know: what else am I gonna write about? You know? What else can I ever write? Blogging a normal blog after this has happened would be a bit like, like, like… writing a poem after Auschwitz. And when I make that comment, I don’t mean, in any way, to belittle the Holocaust whatsoever, by the way. I just think it would.”
“I know, Jacinta,” says Martha. “I know.”