It was a tad awkward holidaying with Julius when I had to tell him that I didn’t want to be his lover anymore. Fortunately there was a lot to see and sites to visit to distract us, I reasoned. I had also packed a book, a pair of headphones, downloaded several audiobooks and kindle editions for those long journeys on a plane or bus. Whilst I was straining to be as far away from him as possible, he had been under the impression that we could continue being affectionate with each other. So at the end of the first day I was blindsided by his recriminations at being ignored.
By the end of the third evening, I tried to devise a method of avoiding these pre-bedtime conversations that went by the same tune – poor me, nasty you, poor, poor me – at one point I wondered aloud why he would continue to want the friendship of someone so clearly undeserving of amity. I knew that I was behaving unreasonably – but the more he harangued me and the more he tried to insist on being kissed and held, the colder I felt. I tried to go to bed a few hours after him but he would still be awake, wanting to rehash the day and the failing relationship.
On the last full day of our holiday, we had accidentally got separated on the way to visit the National Library. He had been importuned by a street peddler outside the Caravaggio cathedral whilst I had carried on, thinking he was bound to catch up with me later. As it was the exhibition was small and I went around the dusty, silent reading room on my own. There were architectural plans for the rejuvenation of the city on display besides ancient volumes with illustrations, in glass cabinets, beneath signs stating the amount of money required for restoration, for example there was a volume of Torah whose pages were defaced by a wormwood trail, the other four volumes languishing behind it in an unpromising pile. Having seen all I wanted to see, I descended the stairs and exited the building onto a square where I sat on a bench next to Queen Victoria to wait for J. He eventually arrived, hot with perspiration and of course I was blamed for abandoning him and for his sweaty and fruitless search. Luckily, a wedding couple with their attendant photographers arrived behind him and he couldn’t be aggrieved for too long at the sight of the antics of this party.
I gave him a final hug goodbye when we parted at the airport – I to catch my coach and he his train. There were signs during the holiday of why I realised we were unsuited to each other and if there’s a lesson to be learnt here, it is that one should not be in a hurry to make long term plans, holidays or dates too early in a relationship.