Have you decided if you never ever want to see me again? Or shall we still celebrate the end of year as a leaving dinner?
Several days had passed since their last conversation – the one where in a fit of disappointment and anger she had told him how bitterly she felt at being let down and that she never wanted to see him again. He had not argued with her and she believed that that was truly the end. She was so practised at distracting herself from a broken heart – sending off three SOS’s to her current lovers – Jan, Liam and Ramon – who rallied round and comforted her, that she believed herself capable of breaking off contact from Goran, at least for the next six months. Six months was the length of time it took to get over an infatuation she knew – having practised this with several exes – of whom Ramon and a few others had numbered amongst.
The following day she had left London and was spending the weekend in Copenhagen. Following the footsteps of fictional Nordic detectives she had also been able to keep sufficiently busy not to feel overly miserable.
When she received the message from Goran his question made her realise how childishly she had reacted – never ever. She had pondered half a day on his questions when another message arrived from him:
It’s just that I bought you this gift, and I’d really like to give it to you.
It was churlish not to respond. So she wrote back – That’s very kind of you to still offer. I thought we should have a break from seeing each other. Let’s have radio silence for a few months. He had replied indicating his surprise at the prescribed length of time, but again, did not argue with her.
The following day, after a tiring traipse around Malmö she had repaired to a brasserie for lunch and several glasses of red wine. By the end of the meal of tuna nicoise she had drunk the best part of four glasses – large glasses at that. Her thoughts had naturally turned to Goran – he occupied them every conscious second she realised, and sent him a message –
Hey. I have recovered from being let down – let’s have a goodbye thingy – 21st any good for you? And I’ll try and explain why I need radio silence for a while
And just like that, it was almost as though the previous week had not occurred in that they continued to message each other with the same frequency as before, sharing their daily routine with each other with the same previous banality, but with one subtle difference. She reined in the number of emojis she had been wont to pepper her messages and did not send as many kisses as she did before. She wondered if he might have noticed. He did not seem to although when she asked him what kind of leaving celebration he had had in mind he had said that he had booked the restaurant and the rest was up to her. He assured her that he would not let her down again.
The day she was to return to London he had wished her a safe journey and asked again whether they were going to kiss and say goodbye at the end of their meal together. She told him that she thought perhaps they should have an honest discussion about what they each wanted from the relationship. He could only apologise again for letting her down before and reiterating his appreciation for this second chance. As a parting shot she asked him if he would still go home with her if she wanted him to. He responded immediately and warmly his assent. He continued to say that that had been occupying his thoughts the entire morning. As it was only half past seven she had teased him about it – you mean all of ten minutes. He had protested that he had been awake for quite a while before messaging her.
By the time they met they had already arranged that he would spend the night with her and the long, honest discussion about their expectations were condensed into a promise from him not to disappoint her in future, his desire to continue having her as a friend and she knew that she would not expect anymore from him than the occasional date – perhaps once in ten days or so. They might continue to chat as often as they liked but he belonged in a family of which she was not a part.
It wasn’t possible to end a relationship purely by decree. There were feelings on both sides and the longer a relationship had been going, the more difficult it was to stop it. Even if they were separated by geographical distance, they could still keep in touch and arrange to see each other – perhaps with less frequency as before but the relationship would still continue. She realised that whatever might happen over the next year she still enjoyed Goran’s company and looked forward each day to his messages. And his body of course.