The last year had been a series of wrong turns, bad choices, abandoned projects. There was the all-girl band in which she had played bass, variously called Throat, Slaughterhouse Six and Bad Biscuit, which had been unable to decide on a name, let alone a musical direction. There was the alternative club night that no-one had gone to, the abandoned first novel, the abandoned second novel, several miserable summer jobs selling cashmere and tartan to tourists. At her very, very lowest ebb she had taken a course in Circus Skills until it transpired that she had none. Trapeze was not the solution.The much-advertised Second Summer of Love had been one of melancholy and lost momentum. Even her beloved Edinburgh had started to bore and depress her. Living in a her University town felt like staying on at a party that everyone else had left, and so in October she had given up the flat in Rankellior Street and moved back to her parents for a long, fraught, wet winter of recriminations and slammed doors and afternoon TV in a house that now seemed impossibly small.
She was talking too loud now, shouting almost, and a long silence followed. Why was she being like this? He was only trying to help. In what way did he benefit from this friendship? He should get up and walk away, that’s what he should do. They turned to look at each other at the same time.“Sorry,” he said.“No, I’m sorry.”“What are you sorry for?”“Rattling on like a….mad cow. I’m sorry, I’m tired, bad day, and I’m sorry for being…so boring.”“You’re not that boring.”“I am, Dex. God, I swear, I bore myself.”“Well you don’t bore me.” He took her hand in his. “You couldd never bore me. You’re one in a million, Em.”“I’m not even one in three.” He kicked her foot with his. “Em?”“What?”“Just take it, will you? Just shut up and take it.
What was it, she wondered, this need to brandish his shiny new metropolitan life at her? As soon as she'd met him at the arrivals gate on his return from Thailand, lithe and brown and shaven-headed, she knew that there was no chance of a relationship between them. Too much had happened to him, too little had happened to her. Even so this would be the third girlfriend, lover, whatever, that she had met in the last nine months, Dexter presenting them up to her like a dog with a fat pigeon in his mouth. Was it some kind of some sick revenge for something? Because she got a better degree than him? Didn't he know what this was doing to her, sat at table nine with their groins jammed in each other's faces?
Úgy éld minden napodat, mintha az volna az utolsó"- ezt szokták tanácsolni, de őszintén, kinek van erre energiája? Mi van, ha esik az eső, vagy ha az embernek kicsit nyomott a hangulata? Az egész valójában teljesen kivitelezhetetlen. Sokkal jobb, gondolta Emma, ha egyszerűen csak megpróbálsz jó, bátor és vakmerő lenni, és nyomot hagyni magad után a világban. Nem kell teljesen megváltoztatni a világot, csak azt a kicsit, ami körülötted van. Lépj ki a világba a szenvedélyeddel meg az elektromos írógépeddel és dolgozz nagy odaadással... valamin. Mondjuk változtasd meg az emberek életét a művészettel. Becsüld meg a barátaidat, maradj hű az elveidhez, élj szenvedélyesen, élj teljes és jó életet. Tapasztalj új dolgokat. Szeress és szeressenek viszont, ha lehetőséged van rá.
With failing bravado, Dexter tried to laugh. "You sound like you're dumping me!"She smiled sadly. "I suppose I am in a way. You're not who you used to be, Dex, I really, really liked the old one. I'd like him back, but in the meantime, I'm sorry, but I don't think you should phone me anymore." She turned and, a little unsteadily, began to walk off down the side alley in the direction of Leicester Square. For a moment, Dexter had a fleeting but perfectly clear memory of himself at his mother's funeral, curled up on the bathroom floor while Emma held onto him and stroked his hair.Yet somehow he had managed to treat this as nothing, to throw it all away for dross. He followed a little way behind her. "Come on, Em, we're still friends aren't we? I know I've been a little weird, it's just..." She stopped for a moment, but didn't turn round, and he knew that she was crying. "Emma?"Then very quickly she turned, walked up to him and pulled his face to hers, her cheek warm and wet against his, speaking quickly and quietly in his ear, and for one bright moment he thought he was to be forgiven."Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will." Her lips touched his cheek. "I just don't like you anymore. I'm sorry."And then she was gone, and he found himself on the street, standing alone in this back alley trying to imagine what he would possibly do next.
And sometimes I get carried away, that's all. If you weren't so...judgemental all the time-""Am I? I don't think I am . I try not to be. I just don't..." She stopped herself speaking, shook her head. "I know you've been through a lot, in the last few years, and I've tried to understand that, really I have, with your mum and all, but...""Go on," he said."I just don't think you're the person I used to know. You're not my friend anymore. That's all."He could think of nothing to say to this, so they stood in silence, until Emma put her hand out, took two fingers of his hand, squeezed them in her palm."Maybe...maybe this is it, then," she said. "Maybe it's just over.""Over? What's over?""Us. You and me. Friendship. There are things I needed to talk to you about, Dex. About Ian and me. If you're my friend I should be able to talk to you but I can't, and if I can't talk to you, well, what is the point of you? Of us?""'What's the point?'""You said yourself, people change, no use getting sentimental about it. Move on, find someone else.""Yeah, but I didn't mean us...""Why not?""Because we're....us. We're Dex and Em. Aren't we?"Emma shrugged. "Maybe we've grown out of each other."He said nothing for a moment, then spoke. "So, do you think I've grown out of you, or you've grown out of me?"She wiped her nose with the back of her hand. "I think you think I'm....dreary. I think you think I cramp your style. I think you've lost interest in me.""Em I do not think you're dreary.""And neither do I! Neither do I! I think I'm fucking marvellous if you only knew it, and I think you used to think so too! But if you don't or if you're going to just take it for granted, then that's fine. I'm just not prepared to be treated like this anymore.""Treated like what?"She sighed, and it was a moment before she spoke."Like you always want to be somewhere else, with someone else."He would have denied this, but the Cigarette Girl was waiting in the restaurant at that very moment, the number of his mobile phone tucked into her garter. Later he would wonder if there was something else he might have said to save the situation, a joke perhaps. But nothing occurred to him and Emma let go of his hand.