When they asked B who would be looking after her at this difficult time, she was surprised. She would be looking after herself. Then she thought, it will be horrible, but who? Then, on brief acquaintance, she asked me.
I was pleased. I am unemployed, and it would occupy my time; and it would be useful. I take pleasure in feeling useful. Also, it would be an opportunity to get to know B better. I have growing respect for her. In fact there is no person for whom I have had such fluctuating regard, from near contempt at first to admiration, then both over again.
I could have got the train, and it was quite a bit out of B’s way to drive me home, but her offer was perhaps a quid pro quo for the support I would be giving, and I was tired and grateful. Surprisingly, she has no satnav, and without really looking at the map she set off. We would head for the M 101. “That exit only goes the wrong way for us,” I said. She said that she just drove, and she was sure she would get there.
She got this car in 2010, and it has very little acceleration. I saw that she was changing up gear far earlier than I would have done. I have not told a driver what gear to use before, I have been content to let them drive- but not with B. I suggested that she could use third gear to pull away a bit. “Oh, I don’t think of numbers, I think of the position.” Er, push it forward. No! Not Fifth!
Off down the M 101 the wrong way. Well, at the end there must be a place to turn round. This was more difficult than I supposed: we were off down the dual carriageway in one direction, then back to get to the 101. We missed the 101 the first time, as she could not get into the correct lane, and doubled back twice more.
-My house is quite untidy. You won’t mind that, will you? She explains that there are lots of papers about, which she does not want tidied up as she knows where they all are.
I had hoped not to tell B of that, as I should be over it, and I would rather talk of other things, but I started to cry. And I told B all about it. Bloody hormones.
Next day B phoned to say that she had found a way of making her coming trouble far less stressful, and she would not need me. Though I assured her that I would let her make her own decisions and not try to manage her; and that I would be supportive, rather than bringing up my own stuff, she would be OK without me. She also felt the need to tell me that she was not lesbian, and she did not want us to get together. Well. I do want friends, but did not think of her in that way.
Mmm. What can one say? “I’m not lesbian”, they say, “and I do not want to get together with you.” “I don’t fancy you either” is harsher than I want to be. Possibilities:
“Can you be friendly with a man, and not fancy him? I can be the same with a woman.”
“I see you are an attractive woman, and- I don’t think of you in that way.”
Or, perhaps: “Hard luck- having sex with heavy, sweaty men rather than sensuous, fragrant women…”