THURSDAY, September 16 – ‘That was pretty quick, wasn’t it?’ My friend M. doesn’t mince his words. Always straight from the shoulder and as honest as they come. He ought to know me well enough by now to realize that I’m only teasing when I say, ‘What do you mean, quick? Do you object to the fact that I have a girlfriend?’
He immediately regrets having been so forthright and apologizes. I keep a straight face. ‘What exactly do you think is the right time to begin a new relationship? After a year? Two years? Or are we supposed to remain grieving widowers for five years?’
We’re in a pub where we’ve just seen soccer team Real Madrid slaughter Ajax and .M shifts uncomfortably from one foot to the other, ‘Hey, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.
I pretend to give him a punch in the stomach. ‘Hey, I’m just fucking with you.’
He laughs, a little uncertainly. ‘You know what I’m like. I say what I think. A lot of people think one thing and say something else.’
I can honestly say that it doesn’t interest me what people think. Naturally, I see the raised eyebrows and I sense the looks. I know that people sometimes say one thing, but think something else. Perfectly understandable. Just try getting it across to people that you can be in mourning and in love at the same time. Sometimes I wonder if I actually understand it all myself.
Let’s get together soon for a meal,’ M suggests at the end of the evening.
‘Yeah, great,’ I say, and I mean it. Although I can’t help adding, ‘But only if you feel you’re ready. Let’s not rush things.’