We speak in code. We generalise, but we are talking about ourselves. Men means ‘our men’. People means ‘me in particular’. Our wishes for our future and the way we see our lives now are encoded in the latest book that seemed so true, or our new theory on love. That is how we talk.
“All relationships have problems that can’t be solved,” you say. “You just need to find a way of living with them.”
“I think people are always searching for grace,” I say.
We sip our peppermint tea, which makes you feel so healthy, our cranberry juice to ward off cystitis.
In the coffee bar where you spent every afternoon of your youth – or was it beside that fruit stall selling nothing but lychees? – the curtain is rent and your eyes wide with fear tell me about you and him. I have seen you speechless with love and helpless with misery. I put an awkward arm through yours. I have theories, lots of theories. But they are really about me.
I want to write your life in curves and flourishes and give it a happy ending. Instead, I buy you a chocolate croissant and we hope for the best.