Ex: as in expel, exfoliate, to be
rid of, cut off, expunge, delete deny, ....
when she opens the door Ill rush in, kill them both
was always a sucker for a good letter, the more it said
I need you, Im going through so much, please
come... the more convinced I was she still loved me.
Men are stupid. You hear women say it all the time and it
would always be living where I was not. If I went to study
in London, shed go to Paris. Although I still considered
myself the boyfriend, she did not. She may or
may not have mentioned this to me. I realise now that I
was living in denial. In addition to being stupid, men also
live in denial.
every two to three weeks shed get depressed and send
me a letter, a tearstained letter, or the soft alluring
I need you phone call that would always cut
off because neither one of us could afford the incredible
phone charges back then. Stupidly I would catch the very
next train to Dover and be in Paris within 24 hours.
course, she would have forgotten the letter, or the phone
call and therefore Id be an irritation for the next
three days - which was about the limit of our endurance.
Sometimes there would be sex, but always as some second
prize Im doing you a favour reward for
making the effort. Sometimes there would be horrid silences
and unspoken I hate you sessions. But usually
by the time I was ready to leave, shed be thinking
about the next few weeks of being on her own and usually,
in the last hour of the last day, shed be REALLY nice
and affectionate and make me promise to come next week and
shed never behave like this again. The tears would
seem genuine and she knew to say the right things to hint
that she still loved me and... the stupid egotistical bloke
that I was, would forgive her and leave with that warm glow
of someone who is loved from afar by a woman who cares.
went on for at least a year. I was not yet 'the ex'. An
ex can say no, a man on a string will pretty much always
say yes, even if he doesnt feel like it.
it was spring, I think. I came home from film school and
there was the letter. The tearstained letter with kisses
on it and squiggles to make it look cute - did I mention
she was an childrens book illustrator? I made the
mistake of opening it.
Desperate, need you, bring money, urgent you come
and see me...XXX
a knight in shining armour never got such a cunning and
pathetic plea for help. What knight could resist? This knight
should have burned it, but that male ego just got up on
its hind legs, packed a bag and legged it to Victoria. (The
trains used to go to France from Victoria).
when I was on the train going to Newhaven did I realise
that she was not in Paris, but some place I had never heard
of in the South of France. This was a new development. I
realised that I should have flown. Too late now. Id
bought a special rail ticket, ten day return. Now Id
also have to find the money for a train ticket from Paris
to Avignon, then a bus to this other place. It took about
twenty-six hours. This was before the great new European
TGVs were working you understand and sleeping was tough
as people used to steal your belongings if you closed your
arrived in Avignon, found my way to the bus and slept for
the next two hours. We stopped at a small town where I was
woken by the driver and turfed out blinking in bright sunlight.
was where she lived?
had a phone number. I called, there was no answer. As I
drank a welcome café grande creme, the locals pointed out
that my actual destination was ten kilometres away, up steep
hills, in the remotest part of their region. A farmer took
me halfway. Now I had to walk the rest and it was the steepest
part of the journey. In London it had been cold. I wore
my very fashionable (I jest) sheepskin jacket and carried
a heavy overnight case. By ten am it was close to ninety
degrees. I discarded most of what I owned and after about
three miles of sweating and swearing I was desperate for
a coca-cola. I stashed the coat and the bag in a hedge and
walked the last two kilometres up hill, wearing only shorts
and a T-Shirt. I passed ruins of churches and farmhouses
and reflected that only she could possibly think
this would be a romantic place to live.
after several enquiries I found the cottage and the rather
starved looking chickens that surrounded it. I knocked on
You cant come in.
What do you mean, I cant come in?
You cant come in.
Its me, Sam, your ever-loving boyfriend. Tired
and hungry from his journey following bloody Hannibals
footsteps. Let me in.
You cant come in.
as angry as I was, as thirsty as I was, not to mention tired
and exhausted, a bell was going off in my head sounding
the usual alarms. I realised with clear insight that she
had obviously written to someone else, a bloke she absolutely
didnt want me to meet, (which meant that I knew him).
Someone who had responded a bit faster than me, probably
looked at the address a bit more carefully and flown in
a day earlier.
'Whos there? The least you could do is give me something
I was thinking, when she opens the door Ill rush in,
kill them both, hang them from the rafters and no one could
blame me. Heatstroke, a passion killing, the French understood
suddenly appeared from the side of the house. She looked
as if she had dressed in a hurry. Ill drive
you back down, she said. I noted no kiss, no hug,
no smile, no thanks for coming to my rescue once again.
I noticed a love-bite on her neck, stubble marks on her
need something to drink. Its been a long walk.
You shouldnt be so cheap, there are taxis.
Im a student.
She said nothing more. She led me to this battered Renault.
When I climbed in beside her she looked straight ahead as
she started the engine. You have to go back, you cant
stay around here.
Ive got a fixed ticket.
You cant stay around here, it would be embarrassing.
For you, not for me. I was suddenly over her.
A little bit regretful that I hadnt stormed in and
burned the cottage down, but over.
Who is he? I asked, not really wanting to know.
She said nothing.
We stopped to get my bag and coat. She still said nothing.
Three years of torment were coming to an end, some other
poor bastard would get it now.
The final moment of a relationship can either be civilised
or violent. This was merely unrealised, just tension and
deep disappointment, probably on both sides.
know your problem? Shed once said to me in bed
when she was sulking about something. Youre
too bloody polite. I hate it that you are so damn polite.
Anyone who is so bloody polite couldnt possibly be
in love with anyone.
I was thinking about that when she dumped me at the bus
a bus to Aix at two, she told me. Then as an afterthought
she added. 'At least he flew here, hes not cheap,
I was now 'the ex'. Mr Cheap, waiting to take a bus to Aix-en-Provence.
She married him. A friend of course. When you become an
ex, you lose of lot of friends, especially the ones shagging
years later I got a surprise visit from her to my shared
shack in Rondebosch.
Do you forgive me? She asked in that special
pleading voice that I was always a sucker for. As ever,
I lied, and reluctantly said yes. Her pleading turned to
a smirk as she breezed out of the room. She paused at the
door and shook her head, victory in her eyes.
always said you were too bloody polite.
© Sam North 2000