“Is he worth it?”
These are the words that haven’t stopped ringing in my ears for the last three weeks. My mum, my friends, my subconscious – they’ve all been asking me the same thing. Tonight, I decided the answer had to be no.
After a series of small inconveniences this morning, I had a full throttled tantrum. Tears tumbling, fists flailing, yelling, swearing. What had pushed me over the edge? My M&S meal-for-one Spinach and Ricotta bake, the very comfort food I had purchased for lunch to give me some joy after a less than easy morning, had tipped as I lifted it out of the oven. My one solace had flopped in front of my eyes, now a deconstructed coagulation of green and cream on the floor. For a second I was silent as I just looked at it, a live action metaphor of my life of late: a glimmer of hope quickly turning into a mushy splat of disappointment.
I let out the most guttural roar my body would allow, before falling to my knees and scooping the bake back into the tray, grabbing at it with my bare hands.
“Would you like a spoon sweetie?” My mum half-whispered, tip-toeing over to me .
“What for? To eat it off the floor? I’m not a savage thank you mum,” I snapped, snatching another fistful of the bake from the marble tile.
All my emotions drained after the outburst, I spent the afternoon horizontal on the sofa watching episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. Around 6pm my FitBit bleeped to remind me I was a mere 8,000 steps from my daily goal and if I had any hope of meeting it today then I needed to get off my lazy arse and put on my trainers.
Not even that walk went smoothly – I had thought a seaside stroll would be a calming catharsis and for the first ten minutes this did indeed prove true. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of not one, but two dolphins playfully breaching in the bay against the backdrop of a peach cloudless sky illuminated by the sun setting into the Irish Sea. For those short, idyllic minutes I felt at peace for the first time in nearly a month. My nerves were calmed, my underlying fury subsided. I was content.
Until, that was, a seagull took my face as a target and excreted his digested lunch down my forehead. Passers-by screeched in terror as I scuttled up in the promenade in search of some tissues, the excrement dripping down into my eyes as I ran. Lurching into the ice cream shop, my vision severely impaired by now, I pushed queueing holiday-makers out of the way until I reached the servery where a kind teenager in pastel blue uniform abandoned the Rum & Raisin to proffer a handful of useless tissues. Defeated and somewhat cleaned up, I returned to my car and had a good cry.
While this string of inconveniences made for a dreadful day, ordinarily I as a proud glass-half-full kind of woman would have seen the funny side and laughed it all off, but for nearly a month I’ve been highly-strung, irritable and, by all accounts, a nightmare to be around. Why? A boy.
Although he and I have known each other on acquaintance terms for ten years, we’ve come to know each other better over the last month, starting with a wonderful date over the course of a Sunday afternoon. We agreed to see where things go, but that we weren’t going to date anybody else. A great start, or so I thought.
Dates were cancelled by him ten minutes before we were due to meet not once, not twice, not even thrice, but four times in the space of one week. And for no better reason than ‘one of the lads’ had asked if he wanted to play darts, watch football or simply just go down the pub. Four times in one week I cancelled plans in order to see him, coordinated an outfit, wasted makeup (girls I know you feel the pain of wasting makeup that’s never seen) only for him to leave me waiting at my house, in my car or at the bar. The despondency and the humiliation were crushing, worsening each time he let me down. While an underlying fury rumbled in my veins, I forgave him every time purely because I wanted to see him. My burgeoning feelings for him continued to flourish, despite his evident lack of respect for me or my time.
Retaining a vestige of self-respect, I told him unequivocally that I wouldn’t be wasting any more time on him if the flakiness were to continue, his response to which was to be undeniably charming and chivalrous to such a degree even George Clooney would have taken note. This lasted for a blissful six days, after which we returned to the cat and mouse game of “let’s pretend we’re looking forward to doing something until one of the lads calls and I drop you like a ton of bricks to go and get trollied on a Tuesday night”. What infuriated me even further was the deluge of Snapchats I would then receive that evening, after I had been stood up and he was five pints deep, telling me he missed me and that he wished I was there…the irony writes itself.
The events of this Saturday night were the apogee of our baleful but mercifully fleeting ‘relationship’… We had discussed grabbing a bite to eat on Saturday night, but come Saturday afternoon he messaged me to tell me he was going out-out because ‘one of the lads’ was home for the weekend. At least he’d had the decency to give me four hours’ notice of his cancellation instead of the standard ten minutes, I told myself. 2am, my ringtone wakes me with a startle. I groggily answer the phone, still half asleep and unsure what day it is, who I am and why this boy is calling me to ask for a lift home from town. Regaining consciousness, I pull on some jeans, fish for my car keys and make my way wearily into town to meet him where he instructed.
How long did I wait for him to meet me at the pick up point, you might ask? Was it ten minutes? Was it twenty minutes? No, it was forty five enraging, cold, fury-filled minutes that he knowingly left me sat in my car, saw my Whats’apps and yet continued to sink Jaeger Bombs with his mates. I even resorted to the checking his movements on the Snapchat map where I saw him leave one bar and go to another, purposefully going the long way around so as to avoid me where he knew I was parked. When he eventually decided to deign me with his presence, our exchange of words was rather fraught.
I explained that he had requested that I come to meet him and that I had actually got out of bed, squeezed myself into some jeans in the middle of the bloody night – which I don’t much enjoy doing even in the daytime – only to be sat in the dark while he continued the sesh. I was met with mere insouciance and drunken irreverence, so I dropped him at home and told him not to call me in the morning.
Of course he did call me in the morning, and of course I did answer. A reluctant apology was given and I yielded. But in the three days since, my mood has been morose at best and explosive at worst. Is he worth all of this disappointment, this anger, this melancholy? The answer is a resounding no. Only a month into our dating, he’s enervated me and stripped me of any sense of humour I had prior to this shambolic romance. And so, in the words of the great Deborah Meaden: for that reason I’m out.