I stumble in the front door, drenched to the skin from a long and glorious cycle through central London, fighting the downpour and dodging past Boris bikes, punk tunes blasting into my left ear. Exhausted and satisfied and aching all over: my cunt hurts from getting well and truly fucked. As I walk in, I’m accosted by my conscience, who is as steaming angry as I am post-fuck happy, with the words ‘you fucked your ex’ on its lips.
I used to yo-yo break up with my ex-ex. Number eight. The guy I met at university and loved for many years (whose dark dark eyes and devious filth you can read about in my first book if you’re interested). We had our problems, but we also had our passion. Long, tortured silences in the middle of arguments that would stretch on for what felt like hours, while each of us rummaged in our equally-wordy minds for the perfect phrase that would lift the blanket of sadness. But words can’t always do the work: sometimes, most times, the physical yearning would beat our mouths to the punch, and one of us would reach out to touch the other. That touch would set us both on fire, then we’d fuck like the fucking would fix it.
“I still read the blog sometimes,” my ex told me, then added in a quieter voice “you’ve been so kind.” I’m taken aback. I can’t quite work out what to say except ‘of course’, and then ‘you should probably stop reading soon.’ In that moment I think the greatest kindness I can do is warn him not to read tomorrow. I have no idea if this is appropriate, and later I’ll wonder if that was actually the worst thing I could do – like telling someone not to open a box, torturing their curiosity and making it inevitable that they’ll crack and look inside. This stuff is hard after a break-up. I have no idea what’s right. I have no idea what to say or where my words are or why my mouth is glue and sawdust. I still love him.
The first time my heart was broken – and I say this with a fairly solid definition of what heartbreak feels like for me, and how it’s different to a simple, everyday hurt – it felt like the world was going to end. There was too much emotion to hold inside my fragile body, and it stayed for so long that I couldn’t conceive of the possibility that one day it wouldn’t be there any more. This heartbreak – puny and pathetic now I come to think about it – was caused by the wandering, horny eye of an eighteen-year-old boy.
Back when I was dating, in the times Before Him, a mate used to sometimes ask the question: “is he a friend? Or a Good Friend?” Good friend – that’s how we discerned them. The boys I was fucking from the boys I was not. I’m gonna tell you now about one of my Good Friends.