After so many break-ups, and subsequent makings-up, it had to break down finally. Covent Garden marks the spot. You ran and Louise chased you along these white streets, past blocks of yellow, buildings of pink and spaces of green, a thief and a have-a-go-heroine after her stolen bag, in what was an expression of desperation to the two of you, but must have had the appearance of priceless melodrama to the friends with whom you had left the venue.
In your solitary confinement, looking down the barrel of the months, you think of how long she held you from isolation. She played a truer game than you and left you guilty of forgetting, not listening either to mood or word, always failing to communicate. Tied up in your own troubles, you scared her with your silence and were unaware of how little you voiced the emotional noise within. Your eyes became instruments of torture, reprimanding and manipulating, rarely loving, admiring. You crushed her not so simple heart with complications just as she was facing up to the complications of the world that wasn’t you.
You were as serious about the game as she, and as much in need of it, yet your wayward, erring heart in no way merited the gifts it received from her hands. Now you have gone, Louise will find she can live without you, and her eyes will dry. She will discover that though she may still want you, she does not need you, that indeed if she does need something, it is more than you ever offered. The passions that were subsumed under yours will rise. Only the odd, occasional tear will fall, onto the letters she will write to you. Along with the smell of her room on the paper, mixed intoxicatingly with ink, this salt water pierces you now with remorse, with a desire for reaffirmation that is as strong as it is ill-considered.
You detached yourself nervously but firmly. Before France, in need of a more immediate change, you moved from the house in Holloway to a tower block in Bow, as if by the stark contrast to help the both of you get used to the idea of the distance you would be putting between you. Alone on the fifteenth floor, you heard the wind whistling ceaselessly around the tower, even when the air at ground level was still. Pigeons colonised the central refuse shoot, leaving behind a thick crust of shit. Their cooing outdid the maddening effects of the wind. But when a friend offered you the flat, you had been seduced by the toy train set and trees beneath you, by the views across London in three directions, and by the ever-changing expanses of sky. To the north, scattered family groupings of high-rises; to the south, the chameleon colouring of the pyramidal roof of the tower at Canary Wharf; and beyond the silhouette of the City, clear or pollution-hazed sunsets.
The idea of your going to France was uncontested, welcomed even. She herself is leaving for another city, a new challenge, to be faced alone. She writes that she still sees you now, up ahead on the Holloway Road, your back to her, and her heart leaps for a moment before she realises, no.
It is more, you think, than you deserve.