Sometimes I think if there were credit ratings for hearts then mine would be junk status: BAD INVESTMENT, the signs would say, PURCHASE NOT ADVISED. All the sensible consumers would keep a wide berth, tutting:
“Don’t touch that sweetie,” a mother would say, “it’s rotten.”
Eventually of course some loveable, gullible fool would find me and dump me in their basket with the tuna. Later, when they unwrapped me, they’d find the cuts and bruises purpling my heart like a banana.
Shit they’d think, tossing me in the trash. Should have read the signs.
I guess it was only a matter of time before the Thai and I had it out. When we first met I said I couldn’t date her because of feelings for ‘someone else’. She didn’t pry, just slipped me out of my dress and into her arms.
Since then we’ve been inching closer, but the ‘else’ wedged between us is growing. I can feel it, in restaurants or bars, a heavy shadow perched at our feet or watching silently from across the room.
She finally brings it up over cocktails, anxiously swirling the ice in her glass with a finger.
“It’s done,” I say firmly.
“Is it?” she asks with a worried look.
“Yes. I promise.”
She nods and gives my hand a squeeze. We drain our drinks and head out but I feel a deep sense of unease – I haven’t been completely honest with her tonight.
Over the next few weeks, the untruth lodged in my chest starts wriggling. It unfurls its wings, starts to beat, trembling and fluttering and pacing at the walls of my heart until eventually it’s ricocheting around in there like an angry pinball. It wants out.
At last, I can’t keep quiet any longer. I sit the Thai down and I tell her everything: that I actually live with the Friend; that she moved into my home and then my head; that I wanted to deal with it quietly, discreetly, but I can’t keep this big balloon of a lie inside me any longer; that my feelings have been all jumbled up like a bag of lego and I don’t know what I feel for whom anymore; that I like her, I do. I really do.
I sit there and spew the whole sorry truth into her lap like a sick puppy. She doesn’t say anything, just waits until I’ve coughed up the last few words and then says:
“I can’t believe this. That’s who you have feelings for? Your fucking housemate?”
“I’m so sorry,” I say sadly.
I try and take her hand but she pulls back, glaring.
“Get her out.”
“You have to get her out. I’ve been here before, longer than you have, and the only way you’ll get over this if she’s out of your life for good. Plus, I can’t trust you whilst she’s still living in your house.”
“Okay,” I say sadly. “I will. I’ll talk to her. I’m sorry.”
And then the loveable, gullible fool takes her crap banana home, and I can’t work out why I feel so damn miserable.